January 19, 2007 / 4:31 AM / 14 years ago

Portrait of George Best to appear on banknote

A man holds a picture of George Best before the memorial service of the former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer in this March 16, 2006 file photo. Best will feature on a million bank notes being issued in Northern Ireland next month to mark the first anniversary of his death. REUTERS/Darren Staples

BELFAST (Reuters) - Football hero George Best will feature on a million bank notes being issued in Northern Ireland next month to mark the first anniversary of his death.

Ulster Bank said on Thursday it would issue the five pound limited edition note a year after the celebrated Northern Irishman and Manchester United star died from multiple organ failure.

Best, football’s first superstar, will feature on the notes in his Northern Ireland and Manchester United strips.

“At the outset of this project we wanted to ensure that, in celebrating the life of this legendary footballer, we paid fitting tribute to his contribution to football in Northern Ireland and beyond,” Ulster Bank chief executive Cormac McCarthy said.

“By selecting the most affordable note denomination, five pounds, we have tried to make the notes as widely accessible as possible,” he said at the unveiling of the note’s artwork where he was joined by members of Best’s family.

Best, who underwent a liver transplant in 2002, died on November 25, 2005, at the age of 59 after a lifetime of heavy drinking. He had suffered infection and internal bleeding and had problems with his liver and kidneys.

He once summed up his turbulent life in one memorable phrase: “I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered”, but he also once said, “forget about all the rest, just remember me for the football”.

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