How a footballing legend joined in the match of the day in Fylde in the 80s

George Best in action against Lytham FC in a special fund-raising match at Ballam Road.
George Best in action against Lytham FC in a special fund-raising match at Ballam Road.

It was simply the best of times at Lytham FC’s Ballam Road ground nearly 35 years ago.

As these archive pictures show, there was a rather famous face on the pitch, on February 28, 1983.

George Best was the star attraction at Ballam Road, in 1983

George Best was the star attraction at Ballam Road, in 1983

Well, he wasn’t the only one, as he was part of a special celebrity line-up team, which also included Lancashire cricketer David Lloyd and former Blackpool FC and Burnley manager Stan Ternent.

Footballing legend, the late great George Best came to the Fylde, to take part in a fundraising match for small, non-league Lytham’s development programme – competing for chairman John Lavelle’s XI of celebrities.

It was a rainy, wintry day – with the pitch turning into a mud bath – when long-haired, dimple-chinned Best turned out, to score from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw with Lytham.

A thousand people turned out to watch the match, including these excited-looking adoring young fans pictured – absolutely thrilled to just be in the presence of their hero, waiting patiently for autographs.

George Best signing autographs for fans at the Lytham fundraiser

George Best signing autographs for fans at the Lytham fundraiser

The then 36-year-old Irish icon set up the attacks as THE star attraction in the charity battle, though the Man Of The Match award went to the goalie.

The game boosted the club’s development fund by £1,000.

It was later revealed Best had turned down an appearance on This Is Your Life to make the appearance for the club, a real for Lytham and club president Harry Thomson.

Lytham for their part were captained by Mick Fuller, who went on to manage AFC Fylde. He was challenged to ‘mark’ the Irish icon for the game.

John Lavelle 's X1 and a Lytham FC X1 before the charity match at Ballam Road

John Lavelle 's X1 and a Lytham FC X1 before the charity match at Ballam Road

Sadly, Lytham never quite made the grade and ended up folding several years later.

In the picture to the right, Best can be seen fourth left on the front row, with Stan Ternent standing behind him.

Second left on the front row is Tony Greenwood, who later became Fleetwood Town boss and second right on the back row is Mick Fuller. Two along from Fuller is cricket star David Lloyd, who – according to sports reporters at the time, was no mean footballer himself.