Thanks for chatting with us, Mark. Did you look like a young George Best when you were a kid?
I was first told of my resemblance to a young George Best at my university days in Manchester. It was all very much tongue-in-cheek stuff at first amongst my mates. I worked part time in bars during my studies and then strangers would start to mention it to me in the bars and that’s when I knew there must be something with this.
With that beard you’ve got the George Best look happening, that’s for sure. But were you ever much of a footballer?
I played a bit of football when I was younger for my local team Newcastle FC and my school team, but as I was a school boy international at cross country and middle/long distance runner my coach was reluctant to let me play contact sports in case of injury.
Do you follow a football team?
I went to many Manchester United matches when I was studying in Manchester but I only went as a football fan. Some of my friends are massive Manchester United fans, but my team is Dundee United who play in the Scottish Premier League and I get over to Scotland as much as I can to see them.
Presumably you fly Aer Lingus. Speaking of which, you won the Aer Lingus George Best lookalike competition. (What a segue!) How did that come about?
Aer Lingus ran a competition in October 2012 to find a modern-day George lookalike. I was on holiday in Benidorm when people were calling me to tell me about it.
My work colleague Debbie entered me and the response was overwhelming on the Belfast City Airport Facebook page. Calum Best had even tweeted the airport stating that I was his choice from the 20 or so entrants.
Some of the competitors looked very good as well. I knew I was up against it when Aidan O’Neill, who played George in the hit musical Dancing Shoes, was also in the running. I lost out to him to play the part of George in the musical the previous year so it was good to turn the tables and come out on top.
We have to ask the obvious question: have you ever met a Miss Universe lookalike? Did the George Best charm work?
I’ve met many other lookalikes in the last year at various gigs and built up good relationships with some of them. No Miss Universe as of yet.
But I was introduced by my good friend and mentor John Delaney, who is the CEO of the Football Association of Ireland, to Rosanna Davison at an Ireland match in Dublin a few months back. She was Miss Ireland/Europe and Miss World in 2003.
She was a lovely girl.
Have you been called upon to play a football game as George Best?
I’ve not been called to play a match as George to date. I think this would be very interesting and I would definitely be interested if it was for a charity and we could raise some money for them.
I’ll have a word with your agent. Now, you’ve met some of George Best’s family – what was their reaction to meeting you?
I’ve had various photo shoots and interviews with George’s son Calum and his brother Ian Best.
They’ve been very encouraging with the whole lookalike scene and see it as a nice way of keeping George’s legacy alive.
I’ve also spoken to George’s ex wife Alex who has told me she would like to meet me next time she is in Northern Ireland. She said that George would’ve found it very amusing to have had a lookalike and someone impersonating him.
It’s great to be accepted by his family and that they know everything I am doing is with the best intentions and that it really is such an honour to be gifted with the similar looks to George.
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