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Friday, November 25, 2005

"I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

TDH mourns the passing of George Best, the only man from the British Isles who held a candle to Pele and Maradona. Perhaps one day we'll speak of Wine Hrooney in the same lofty terms, but for now it's just Best.

TDH's dad (one of TDH's dads?) used to say that Best was the finest player he ever watched. He had a special kind of talent, more like Pele's than Maradona's in that he could score from all over the pitch. While Maradona seemed to do his best work with the ball at his feet, Best could pop up anywhere with a bullet header or a sublime volley from distance. And while Maradona and Pele seemed to play for heart or beauty, the man who once turned out for Ford Open Prison did it for sheer guts.

To prove the point, TDH will leave you with a couple of telling quotes from the tragically talented man:
"I used to dream about taking the ball round the keeper, stopping it on the line and then getting on my hands and knees and heading it into the net. When I scored against Benfica in the European Cup Final I nearly did it. I left the keeper for dead, but then I chickened out. I might have given the boss a heart attack."

"I was born with a great gift, and sometimes with that comes a destructive streak. Just as I wanted to outdo everyone when I played, I had to outdo everyone when we were out on the town."
(Thanks to the IFHOF for the quotes.)

3 Comments:

Anonymous jonathan said...

I had heard the first quote but not the second; I certainly don't think you could find two that better sum up George Best.

Like you, American Geordie, I am too young to have seen Best in the flesh. But living in Manchester one cannot help but notice the affection in which the man was held, by Reds and Blues alike. It may be my romantic imagination, but I thought commuters looked sombre reading the Metro News tonight, and the billboard outside my local newsagent read simply 'George Best Is Dead'. Yes, Wayne Rooney may take over his mantle in time (only the similarly self-destructive Gascoigne has come close so far in my view) but today feels like the end of an era.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Oh, and er- Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!

9:25 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Having never seen Best play, I'm also in no way qualified to make comment on the relative merits of Pele, Maradona, Best etc. I can point out, however, that El Diego is on record as stating that Best was his idol. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,6903,337093,00.html

Maradona remains the best player I have ever seen, through video footage and the odd game at the tail end of his career. Having said that, there are three players of the top of my head that I wish I could have seen first hand: Best, Duncan Edwards and Ferenc Puskas. What footage of Best I've seen made me think that he was like Maradona in the supreme confidence that he could take on all players and win.

I've only ever seen pictures of Duncan Edwards, but Bobby Charlton, who played alongside Bestie claimed that he was the only player who made him feel inadequate. The mind boggles as to what level of talent he must have had.

10:56 PM  

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