…Georgie Best would have been 68 years old today… 22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005… the greatest football talent I’ve ever seen… R.I.P. …TBSU…

…I’ve shown this piece before, but on the man’s birthdate, I wanna run it again… with this year of the Football World Cup in Brazil, and much chatter about who’s the best player around, none of them consistently matches this man… the finest footballer of his own and possibly any generation, that I’ve ever had the delight to watch… Georgie Best

George Best

 

…simply the BEST…

…it’s not just because I’m a Manchester United nut…(I was born six years later in the same street in Govan, Glasgow as Sir Alex Ferguson)…fifty years ago, as lads in the school play-grounds, and on the dirt pitches around Glasgow, we played a different sort of football from the modern stuff currently served up on the television screens every weekend…no fancy coaching…up to twenty-a-side street teams versus neighbouring street teams…a tennis ball or rubber ball no bigger than a cricket ball (whatever that was) served the purpose, until the cheaper Mouldmaster real-football-sized versions became accessible…I often wonder if the pedigree athletes swanning around on the deck every TV match I watch are capable of using the ball for more than a one-touch pass…’dribbling’ we called it back then…and tackling wasn’t a dirty word…no less so ‘shoulder-charging’, including the goalies, most of whom, by the way, could look after themselves very well physically, thank you very much…little wonder, when I worked in London (as a Scot, I told them I was there as a missionary) that I look back on the few occasions I had the chance to watch LIVE, the great Georgie Best, and realize just how good the man was…at one match at Crystal Palace (yes, they did populate the top flight at one time before now…), the pitch was doing a passable imitation of a mud-bath obstacle course …remember the balls back then were heavier beasties than the featherweight ping-pong balls they seem to smack 1,000 yards nowadays… it didn’t matter that there were ten other United players on the field that day… George swiveled and turned the whole ninety minutes …the old cliché is that with one body swerve he could send the entire crowd the wrong way… be that as it may, what I saw him do all day that day will live in my mind forever …he may have played in grander matches and scored umpteen goals, captured in reels elsewhere… amid the mud and desperate lunging tackles, he danced away every time, as if the ball was part of his toes… and we, we of a certain age, ballet-danced through the mire with him… back on the play-grounds, scoring through the piled jackets of goal posts in countless open-scrub yards in cities up and down the country… I’m a grown man, supposedly a hard product of the docklands in Govan, but the day Georgie Best died, I sobbed my guts out… the world had lost an icon… one of the finest, if not the finest, exponents of the beautiful game… his back story and struggles are well recorded and I’ll let others dwell on that… but for me, the most magical player I’ve ever seen play live… simply the Best…

 

Seumas Gallacher

Abu Dhabi

April 8th, 2013

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

5 responses to “…Georgie Best would have been 68 years old today… 22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005… the greatest football talent I’ve ever seen… R.I.P. …TBSU…

  1. A great tribute there Seumas. I never seemed to gravitate to sport as a boy. I had a father who didn’t want me to play, I think because he was quite a sportsman in the army. He stopped teaching me to box after I hit him square on the beak. I learned how to run fast that day. 😉 Back to your post, I did follow Manchester United though and would watch them on the telly. Best certainly was a magic player. Went to a local soccer match in Barrow once. I would have been 7 and my memories are of the smell of damp overcoats and urine. I think some blokes would pee where they stood on the concrete stands. SO I take it you’re looking forward to this year’s world cup?

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    • ..I’m a football nut … used to play pro as a kid in Glasgow, it’s in the blood… I’d watch kickabouts on the village parks now … but yes, the World Cup should be interesting… a bit more open than in some previous years, I think >.

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      • I gathered that. I guess when a ball appears now you’d be up and at it. 🙂 I still like to kick cans when I see them. 🙂 I think it would be worth being in Brazil for the finals party.

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  2. The playgrounds and the dirt pitches sound like the kind of football they still play in many parts of the world, from Brazil from the Cameroon. Maybe that’s why their teams are so good! 😉

    Cheers

    MTM

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