George Best, footballing celebrity

The only tragedy George Best had to confront, is that he will never know how good he could have been.

Although it comes as no surprise following his string of alcohol related illnesses, the news that British footballing legend George Best has died is no less very sad. Best has been described today by Sir Bobby Charlton as One of [football's] greats and a marvellous person. and by Tony Blair as probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation, one of the greatest footballers the UK has ever produced.

Best was for many a player who never reached his full potential on the field. Although he helped Manchester United win the First Division title in 1965 and 1967 and then then European Cup in 1968, he never played in a World Cup tournament and spent his later years playing for lower league clubs both here and in the USA.

Renowned not only for his footballing genius but also for his '60's playboy lifestyle and eventual alcoholism, Best was the first footballing 'celebrity' as we might define celebrity today. In the late 1960's, Best combined football with glamour and excess.

I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted.

As interviewer and friend of Best Michael Parkinson said today, The only tragedy George Best had to confront, is that he will never know how good he could have been.

And therein lies a lesson for us all.


  1. #1 On November 25, 2005 11:38 PM Colly said:

    George and his family have requested that we all remember him for his football, and not his troubles, and I'm pleased most have respected that so far today.

    Pele was incredible, but he had that team around him. George did it on his own.

    Two blessings about him pasing on. 1: He's not ill any more. 2: We get to see replay after replay of the most inventive goals ever scored.

  2. #2 On November 26, 2005 01:47 AM Ara Pehlivanian said:

    I heard about his passing these evening on CBC radio. It was said of him by one of his teammates that he was so good that they were almost like spectators watching him play.

    God comfort those he left behind.

  3. #3 On November 26, 2005 12:32 PM D said:

    Let's not get too carried away with the eulogy. Great footballer in his time, yes, but never forget this was a man with a predilection for beating up his wives and girlfriends. Or are we supposed to forget about that now?

  4. #4 On November 26, 2005 12:58 PM Mike WS said:

    'flaws that make us human.'
    Funny. I thought that a few million years of evolution made us human.
    'A lesson to be learned is to take better care of ourselves'
    Spot on.

    Rest in peace, George.

  5. #5 On November 26, 2005 01:10 PM Sunny said:

    I recently read a funny anecdote about Best. When a reporter asked him why he had decided to ply his trade in Canada, he said that in London he saw an ad, "drink Canada dry". And then he decided he would.

    In a way it sums up his life. It was a tragedy.

  6. #6 On November 26, 2005 02:54 PM Matt Wilcox said:

    It is very sad, but I find that the media reminding me about it every 5min is even more sad. Richard Burns also died very recently, aged 32. Very little mention of that.

    I also feel the need to quote someone elses thoughts on this:

    "On the one side you have someone who's had to battle a natural cause and drove his way to success (in the process) and on the other you have someone who drank himself into the grave and drove while doing so."

  7. #7 On November 27, 2005 08:21 AM jamie said:

    What a lot of tosh firstly Best wasin the league winning team yet only averaged 20 goals per season (in 1967 QPR put 111 past their opponents). Sure he had flashes of brilliance like Gazza Stan Bowles and other flawed geniuses .He was a drunken irrespobsible lout who let his manager his team his country and himself down

  8. #8 On November 27, 2005 09:47 AM Marek Mularczyk said:

    Thank you George for everything you have done for soccer.
    I celebrated the holy mass for you, the day before you passed away.
    I remember You as a Great Player.
    God be with You, George.
    Rest in peace.
    I am a catholic priest and a missionary, former soccer player.
    F. Marek Mularczyk OMI from Poznań � Poland

  9. #9 On November 27, 2005 10:16 AM mh said:


  10. #10 On November 27, 2005 03:54 PM jem said:

    Georgie, Belfast boy.RIP

  11. #11 On November 28, 2005 08:59 AM Brian McAllister said:

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

    It was his life folks and that was, unfortunately, the way he wanted to live it.

    While the man had many faults (and who doesn't, I'm certainly not sin-free enough to cast the first stone), he also brought joy and pride back into the hearts of many a Belfast man at a time when it was needed most.

    God bless you Georgie - you'll be missed by many. R.I.P.

  12. #12 On November 28, 2005 12:10 PM Phunky said:

    Theres two side to each coin, we each choose which we decide to call some agree and some dont. I dont agree with how he lived the latter years of his life, but he gave so much to the world be it good and bad.

    He was loved, loathed but was respected to the end of his days for what he did BEST. I will be a happy man if i died with that kind of respect

    RIP Best

  13. #13 On December 1, 2005 09:50 AM Ashley Bowers said:

    A great man no matter what anyone says. May he forever R.I.P !

  14. #14 On December 2, 2005 05:22 AM Charlie Aradi said:

    George I will Best remember for his passion on the football pitch and his courage to scratch an "itch" no matter what.

  15. #15 On December 2, 2005 05:23 PM Tom Simcox said:

    Seeing the minutes's applause (rather than a minutes silence) during the Man Utd vs West Ham match at the weekend says all that needs to be said about George. And as a Man Utd fan made me quite emotional, even though I am too young to have ever seen George play. Let's remember him and thank him for the great deal of happiness and pleasure that he brought to people. Lets see the good in people for a change and lets continue to strive to better ourselves in whatever way we can, without persecuting ourselves or others when we or they fail.

    Marek, my great grandpa was Polish, I love football (although my wife and her family teaste me about not being a proper football supporter because I support the Red Devils) and I'm a Catholic, so seeing your post on here made me smile, thanks :-)

  16. #16 On December 4, 2005 01:47 PM Joedahi said:

    In a land of bigotry and division 10�s of thousands of people of all religions and colour of skin stood in the pouring rain, to throw a flower, a loved scarf, or even a football top, in front of the cars in the George Best Funeral procession.
    Some in their opinions may forget that a family lost a son, a father and a brother, and I for one am humbled by the selfless, caring, and above all loving attitude of George Best�s family. It is wrong to condemn someone because they have an illness that may even be genetic, because a sad fact is that George�s mother died of the same illness.
    The service at Northern Ireland�s seat of Government (when we have one) Stormont was extraordinary and for me one of the most moving moments of my life, and reminds me that when Irish people do something� they do it with all their heart. Read into that what you may�
    However the day was summed up by a woman crossing herself, echoing Georges own sister, as she whispered beside me��.�Goodbye George, you Beautiful Boy, Even the sky cries for you today.�
    As George was laid in his grave, the rain stopped, and the sun came out�..

  17. #17 On December 5, 2005 04:54 PM The Jones Boy said:

    Whilst he was an undeniable talent and the first celebrity footballer (which when you look cool like George is a good thing but when you are an overpaid clothes horse like many of today's kind isn't quite so) there is something I am struggling with re all the recent events - that is the media's obsession with bereavement in such a overtly sincere but not quite manner.

    A sort of hysterical over exposure "and we go now live to the hospital where George has minutes to live"... as well as helicopter views of the funeral.

    Sorry, but I just can't be doing with it. How I long for a media that looks to elevate the national psyche rather than deliver celebrity idiocy at every turn.


  18. #18 On December 6, 2005 05:39 PM janice said:

    can't quite believe the continued sentimentality around the death of this wife beating racist.

  19. #19 On December 6, 2005 07:23 PM Malarkey said:

    I think that with George now propping up the bar beyond, it's time to grant him the respect that anyone deserves once they have passed.

    He was undoubtably a tremendous talent, but like all of us a flawed human being. If you're up there George, have one on me.