Saturday, November 26, 2005

Best Dead

The good news is that George Best is dead. The bad news is that the legend lives on. It is important to resist the eulogies and hagiographies that now surround him and to say straightforwardly that George Best was a vastly overrated footballer and a thoroughly bad man. He was a bad husband, bad father, bad team-mate. He was an abuser, a liar and a cheat. The worst thing about him, however, was his extraordinary vanity that led to him to compare himself favourably to Pele.
Best famously said that if he had been born ugly 'no-one would have heard of Pele'. The meaning of this being that if George hadn't squandered his talent on womanising he would have dramatically eclipsed Pele's achievements. By all accounts not only did Pele get more Pussy than George Best but his adverts for Viagra indicate that he continued to do so. (Isn't it odd that for all his womanising Best only ever had one child?) This is to ignore that Best was inferior to Pele in all ways, in terms of vision, passing, speed, positioning, understanding. That is to set aside fitness, conditioning, dedication and the rest. When it came to the special things, Pele was better with his feet and better with his head. To suggest otherwise is to succumb to fantasy. Pele said that George Best was the best player in the world, but then Pele said that Nicky Butt was the best player of the last world cup. Pele was the greatest player of his time and it is debatable whether George Best would even make the first eleven. Best was not even the greatest player to come out of Ulster. Danny Blanchflower was a greater passer, tackler and leader.

George Best was a good winger who never fully reached greatness. His greatness lay in the intensity of his marketing, the combination of celebrity culture and club merchandising. George Best was sold as the lead singer of the Manchester United Band. His problem was that he fell out with the other band members and management and wanted to go solo and forgot that football was a team game. When his club needed him to step up, when his time really came to be a leader of his team he reacted by not turning up for rehearsals and missing gigs. Without Styles, Law, Crerand and Charlton to enable him to shine his light went out. Great players make other pkayers look good, George Best didn't. Diego Maradona dragged a woeful Aergentinian team to the World Cup Finals in 1990 through his enormous generosity of spirit. He lifted the entire team. What Manchester United fans must confront is that George Best let them down, he abused their love and devotion. He abused the love and devotion of all who loved him. He even turned his mother onto drink, which killed her. He always put himself first and he proved incapable of sustaining friendships or any kind of relationship.

Wayne Rooney is a greater player than Best ever was, even now. His intensity, his power, his awareness of others already put him above Best who was not a great passer, was reluctant to bring others into the game, who was both created and limited by his egotism. His glorification is an indication of the moral sickness of the society, which worships alcohol, money and fame as values in themselves. We should look at the face of George Best and not feel love, or regret, or pity. We should hate ourselves for pandering to his vanity.

3 Comments:

Blogger oswin knuckles said...

I have never felt the need to write to a web site before regarding any of their postings, but it's with both anger and disgust that I'm writing this concerning your George Best article. Whoever is responsible for choosing to put this piece of garbage online should be hung, drawn and quartered. You obviously have no emotions whatsoever.
I'm not ashamed to say that I wept watching George's funeral and that is the memory I will keep in my heart, not the blemish you have tried to stamp on his legend.
Next time you think it's clever to suggest that Wayne Rooney (a man who openly admits to using prostitutes) and Pele (a Brazilian) are in any way superior footballers to George you should take a reality check. George was a soccer genius, a loving father and a proud family man who liked a drink and loved women.
Not only are you mean-spirited, ill-informed and churlish, but you are out of tune with the hundreds of thousands of decent and responsible citizens who mourned George's passing in such a heartfelt and poignant way last Saturday.
I suggest you get a life.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Step said...

Hmmm. As contentious as ever; but I agree about Best being a wasted talent on the pitch due to his excesses off it. I can see that viewpoint upsetting people; but to suggest that being either a prostitute "user" or (even worse???) a Brazilian stops someone from being a geat footballer seems somewhat lacking in logic! Or did I get the wrong end of the stick

1:24 PM  
Blogger Damon said...

Ummm.... What's wrong with being Brazilian? I don't necessarily agree with the article, but if you're going to say that Pele isn't superior to Best because he's Brazilian, you need to clarify something.

3:22 AM  

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