It's difficult to know what to say about the unfortunate George Best without sounding either mawkish or hideously calous.
George Best is a bit of a dirty word to some people. To Des McKeown, now manager of Stenhousmuir FC, Best is not worthy of the reverence he received from his public. As a player of average abilityMcKeown is brutally scathing in his book "Don't Give Up The Day Job" about a man with a great talent who then pissed it up the wall, retiring long before he should have. There can be nothing more annoying as a journeyman pro who works a full week in a job, trains twice a week with his club and maintains a fitness regime off his own back, to see the likes of Best and his various pisshead soulmates down the years(Baxter,Gazza etc) revered and idolised unquestioningly by the media and fans whilst treating their god given talent with contempt.
So, what would Best have been like had he been teetotal, had he been a dilligent learner of the game, had he kept himself physically fit and limited himself to only one Miss World a week............? Well, He'd have been a better footballer and for far longer but it seems to be a law of football and a few other sports that the more natural talent you have, the less likely you are to attempt to improve yourself and the more likely you are to spend your time in the pub, at the bookies or chasing the birds.
I would like to say thankyou to George Best though. I never saw him play due to my tender years, but there can be no doubt that the tv footage of the man in his prime is utterly spellbinding, even to those not terribly interested in football. He's not long for this world and I know the eulogies will be as heartfelt and honest as they will be mealy mouthed and cliched.
It's unfortunate that as a player he knew when he had to quit. As a drinker, he had no such luck.
The final line is glib and corny. It's also true. Sorry.