I know George Best was an alcoholic and weak. I know he wasted so much of his talent. I know he was not anything like the ideal role model … but he was my footballing hero.
Quite simply, he was the best player I have ever seen, so today has been a sad day. His death was inevitable and I suppose we have to accept he brought it on himself but that somehow adds to the poignancy. He was a footballing genius.
There have been lots of clips shown of George scoring spectacular goals but my abiding memory is not of a goal but of a particular match. I don’t know who Man Utd were playing or what the score was but it was on a snow-covered pitch and everyone but George was falling over. I’m sure that David Coleman was commentating because in my head I can hear his voice marvelling at how this one man could remain on his feet and still show all that fabulous skill in taking on player after player. It was like watching a prima ballerina teaching a group of six-year-olds what was possible if you only dare dream and then work to fulfil it.
Best was one of the highlights of my schooldays: I never wanted to be anyone else when we played football … except maybe Bobby Charlton …