Tribute To George Best
As a man who grew up with the Beatles and the flower power days of Hair, and such I was privaledged to have seen some remarkable men in all walks of life and as a keen football supporter and follower of Aston Villa I have managed through the years to be at two World Cups and 2 European Nations Cups.
I've seen some greats of our age in Mathews, Finney, Puskas, Yashin, Pele, Jairzinho, Moore, McGrath, Maradonna, Eusebio and in some cases several times.
I've been fortunate to have seen both of Villa's major triumphs in the same time and thanks again to Villa seen and shaken hands with some of the real 'greats' of soccer.
Unlike some other fans I tend to think I'm a soccer fan first and a Villa fan second, which has always allowed me the freedom to drool over the skills of these players when they weren't wearing the Claret and Blue.
At a time when physical contact was the name of the game, not the enemy it know represents, I've seen quality talent like Rodney Marsh, even Pele anhilated by the tackle from behind, destroyed by the cynical foul.
One man always shone brightly on the football field through all this on talent alone. In todays game he would be untouchable, he would have been trained physically and mentally to cope with all the pressure his adulation brought, and most importantly the drinks drug culture he so epitomised would not have existed.
Oh what a prospect a lightening fit version of the man allowed to freeley express his talents would represent on todays soccer stage.
Rooney is worth the price of a seat in any match he plays, Ronaldinho is a class above even Rooney, but George Best would have exceeded them all and worth a season ticket. As he was he was still a talent worth seeing, a talent beyond most who had come before and have been since, a flawed talent yes, but a remarkable talent nevertheless and one I'm proud to have cheered on several occasions.
As he now reaches that last hurdle in life he's fighting as hard as ever against the inevitable, my thoughts are with him. As a soccer fan and a man who grew up with the likes of Best, Moore and John Lennon as hero's it brings home ones own mortality.
A sad day, maybe, but one filled with much happy reflection, and of course much sadness.
Here's to a nice pass into the ever after George and thanks.