THE greatest Busby Babe died yesterday. I had the privilege of watching his first game at Old Trafford. Having seen some of the worlds greatest soccer stars,without doubt he was simply THE BEST. He was to the game what Bradman was to cricket, what nuryev was to ballet and Elvis was to R & R.
Like all icons the women and hanger’s on flocked around him like sharks with the smell of blood. This was an age before agent’s and personal accountants, so for a lad from the slums of Belfast it was all an unbelievable fantasy…one which both he and his "friends" exploited to the full.
I met him twice – once outside the ground collecting his and Dennis Law’s autograph. The second time was a few years later in one of our favourite, early evening,town centre watering holes. Standing next to him at the bar waiting to be served, I said to him that I was surprised he was still standing after seeing him kicked and hacked at,by at least three of that afternoon’s opposition.[ He was too tricky for one hard man so they hunted in two’s!]. " I " he said, "But that’s when I know I’m having a good match!" After five or ten minutes he left with a bimbo on each arm, but not before he had sent a couple of drinks over to our table. Being famous can,I imagine,be very lonely. Being surrounded by so many disingenuous people,is it any wonder they turn to drugs, as in Elvis’s case,or the evil drink. George Best was a hero in his home city. He brought the swinging sixties to my drab northern city. He exploited his god given talents, but was in turn exploited, and then finally destroyed by the adulation. He has now succumbed to the same illness that killed his Mother. His words…His epitaph:
"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."