In a country where sport must be credited with making a worthwhile, if
often exaggerated, contribution to the national culture it would be difficult to
over-value what Best delivered in his prime. It is not enough to say the light
that guttered out two days ago was once the brightest flame to illuminate
British football in nearly a century and a half of organised existence. Best was
far more than one of the greatest of players. On the field he was the
incarnation of the game’s most romantic possibilities. Trying to explain how or
why the sight of men playing about with a ball can hold countless millions in
thrall from childhood to dotage is a task beyond rational argument. But we never
needed anything as prosaic as logic when George was around. – Hugh McIlvanney,
George Best made schoolboys fall head over flying heels in love with
football and reminded their fathers why the sport could be so special.
A winger worthy of the “great” pre-fix went past full-backs for fun,
lifting Manchester United to the pinnacle of Europe, and helping the
Sixties party go with a swing. – Henry Winter, The Daily Telegraph
Is it possible to write about him and not mention his
off-field life? I hoped I could, but in all reality it is impossible … He caught the mood of the
time. A modern superstar who was eventually brought down by his human
failings. From his teenage years until the time he chose to retire at
the age of 26 he had the best of all worlds, but once he left Old
Trafford there could only be a downward spiral in football terms – and
so it proved. – Graham Taylor, The Daily Telegraph
There is just one
thing that cannot be repeated too often. He will be missed. Even by
people who do not follow Manchester United. Even by people who say they
have no interest in football, and even by the moralists who wanted to
wash their hands of him when he began to abuse his transplanted liver. The reason is simple.
Best was unique. Never mind the arguments about whether he was the best
player these islands have produced, the most talented never to appear
in a World Cup or a greater artist than Pele. Best was an original, and
you don’t put originals on lists, in categories, or in comparison with
others. Best was not like any other footballer seen before or since. He
was George Best, and that was enough. – Paul Wilson, The Observer
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The last thing George would want is that people should feel sorry for him.
All kinds of people are going to have their say about him, but by my reckoning
he will have left more people better off for having known him than worse off.
So, goodbye, George, and, again, thanks. – Germaine Greer, The Independent