ice in his veins, warmth in his heart and timing and balance in his feet

While Mick has already noted some of the tributes to George Best, I had hoped to link to the Michael Crick report on Newsnight last night. But it doesn’t seem to be available. ANYway the Guardian’s David Lacey has an excellent article, published today – “The artist who was greater than the team”. Also in the Guardian, David Meek, who was the football correspondent with the Manchester Evening News, 1958-95, recalls “The greatest game I ever saw him play”From David Lacey’s article

Yet it is as a footballer that he will be principally remembered, not least by those fortunate enough to have seen him at his peak in the 60s. Personal memories abound, among them a deliciously bizarre moment at Highbury when Arsenal had deputed Peter Storey, one of the most uncompromising tacklers of the day, to track him down.

This Storey did assiduously but he was completely thrown when, on receiving a short clearance from Bob Wilson, he started to take it upfield only to see Best barring the way. Storey panicked, swung round and passed back to his goalkeeper. But Wilson, unprepared for the sudden change of mind, was caught out of position and all Storey found was his own net. In effect Best had scored without touching the ball. His reputation was enough.

And the opinion of Danny Blanchflower, from the same article –

Danny Blanchflower’s assessment of his fellow Ulsterman’s footballing abilities captured the player and the man perfectly: “Best makes a greater appeal to the senses than Finney and Matthews. His movements are quicker, lighter, more balletic. He offers the greater surprise to the mind and eye, he has the more refined, unexpected range. And with it all there is his utter disregard of physical danger. He has ice in his veins, warmth in his heart and timing and balance in his feet.”

Scanned from the Guardian, this is George Best celebrating a goal for Manchester United in the 1964 FA Youth Cup.
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