November 25, 2005

George Best dies, aged 59: Widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever, he passed away earlier today in London after a long illness related to his alcoholism.

posted by afx237vi to soccer at 10:20 AM - 20 comments

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars... the rest I just squandered."
RIP George.

posted by afx237vi at 10:20 AM on November 25, 2005

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars... the rest I just squandered." RIP George. omg u r so funny RIP George

posted by Dav at 10:59 AM on November 25, 2005

I'm seeing headlines calling Best the first football media superstar (though I would have thought Pele beat him by a few years on a global level) but no doubt the man did have a life of pleasures until this very hard death. And this could be a please the local media thing but he was noted this morning as saying his favorite goal was scored playing for the old NASL San Jose Earthquakes.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:36 PM on November 25, 2005

According to the Guardian and the BBC, the US teams he played for included not only the Earthquakes, but also the LA Aztecs and some team from Fort Lauderdale (Spring Breakers? I don't know. I made that up. The BBC didn't have a name besides the city name.)

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:15 PM on November 25, 2005

A couple of video tributes.

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:18 PM on November 25, 2005

This page says he played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Bill, I think Pele was certainly the first football superstar on a world level, but Best was a superstar for a whole lot more than the football. He was the first footballer to live like a popstar, with the women, the fashion, the paparazzi and all that. They just showed an hour long documentary on the BBC about him, and it was really quite difficult to feel sorry for him. Sure, he self-destructed, and it was all his fault, but he sure had a good time doing it.

posted by afx237vi at 03:30 PM on November 25, 2005

What a player. Brought beauty back to the English game. RIP, George Best.

posted by Hugh Janus at 04:26 PM on November 25, 2005

This goal is just insanely gorgeous.

posted by grum@work at 07:59 PM on November 25, 2005

My father took me to see George Best and the European Cup winning MU team in 1969 when they toured Australia and played at the old Sydney Showground. He scored one goal with a devastating dummy on the keeper. For years after I would keep practising the same move. It wasn't until I was about 20 that I actually used it in a game. I was completely dumbstruck when it worked, even though it was a pale imitation. Imagine what it must have been like to be George Best, and be able to do that sort of thing all the time, whenever you wanted. Awesome.

posted by owlhouse at 08:45 PM on November 25, 2005

That guy played like he believed he could take on anybody and beat them. And he could. I noticed in his tribute there were several times players were just hacking at him with sliding tackles. Bestie would just take the knock, look like he was going down and pop right up and continue beating players before scoring. Today, if players got hacked like that, they'd go down like somebody shot them in the nuts. Goo on then, Bestie.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:06 AM on November 26, 2005

I would be thrilled if I lived one third the life he led.

posted by chicobangs at 02:31 AM on November 26, 2005

I don't know the state of the waiting list for liver transplants in the UK but I hope nobody died waiting for 1 three years ago while George got his and proceeded to pickle it.

posted by sandman at 07:48 AM on November 26, 2005

I'm totally split over George Best - I'm from Northern Ireland, so he should be a hero, but I'm too young to think of him as a footballer rather than a raging alcoholic with a tendency to mistreat women. I suppose to deny either side of his character would be wrong though: so his demons make it hard to hold him up as the greatest ever, but his brilliance with the ball at his feet make it hard to cast him down as a bloody idiot who pissed his life away. I loved the goal clips - and I also loved the fact that now I have a way to put video clips on my website (that You Tube thing is tops). So if you want to see the thrid best junior epée fencer in Great Britain making a monkey of me, click on over to you know where. [/half-hearted attempt to hijack the thread]

posted by JJ at 09:08 AM on November 26, 2005

To ALL of today's "million dollar babies", be they footballers, or hardballers in general, I suppose this passing should be a reminder to all of us...a good looking corpse will NEVER be a suitable finish from "living fast and dying young". The smokes, the drinks, the birds...all great fun, but now, the boot kicks no more. Rest in peace, Georgie B. I'll be looking forward to marking you, somewhere down the pitch...

posted by Thumper at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2005

awesome, JJ. All your Olympian exploits should be video'd on your site!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2005

Love a partier as much as the next but soccer ... sport/not a sport? nil-nil...brilliant, mate.

posted by sfts2 at 02:54 PM on November 26, 2005

Thumper, as we say in software choose two from fast (schedule), good (quality) and cheap (cost); Best obviously optimized for quality (lots) and cost (lots). His choice.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:47 PM on November 26, 2005

I don't know the state of the waiting list for liver transplants in the UK but I hope nobody died waiting for 1 three years ago while George got his and proceeded to pickle it. Sounds like some of the talk related to Mickey Mantle's transplant. When a high-profile alcoholic like Best receives a donated liver and then keeps drinking, as press reports suggest he did, it discourages people from donating organs because they lose faith in the system. I don't know much about Best, but that's a pretty sad legacy for him to leave behind.

posted by rcade at 12:37 PM on November 27, 2005

Growing up in Dallas, George Best was my one and only soccer idol. There used to be a shop there called Mr. Soccer and in the early 70's I would spend hours there reading the newspapers and magazines from the UK. For me, one player stood out: George Best. I would read about how he would torment the opposition with amazing ease and how even Pele called him the world's greatest player. His was the only poster of a soccer player on my wall as a kid and fittingly, that poster hangs in my favorite pub in Houston to this day. No question Bestie had his faults; he was a flawed man. I don't think there is a defense for what he did to his body and that second liver in particular, but can we really know what the affliction of alcoholism can drive a person to do? My favorite Best quote, immortalized on a t-shirt from Four Four Two: "They say I slept with seven Miss Worlds. It was only four." May you rest in peace, Georgie.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2005

The funeral is later today, or maybe tomorrow depending on your location. Crowds will be allowed into the Stormont Estate from 0900 but there is a limit of about 32,000 for safety reasons. RIP George.

posted by squealy at 07:26 PM on December 02, 2005

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