Friday, November 25, 2005

Not the best

I seem to have caused some consternation around the office with my reaction to George Best's death. I expressed my relief at his demise; pleased that his ugly tawdry story had come to an end. When Princess Diana died, her beauty excused her of her indulgences and flaws. Best's footballing talents have excused him of his. The common premise seems to be that to be a genius, you have to be slightly unhinged, mentally ill even, cursed with inner demons. Look at Paul Gascoigne and Diego Maradona and... erm.

George Best can be ranked amongst the best players the world has ever seen, but to say his drink problem was an inevitable consequence of his genius is utter rubbish. Pele never had it, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Ronhaldino, Eusebio. The list of great players whose lives haven't descended into a farcical pantomime is far longer than those who have.

So Best has been excused his self-indugance in drink because of a fleeting, wasted talent at football. In the end his slow, painful and ugly death was the result of his own actions. A suicidal addiction to drink. He had every chance to get out of it, more chances and support than most. In the end he chose to abuse the help that was offered to him. He deserves to be ignored in the same way he ignored the endless warnings about what he was doing to himself. At least now we don't have to endure this endless tabloid voyeurism anymore, that should be a relief to us. And him.

And now it seems I will have to endure a minute's pious silence at the football tomorrow. Gadzooks.


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