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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Best of Quotes

Denis Law

"I'll miss Bestie dreadfully - I miss him already. It was like the night Jock Stein died in Cardiff. You can't believe you're never going to see someone who's so full of life again. That said, it was a blessing George went when he did even though 59 is such a tragically young age."

"I can't count the number of times he let me down, but I always forgave him; you always did. I think he got too well and the temptation of life overtook him again, and it was the beginning of the end."

his sister

"Today I am saying goodbye to GB, my brother and my hero. My love for you was unconditional and simple. He enjoyed what he was given, he never complained. Do not look on it as though George has gone, he has only stepped off the pitch. He travelled a long road from a boy of 15 in Belfast to far-off places and glittering heights. At times it was a hard road. But today, George, the long road has brought you home."


"No matter what has happened off the field since then, no matter what
people think, at the end of the day they’ll remember the football.
They won’t remember who I dated, fights and car crashes or whatever,
they won’t remember any of that, because it’s not important. They’ll
remember the football."

his manager and friend of 25 years, Phil Hughes. "He's gone somewhere where no one can hurt him. He's safe now."

QUOTES BEST-BY prepared by Eugene Webber

I used to love it when the punters had a go at me. I got awful stick,
with some vile abuse being hurled at me from the terraces. But I got a
buzz out of it. David has got to shove it up them.

George Best on David Beckham.

Seven hundred people turn up when I do a night with Rodney Marsh - half
of them to see whether I’ll turn up and the other half to see if I’ll
fall over if I do.

George Best.

When I’m asked if I regret anything I say that I wish I’d met my wife
30 years ago, except that would make her minus four.

George Best.

No-one can take away what I did, or claim I failed anyone on the pitch.

George Best.

Football is quite simple, it should be about having your best players.
Having others breathing down your neck makes sure you try to play well
every week.

George Best.

I hate to hear the final whistle, because if I’m playing well I want
the game to go on for ever, and if I’m struggling I want to keep
playing until I find my form again.

George Best.

Feet as sensitive as a pickpocket’s hands.

Hugh McIlvanney on George Best.

It’s a pleasure to be standing up’s a pleasure to be standing

George Best after winning the Footballer of the Century award.

I was probably earning £5,000 a week, but I was spending £8,000.

George Best.

If I’d been born ugly, you’d never have heard of Pele.

George Best.

What a pity Sir Alfred Ramsey wasn’t able to win the World Cup for
England by using men of flair and imagination.

George Best.

I survived because I was the best.

George Best.

I don't think he's a great player. He can't kick with his left foot,
he doesn't score many goals, he can't head a ball and he can't tackle.
Apart from that he's alright.

George Best on David Beckham.

I think so highly of Beckham. He could be the Cantona of United and
reach similar heights with England.

George Best.

When I look at the way United protect Ryan Giggs from the media and
everything else, I wonder if that might have helped. There is a lot of
advice for stars like Ryan, but I don’t know. If they had told me how
to behave I would probably have done the opposite.

George Best
George Best.

Exchange between a punter and George Best during one of the roadshows.

How do you rate Jimmy Greaves ?

The only man who could drink more than me.

George Best at a question and answer session.

Who is your favourite manager ?

The manager of Stringfellows.

George Best at a question and answer session.

No matter what has happened off the field since then, no matter what
people think, at the end of the day they’ll remember the football.
They won’t remember who I dated, fights and car crashes or whatever,
they won’t remember any of that, because it’s not important. They’ll
remember the football.

George Best.

I never felt that I ever let the team down or that I let myself down on
the field. A lot of things were happening off the field that maybe I
would have changed. I left Manchester United with a clear conscience.

George Best.

In 1969 I gave up drinking and sex. It was the worst bloody 20 minutes
of my life.

George Best.

If a fellow has to kick me it means he is not as good as I am.

George Best

Her aunt owned a cake shop in Manchester and we went to bed for the
first time in the flat above the store. Then we rushed downstairs
again and helped ourselves to cakes

George Best on an early fling.

I know there are those who would like to see me in the gutter. They’ll
never have that satisfaction, though.

George Best.

Just as I wanted to outdo everyone when I played, I had to outdo
everyone when we were on the town - always the last to go home.

George Best

If Tommy Docherty says good morning to you you’d better check the
weather outside.

George Best.

Every team had a hard man. We had Nobby Stiles, Chelsea had Chopper,
Arsenal had Peter Storey, Liverpool had Tommy Smith. Leeds had eleven
of them.

George Best.

Hard men ? Well, there was that picture of Vinny Jones holding Gazza’s
wotsits. In my day we called someone who did that a poof.

George Best.

I couldn’t get up and mingle even if I wanted to. There’s always
someone who wants to start a fight. Every time I go to the gents a
couple of friends have to come along as well for protection.

George Best.

There are plenty of reasons why he won’t last and the main one, sad to
say, is he’s just not good enough

George Best on Paul Gascoigne.

When Geoff Thomas traps the ball it goes as far as I used to be able to
kick it.

George Best.

Quite honestly, if England played in my back garden I’d close the

George Best in 1970.

I love taking the piss out of players too. Like ‘nutmegging’ them.
That’s sticking it between their legs and running round them. When I
first started I did not mind the hard men too much because it gave me
the chance to rubbish them with my skill. I’d go past them and they’d
say, ‘Do that again and I’ll break your f****** leg !’ And next time
I’d do them again and they’d say, ‘Right, I f****** warned you.’ Next
time I got the ball I’d stand on it and beckon them to me. I used to
be like a bullfighter, inviting them to charge me. They rarely got me.
I was too quick. At moments like that, with the crowd cheering, I
used to get the horn. Honestly. it used to arouse me, excite me.

George Best.

I never subscribed to Sir Alf Ramsey’s doctrine of hard running off the
ball. I am a footballer - and that means having a football at my feet.

George Best.

When I’m on the field nothing gives me more pleasure than making a fool
of somebody.

George Best.

Skill is something I’ll never lose. I’ll have that when I’m a hundred.

George Best.

The goals you saw were masterpieces of their creator’s craft, jewels to
set in any crown.

George Best of Brazil’s goals in the 19970 World Cup.

That game in Portugal for me was something of a starting point. That
was probably the occasion when I decided it was only going to get
better. From that match on I actually believed there was nobody better
than me. It is amazing what one performance can do.

George Best recalling United’s 5-1 defeat of Benfica in the European
Cup in Portugal.

Perhaps it is simply because I have got older, but the soccer scene
today doesn’t excite me as much as when I made my debut eight years
ago. Everything was new and exciting. I believe that my job is to
entertain the people who have paid money to see me play. One of the
big problems with modern-day soccer is that it has become too
stereotyped with everybody preoccupied with defence.

George Best in 1972

If you are going to be beaten, you don’t mind if it’s by the great man

George Best who came second to Pele in a worldwide poll to see was the
greatest player on the planet.

They’d done it, they were proud and they had every reason to be. And
then they sat back and you could almost hear the energy and ambition
sighing out of the club. It was not that the willingness to win had
disappeared completely. It was still there. But after the European
Cup it didn’t seem quite so important. It was like being in at the
winding up of a company.

George Best.

Seems I can’t walk along the street without somebody wanting to know
what it’s all about at Old Trafford. Still, it’s nice to meet mates,
even if most of them are being met for the very first time.

George Best.

I might go to Alcoholics Anonymous but I think it would be difficult
for me to remain anonymous.

George Best.

Everyone makes mistakes - mine just seem to get more publicity than
other people’s.

George Best.

Do they seriously think I don’t want to change? Of course I do ! But
I can’t change. I know myself well enough to realise I can’t promise
to change. I can only try and go on trying. I can get whacked from
the back or hit when the ball has gone 28 times in a row and do nothing
or say nothing. I don’t know why it should boil the 29th time, which
has been no different. It just happens.

George Best.

A lot of rubbish is talked about destroyers and tough defenders. I
call them dirty bastards.

George Best.

I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just

George Best

They tell me to do so many things, so many bloody things: shave off my
beard, cut my hair - as if that would make me into what they wanted me
to be. Jesus Christ had a beard and long hair and they didn’t want to
change him.

George Best.

He is accused of being arrogant, unable to cope with the press and a
boozer. Sounds like he’s got a chance to me.

George Best on Paul Gascoigne.

Most of the things I’ve done are my own fault, so I can’t feel guilty
about them.

George Best

Mentally and physically I am a bloody wreck. Not eating. Not
sleeping. Heavy drinking and staying out until four or five in the
morning because I was frightened to go to my gold fish bowl of a home.

George Best.

Sometimes I feel like a one-man zoo.

George Best in 1973

I don’t really class myself as a footballer. I call myself an

George Best.

Was I the fifth Beatle? Not really. What I think they meant was that
I wasn’t your average don’t do anything until Saturday footballer.

George Best.

He is flawless in his dealing with us. He can remain aloof and yet
human. He can tear us apart and still command respect. He can praise
us, and we know it to be genuine. He can advise us and we know there
is no dark motive afoot. He can talk to us and we will always listen.
The manager-player relationship at Old Trafford is ideal.

George Best on Sir Matt Busby.

If you want the secret of my success with women, then don’t smoke,
don’t take drugs and don’t be too particular.

George Best.

I wouldn’t kiss any girl if she smoked too much

George Best.

I would like the girl I marry to be a virgin. It used to be one of the
most important things I used to think about. Finding a girl who was a
virgin. But it’s almost impossible for it to work. In fact it’s
almost impossible to find a girl who’s a virgin. My ideas must be
changing though, ‘cos I don’t feel as strongly about it as I used to.
And if I did find a girl who was a virgin I probably wouldn’t like her

George Best.

Once I started playing football I realised I was in the perfect
position for pulling birds. I had the limelight, the publicity, the
money. Where could I go wrong?

George Best

They say I’ve slept with seven Miss Worlds. I didn’t. It was only
four. I didn’t turn up for the other three.

George Best

What would you do if you weren’t a footballer ?

Manage the Miss World contest. I might get the four birds I missed.

Exchange between a punter and George Best during one of the roadshows.

Mary Stavin is the only woman to whom I was almost always faithful

George Best.

In those days when I was a kid the only thing I shared my bed with was
a football. I used to take the ball to bed with me. I know it sounds
daft but I used to love the feel of it. I used to hold it, look at it
and think, ‘One day you’ll do everything I tell you.’

George Best.

In addition to the letters, I have a fan club of 900, a personal
secretary, two spare-time assistants, a literary agent, an accountant,
a teenager’s boutique, two more shops on the way, a white 3.4 Jag
convertible with radio, tape-recorders and dozens of girlfriends.

George Best at the peak of his fame.

I saw a sign saying Drink Canada Dry.

George Best explaining why he went to America.

I’d have to be superman to do some of the things I’m supposed to have
done. I’ve been in six different places at six different times

George Best

Sometimes I think it would be nice to get married and settle down, but
there’s a long time for that, isn’t there ?

George Best.

Let me say, here and now, that I do not believe in tactics. There is a
lot of rot talked by a lot of people about tactics and coaching. These
are the people who wear their lapel badges to boost their ego, take
their holidays at Lilleshall and talk of the coaching manual as if it
was a football bible.

George Best

George Best Edwardia Ltd

The title of George Best clothes shop company.

You won’t find me getting involved in any of the violence that
sometimes meet the Springboks in this country, but I do feel tempted
sometimes to join in the peaceful sit-ins by way of demonstration, even
if I feel it probably wouldn’t do much good, except maybe give some of
the knockers a reason to have a go at me ! Fact is that the South
Africans simply shouldn’t be allowed here at all next summer, unless
something is done about that rotten apartheid business back in their
home towns.

It’s pure rubbish to suggest that playing test matches at cricket will
show how life should be led. Test cricket isn’t a bit like real life,
not life as it is today, and the many years of series between the two
countries hasn’t done the slightest bit of good. Meanwhile Arthur Ashe
and that Indian golfer are not allowed into South Africa.

Let ‘em stew in it, say I. Let ‘em do without competitive
international sport until the way is laid open for anybody, regardless
of creed or colour, to represent his colour and get the full reward for
his skill.

George Best in 1970.

Jim [Baxter] went a lot further down that dark and dismal road than I

George Best.

In her youth the Queen was quite a stunner. Who knows what might have
happened if I’d met her at Tramp in my heyday.

George Best.

No-one can take away what I did, or claim I failed anyone on the pitch.

George Best.


In February 1961 he took a fifteen-year-old Belfast boy on to his
playing staff, and although he didn’t know it at the time, by doing so
he achieved his ambition and fulfilled his dream. The boy’s name was
George Best and from the moment he signed for United nothing was the
same again, not for Sir Matt, nor the club, and most certainly not for
George Best.

Michael Parkinson, journalist.

Boy Best Flashes in Red Attack.

The Manchester Evening News’ headline after George Best’s debut for
Manchester United against West Brom.

You played a lot of football. Do you think if you hadn’t played as
much football you wouldn’t have been so thirsty?


British football is so mundane, because everyone’s influenced by
midfield players instead of being influenced by George Best.

Johnny Marr, former guitarist with The Smiths

George is full of good resolutions and good intentions, but he must
learn that it is not enough to give them. You have to keep them.

Frank O’Farrell.

Feet as sensitive as a pickpocket’s hands.

Hugh McIlvanney.

I was able to stay in my natural environment and develop there as a
respected member of the community. If I had been 15-years old and
pulled off the streets of Belfast on to the pitch at Old Trafford I
feel I would have ended up as George Best has.

Barry John, the former Wales fly-half.

George was like John Curry, Robin Cousins and Torville & Dean all
rolled into one. He was the Nureyev of football.

Jimmy Greaves.

The complete player. He could ride tackles, hit the ball with either
foot, send superb long or short passes. He made a tremendous impression
on young people with his ability. As a person I always liked him and
we've travelled the world together for matches and on the after- dinner
speaking circuit.

Denis Law.

Unquestionably the greatest. There was simply nobody to compare with
him _ he had all the attributes. It's so tragic circumstances led to
such an early retirement from the game. He's a nice lad -a genius.

Alex Ferguson.

He was such a great player he could get away with almost anything and
that was a mistake. He should have been kept on a tighter rein. He was
strong, athletic, good tackler, good in the air and could score goals.
He had everything when at his peak.

Tommy Docherty.

He was the most perfectly balanced player I've ever seen. Frankly, I
thought the criticism levelled at him when he finished at 27 was
unfair. He played 11 seasons of First Division football with United and
paid his dues to the public. He started early and was entitled to
finish when he did.

David Meek, journalist.

A great wee lad; the good, bad, the ugly.

Bertie Peacock, the former Northern Ireland manager who gave George
Best his first cap.

We’ve a young Irish boy here called Best, and if he doesn’t make a
bloody genius I haven’t seen one. It’s all there; the heart, the
ability, everything.

Matt Busby.

If George had been born ugly he probably would have played till he was
40.... just look at Peter Beardsley.

Pat Crerand.

George knows he let a lot of people down a lot of times. But what he
also did was to make people’s dreams come true.

Denis Law.

Once you get the taste of George Best you never want to taste another

Angie Best in 1979

When he’s boozing he’s the most deplorable, obnoxious, sarcastic,
ignorant, horrible piece of rubbish.

Angie Best in 1982

Let’s get the record straight. I’ve never seen George the worse for
drink. He doesn’t smoke and he does train hard.

Bobby Charlton.

He’s one of the most intelligent, considerate and generous of men. I
still love him, but there are problems better solved on his own.

Mary Stavin as left Best.

Best has given footballers a bad name and I saw it as my job to repair
their reputation. It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but I
like to think I helped

Kevin Keegan

Keegan couldn’t lace my boots as a player. He’s been very, very lucky,
an average player who came into a game when it was short of

George Best

Keegan is not fit to lace George Best’s drinks.

John Roberts , journalist.

Every day there was a story in the papers about George Best - but most
of the things we were reading were not about what he had done on the
field, but about sleeping with three Miss Worlds or whatever. I
cancelled the Daily Mirror, because I was sick to death of reading all
their stories about George.

Jack Charlton.

I have often wondered and perhaps you’ll tell me, George. Exactly how
big is your willy ?

A question from a girl to George Best during a question and answer
session at a personal appearance.

Where are you now, Georgie ?
With those boots that laced up the side
And that Irish shirt you wore with pride
And that picture of you with Mike Summerbee and bride ?
Where are you now, Georgie ?
I dreamed of you dribbling past City’s back four
And leaving Joe Corrigan fumbling on the floor
And the Stretford End singing, ‘More, Bestie more!’

From Where Are You Now, Georgie by Sportchestra

He is a son of instinct rather than logic.

Geoffrey Green, journalist.

You can watch a replay of his magic and still you cannot see how it was

David Coleman.

It’s like George Best once said to me, ‘When you’ve had the last three
Miss Worlds, then you can start talking’.

Maurice Johnston.

The bewildering repertoire of feints and swerves, sudden stops and
demoralising spurts, exploited a freakish elasticity of limb and torso,
tremendous physical strength and balance that would have made Isaac
Newton decide he might as well have eaten the apple.

Hugh McIlvanney, journalist.

He should have been captain and more respected as a footballer, because
he’s an intelligent lad, not the fool that people take him for.

Eamon Dunphy, journalist.

Mr. Best, how did you manage to sire such a marvellous son ?

Why madam, if I was to show you here, we would both be thrown out.

A conversation between Dickie Best and a director’s wife during the
celebrations after United won the League Championship in 1965.

All my lot can stay out till four every morning if they can play half
as well as George.

Anonymous manager.

George thought he was the James Bond of soccer. He had everything he
wanted and he pleased himself. He had money, girls and tremendous
publicity. He lived from day to day. Until right at the end he got
away with it when he missed training or ran away. So he didn’t care.
People made excuses for him; he didn’t even have to bother to do it

People talked about pressures and depressions. it was rubbish. He
just hadn’t any responsibilities, nothing to worry about at all. All
kinds of people covered up for him, even the Press, and he was lucky to
get away with it for so long.

Willie Morgan.

I don’t want to end up like him.

Paul Gascoigne.

We were going to Portugal for our holiday, but now it looks like
Bermuda. That may be just far enough away to steer clear of George
Best and all his problems.

Bobby Charlton.

Shellito was taken off suffering from twisted blood.

Pat Crerand after Chelsea’s full back Ken Shellito was given a the run
around by Best.

I remember one game where Best glided past Harris’ waist high tackle,
struck the ball through Marvin Hinton’s legs, sent Eddie McCreadie one
way and Bonetti the other before scoring. If he’d only gone past
nightclubs the way he did defenders, he’d still be playing.

Wilf McGuinness.

George Best can do more things than anyone in all history. He is a
magnificent distributor of the ball. He can beat a man on either side
using methods that no one has ever before thought about, he can shoot,
head, tackle and keep cooler than anyone at the same time.

Pat Crerand.

Cruyff was manufactured on Earth. George Best was made in Heaven

Derek Dougan.

Let him alone. Don’t try and coach him. The boy is special.

Matt Busby’s advice to training staff at Old Trafford after George
Best arrived.

He had ice in his veins, warmth in his heart and timing and balance in
his feet.

Danny Blanchflower.

I don’t care if he’s George Best or Pele. Unless he’s willing to do
hard training, he won’t get a look in.

Malcolm Holman, manager of the Ford Open Prison football team after
Best’s arrival.

George Best had been felled by a full back who was noted for his
ability to get in a really tough tackle. The referee gave the defender
a ticking-off. The culprit answered back, ‘What else do you expect me
to do? He’s making me look a right idiot.’

Alex Stepney.

What Best didn’t realise until it was too late was that whereas Paul
McCartney could stay up until the small hours and then write a pop song
about it, George simply found it more difficult top keep himself at a
level of fitness required in a top athlete.

Michael Parkinson, journalist.

Why can’t he have been like Tom Finney ?

John Anthony, journalist.

‘Tragedy’ is a greatly devalued word, as often applied to an own goal
as an earthquake. But when you think of Manchester United and George
Best and when you consider the sheer pleasure which they and he used to
offer us, it becomes impossible to by-pass the word.

John Anthony, journalist.

I could strangle all the people who have a go. The pressures that are
on him are terrible. People invade his privacy and give him no
breathing space. What people don’t realise is that he is shy and
bashful. You couldn’t meet a nicer bloke. Don’t forget it was the
public who created the image.

Terry Neill.

They say that he’ll be burned out by the time he is in his
mid-twenties, that no one can live at the pace he does. Well, I’ve
played alongside him now for a long time now and I’ve seen nothing to
suggest this.

Bobby Charlton.

We had problems with the wee feller, but I prefer to remember his

Sir Matt Busby.

I’m a better ball player than George Best. George definitely had the
edge over me in finishing but when it comes to beating people and
creating chances for others, well, I could lose George at that.

Willie Morgan.

There was an earthquake when I gave birth. I witnessed bombing,
shooting, explosions and death at first hand. After that I can assure
you that George Best is pretty easy to cope with.

Mary Shatila, one of Best’s girlfriends.

He became a cult of youth, a new folk hero, a living James Dean who was
a rebel with a cause

Geoffrey Green, journalist, on George Best.

I live in hope that one day I’ll go along to a youth match, as in 1963,
watch an unknown kid for five minutes and find myself asking, ‘My
God,who is that?’

Pat Crerand on the search for another George Best.

Looking back I feel guilty. George Best was a youngster when he came
into a great side and I don’t think we senior players took enough
interest in him. Older players influenced me a great deal when I was
young, but we failed to influence George Best.

Bill Foulkes.

They should show the kids films of his matches. They’d learn more from
five minutes of George than they would from five years of coaching

Pat Jennings.

I am going to protect Ryan all I can. I have got to be honest and say
George Best is the role model of what to avoid with our talented kids.
I use George’s case as an example when I speak to parents of young
footballers. Everybody wanted a piece of George. This club is a
refuge for Ryan. He can come and be sheltered by us. When the time
comes and he can handle it, then we won’t stand in his way.

Alex Ferguson

I have found a genius.

Bob Bishop, United’s Northern Ireland scout, to Matt Busby.

Tell me, Mr. Best - where did it all go wrong?

A porter who arrived in Best’s hotel suite to deliver champagne where
he saw £15,000 spread out on the bed and a half-naked Miss World, Mary
Stavin prancing about the room.

My only reaction upon hearing that George Best had been named
Footballer of the Year by claiming 60 per cent of the vote was to ask
my informant, ‘Who on earth did the remaining 40 per cent vote for?’

Michael Parkinson after Best became Footballer of the Year in 1968.

People say he wasted his career. Nonsense, he was hunted down by
defenders for 11 full seasons, starting at 17. He paid his dues all

David Meek, journalist.

Just my luck. They give me George Best’s liver.

Rangers’ icon, Jim Baxter, after a liver transplant failed.

El Beatle

Portuguese newspaper description of George Best after his brilliant
performance in United’s 5-1 thrashing of Benfica in Lisbon.

He is famous, he is rich, he is Irish. Not a good combination.

Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow on the troubles of George Best


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