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george best quotes

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

1980

I don't drink every day, but when I do it's usually for four or five days on the trot.

1979

I'd be worth £14m to £15m by today's prices.

1996

I've lost a lot of friends at a very young age, yet I was the one they kept saying wouldn't make 30, then 40, then 50. And I'm still here.

1995

People always say I shouldn't be burning the candle at both ends. Maybe they haven't got a big enough candle.

2003

It's a pleasure to be standing here. It's a pleasure to be standing up.

On being made Footballer of the Century, 1999

Because I saw an advert on the side of a London bus inviting me to " Drink Canada Dry"

On going to play for Vancouver Whitecaps

Sue Barker: "What happened next?"

Best: "Well, there's no point in asking me. I can't remember what happened last night."

Appearing on 'A Question of Sport'

I was born with a great gift, and sometimes with that comes a destructive streak. Just as I wanted to outdo everyone when I played, I had to outdo everyone when we were out on the town.

Well, I suppose that's the knighthood fucked.

After being sent to prison in 1984 for drink-driving

They'll forget all the rubbish when I've gone and they'll remember the football. If only one person thinks I'm the best player in the world, that's good enough for me.

All the bad times cannot wipe away the good memories, and despite all the ups and downs, when I look at my life as a whole, it is impossible for me not to feel blessed.

From his autobiography, Blessed.

 

Best on his women

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

When birds start to take their clothes off, they say: "I'm not doing this because you're George Best."

1970

Reporter Sue Mott, taking Best's mobile phone number: "God, do you realise half the women in the world would pay good money to get that number?"

Best: "Half the women in the world have got it."

 

Best on football

It had nothing to do with women and booze, car crashes or court cases. It was purely football. Losing wasn't in my vocabulary. When the wonderful players I had been brought up with - Charlton, Law, Crerand, Stiles - went into decline, United made no real attempt to buy the best replacements. I was left struggling among fellas who should not have been allowed through the door. It sickened me that we ended up being just about the worst team in the First Division.

On the disenchantment that led him to retire

Esquire magazine: Is there one thing about your life you'd like to change?

Best: I took a penalty against Chelsea in 1971, and Peter Bonetti, the fucker, he saved it! I wish I'd sent it the other way.

Interview, 1991

I set off. I beat one player, then another. By the end I had beaten five of them in the space of 10 yards. I didn't know how I did it and still don't ... When I see it on television, it still dazzles me.

On what many consider his greatest goal, for San Jose Earthquakes against Fort Lauderdale strikers

Footballers today are millionaires by the time they're 22 or 23. More and more of them are going out and looking for something to give them a buzz outside football, be it gambling, drugs or booze. I got my buzz from playing. Players now have a groin injury for months and months and I often think they don't really give a toss whether they're playing or not because they're getting paid anyway.

I'd give all the champagne I've ever drunk to have played alongside Eric Cantona in a big European match at Old Trafford.

1997

[Stanley] Matthews did well considering he had no left foot, couldn't shoot and couldn't head the ball.

1970

He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that he's all right.

On David Beckham

I used to dream about taking the ball round the keeper, stopping it on the line and then getting on my hands and knees and heading it into the net. When I scored against Benfica in the European Cup Final I nearly did it. I left the keeper for dead, but then I chickened out. I might have given the boss a heart attack.

If he thinks he's got pressure now, things are going to get 10 times worse.

On Wayne Rooney, 2004

 

Football men on Best

There are times when you want to wring his neck. He hangs on to the ball when players have found better positions. Then out of the blue he wins you the match, and you know you're in the presence of someone special.

Paddy Crerand, Manchester United team-mate, 1970

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

Danny Blanchflower, former Northern Ireland captain, 1970

It seems impossible to hurt him. All manner of men have tried to intimidate him. Best merely glides along, riding tackles and brushing giants aside like leaves.

Joe Mercer, Manchester City manager, 1969

We had our problems with the wee fella, but I prefer to remember his genius.

Sir Matt Busby, 1988

One of the few fellas I know that does the Times crossword.

Crerand, 2004

I don't want to end up like him.

Paul Gascoigne, 1990

If I was reincarnated, I'd like to come back as Bestie because he was a genius and had all them women and drank all that wine.

Barry Fry, former United youth colleague of Best's, 1998

It wasn't "George Best opens a supermarket", or "George Best goes with his little baby to a birthday party", it was "George Best smashes his Jaguar through the window of Harrods."

Rodney Marsh on the press attention accorded to Best

Graham Williams, West Bromwich Albion full-back: Will you stand still for a minute so I can look at your face?

Best: Why?

Williams: Because all I've ever seen of you is your arse disappearing down the touchline.

Meeting, years after both players had retired

Women on Best

He's like a little boy. If anything doesn't go the way he wants, he'll stamp his feet and scream.

Jennifer Lowe, ex-Miss England and former girlfriend, 1970

He seems to be on a mission to self-destruct and it's getting worse.

Alex, his wife, as he resumed drinking after his liver transplant, 2003

George always got annoyed at celebrities who refused to talk to people in the street, or the pub. They bloody well put us here, he'd say; give something back. So he'd take a drink off them.

Alex, by then his ex-wife, 2005

 

Writers on Best

Keegan is not fit to lace Best's drinks.

John Roberts, football writer, after Best said Kevin Keegan was not fit to lace his boots, 1982

We have all heard that Einstein is a genius, but very few of us are in a position to judge. Football is one of the few areas of life where even if you're untutored, you can go to a ground and see George Best beat three men, and you can realise, "I have seen genius."

Simon Kuiper

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 right.

David Meek, veteran United reporter, 1995

I remember being astounded when George confided in me that when he was weaning himself off alcohol he had planned his suicide down to the smallest detail. First, he would book himself into a luxury hotel in some far-flung hot spot and indulge himself with his favourite food and drink, including Louis XIII brandy ... Then, after a month of gluttony, George would take his life, Roman-style, by slitting his wrists in the bath.

Roy Collins, one of Best's biographers

When George Best warned his bride-to-be Alex about the glare of publicity that life with him would entail, she replied that, having recently finished a long-term relationship with the ex-Liverpool and Tottenham defender John Scales, she had a pretty good idea what to expect. Best laughed out loud, telling her that if life with Scales was a goldfish-bowl existence, with him it would be more like living in an aquarium in Trafalgar Square with a dozen telephoto lenses constantly trained on them.

Collins, 2003

He was Roy of the Rovers on the field but, sadly, Roy of the Ravers off it.

Best's entry on the International Football Hall of Fame website

"'What was the time of that goal?' asked a young reporter in the Manchester United press box. 'Never mind the time, son,' said an older voice. 'Just write down the date.'"

Hugh McIlvanney, sportswriter, Observer

With feet as sensitive as a pickpocket's hands, his control of the ball under the most violent pressure was hypnotic. The bewildering repertoire of feints and swerves ... and balance that would have made Isaac Newton decide he might as well have eaten the apple.

McIlvanney, The Sunday Times

I remember an obliging young man who once helped this equally young reporter to write an article when he would have been justified in shaking his head, berating me for wasting his time and striding from the room.

Patrick Barclay, The Sunday Telegraph

A Brazilian fan was asked to distinguish between Pele and Alfredo di Stefano. Di Stefano, he acknowledged, might be the greatest footballer on Earth, but Pele came from heaven. Those who have enjoyed watching both Best and Cantona will know which is which.

David Lacey, of The Guardian, after United fans had voted Eric Cantona as the best United player of all time.

 

And Van Morrison...

In a factory in a street called Bread in East Belfast

Where Georgie knows best

What it's like to be Daniel in the lion's den

Got so many friends only most of the time

From the song 'Ancient Highway'

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George Best

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