Those who saw Best, know best

To all of us who saw him play he was simply the best.

George Best was a genius with the ball at his feet. The greatest talent ever to grace a football pitch.

Pele – who incidentally once described the Manchester United star as the best player he had ever seen – is probably regarded by some as the best because he played in World Cup finals over a long period and had more television exposure.

Best, the boy from Belfast who went on to help United become the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968 and became European Footballer of the Year that same year – was around at a time when so little of what he did was captured on camera.

And he played his international football for unfashionable little Northern Ireland who were never going to light up a world stage.

With so little footage around of Best – the cleverest, trickiest, quickest and most destructive of players – youngsters will never be able to judge for themselves just how good he was.

George was not only breathtaking and brilliant, he was brave.

He could win the ball, head it, make the most telling of passes with either foot, leave defenders floundering, and then top it all off with some outrageous goals.

Unlike some more recent overrated, over paid stars that would lay claim to being the best ever, George did it in all conditions and sometimes on the heaviest of pitches.

And Best did all this in an age when players were hacked at by the game’s hard men and did not receive the protection from referees that they get today.

Born in Manchester, Higginson has been a life-long United fan and saw the best of George Best.