Friday, November 25, 2005

Sweet dreams, George Best

To some people, it seems pretty ridiculous to follow Liverpool FC as closely as I do. After all, I did not grow up in Liverpool. Or in England. Or in Northern Ireland (where George Best was born). But in the suburb of Kallhäll north of Stockholm, we for sure had two public TV-channels when I grew up, and Saturday 3 PM meant English football (the show was called Tipsextra, kick-off at 4 PM). And in the mid-eighties, Liverpool had a fantastic team, and they played in red, and Liverpool was the working class city of The Beatles. Moreover, in those days Liverpool had one of the few Nordic players in English football, the guy with the belly and the quick feet, the magic Jan Molby. (Molby was an expert penalty taker, and scored 40 of the 42 penalties he took for Liverpool. He also became the first foreigner to play for an English club for ten years).

Supporting Liverpool also means not supporting Manchester United. When the invasion of Iraq was about to happen in 2003, Liverpool supporters put up a big sign during the games: “Don’t bomb Iraq. Nuke Manchester”. Just a joke of course, but with an edge against the team we love to beat.

But today one of those Manchester United players you just cannot help admiring passed away. George Best died way too early, his fondness of alcohol being well known. I read a nice obituary here (in Swedish) and here (in English), and Liverpool’s website also pays tribute to George Best today.

So sleep well George Best. I do not know if you ever really said: “I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars. The rest I just squandered”. But if so it is a quote with a dark side that I will not use for a while. All you supporters of Manchester United, I feel your pain today and I pay my tribute. But when we come to Old Trafford on the 22nd of January, it is time for the beautiful game again.


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