I heard this poem on the radio this morning. These days I only reliably listen to two Irish radio shows; Saturday playback and Sunday Miscellany. There was a little snippet about George Best.
On the 14th of September 1963, the year I was born, at the age of 17 he made his first division debut for Manchester United, so today is a bit special for George. That year they finished second in the league behind my team; Liverpool.
George Best was problematic for me as a kid. He was from the wrong end of Ireland. He played internationals for Northern Ireland. Everyone knew he was a genius, but he played for the wrong team. Those were the great years of Liverpool Vs Manchester United rivalry.
If I wrote this poem it would be 1974, Liverpool winning the FA cup in Bill Shankly’s final year as manager, the young Kevin Keegan scoring twice in the final. Dermot is that little bit older than I. But we had the same english teacher in Beneavin College.
In Memory of George Best: by Dermot Bolger
In one corner of our mind it remains 1969:
Frosted pavements, icy breath, yet our hands thaw
in the thrill of chasing a ball under streetlights,
voices in the dark calling the names of Best and Law.
A drudge of decades have clogged our arteries,
yet no matter what occurred, what we have become,
when we see again his feint, his sheer artistry
thousands of us are instantaneously made young.