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Thread: George Best

  1. #1
    Testimonial Due Austinho's Avatar
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    George Best

    What was it like watching George Best at Hibs? Hard to imagine one of the top 20 greatest footballers of all time ever gracing Scottish football again, even if they are a little past it at the time!

    Also, what squad number did he wear?


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    @hibs.net private member Thecat23's Avatar
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    Sure from some of the footage I remember watching he wore number 11. I never seen him myself, but he didn’t look in great shape in those clips I watched. You never lose the skill though I suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Austinho View Post
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    What was it like watching George Best at Hibs? Hard to imagine one of the top 20 greatest footballers of all time ever gracing Scottish football again, even if they are a little past it at the time!

    Also, what squad number did he wear?
    He played in the days where the team wore 1-11 regardless of who was in it. I miss that.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Thecat23 View Post
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    Sure from some of the footage I remember watching he wore number 11. I never seen him myself, but he didn’t look in great shape in those clips I watched. You never lose the skill though I suppose.
    It was pretty fleeting and I was only 9 when he arrived and 10 when he left but it was a bit like Sauzee. His mind was so far ahead of everyone around him that a lack of physical pace didn't really matter.

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    @hibs.net private member CropleyWasGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    It was pretty fleeting and I was only 9 when he arrived and 10 when he left but it was a bit like Sauzee. His mind was so far ahead of everyone around him that a lack of physical pace didn't really matter.


    He would play balls into spaces for players to run into.....

    ... and no-one would see the run until afterwards.


    (similarly, when Grant Brebner started with us, I was reminded of that time. GB would play superb balls out left.... to naebody. I think someone then reminded him that Ryan Giggs didny play for us. )
    Last edited by CropleyWasGod; 17-05-2018 at 10:53 AM.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Austinho View Post
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    What was it like watching George Best at Hibs? Hard to imagine one of the top 20 greatest footballers of all time ever gracing Scottish football again, even if they are a little past it at the time!

    Also, what squad number did he wear?
    He wore No 11, but there weren't squad numbers back then. His signing created a huge buzz around Scottish football and he was still a great entertainer. He was never fit though and he served mainly to provide a colourful distraction to what was a terrible time of decline for Hibs. Some footage here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIDVmLCkgRY

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    @hibs.net private member Thecat23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    It was pretty fleeting and I was only 9 when he arrived and 10 when he left but it was a bit like Sauzee. His mind was so far ahead of everyone around him that a lack of physical pace didn't really matter.
    That’s how I’d imagine him to be, his mind could easily read the game no matter what shape he was in. Must have been great though seeing him run out for us.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by CropleyWasGod View Post
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    He would play balls into spaces for players to run into.....

    ... and no-one would see the run until afterwards.


    (similarly, when Grant Brebner started with us, I was reminded of that time. GB would play superb balls out left.... to naebody. I think someone then reminded him that Ryan Giggs didny play for us. )
    Not saying they are best or sauzee standard but a few times this season whittaker or Allan have played the ball to absolutely nobody and got pelters. In reality though someone should have been there and they saw the space and passed it into it

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    @hibs.net private member CropleyWasGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcrowe View Post
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    Not saying they are best or sauzee standard but a few times this season whittaker or Allan have played the ball to absolutely nobody and got pelters. In reality though someone should have been there and they saw the space and passed it into it
    That's quite common for players who are used to playing at a higher level. It's an assumption that everybody else will be on the same wavelength.

    The really top players, though, learn how to manage that assumption and tailor their play accordingly.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by CropleyWasGod View Post
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    He would play balls into spaces for players to run into.....

    ... and no-one would see the run until afterwards.


    (similarly, when Grant Brebner started with us, I was reminded of that time. GB would play superb balls out left.... to naebody. I think someone then reminded him that Ryan Giggs didny play for us. )
    Not from his time with Hibs, but this is worth a watch as an example of the sort of balls he could play. Check out the ball to Rodney Marsh at 4:15:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0KLrwmUDg0

  12. #11
    @hibs.net private member CropleyWasGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G B Young View Post
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    Not from his time with Hibs, but this is worth a watch as an example of the sort of balls he could play. Check out the ball to Rodney Marsh at 4:15:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0KLrwmUDg0
    Superb

    If we'd signed that Marsh laddie as well, we'd have escaped relegation no bother.

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    @hibs.net private member Bostonhibby's Avatar
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    Seen every game he played. Definitely wasn't the fittest or most reliable to even turn up but the football brain and ability to put the ball where he wanted was still there.

    Scored one against st mirren that the keeper couldn't hold and I recall good performances against the now defunct Glasgow rangers and celtc.

    Pretty sure he wore number 11.

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  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Thecat23 View Post
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    That’s how I’d imagine him to be, his mind could easily read the game no matter what shape he was in. Must have been great though seeing him run out for us.
    It was pretty sad really.Over the years the myths have built up.He scored some nice goals,had some nice passes which often were not picked up on.But his legs were totally gone and his lungs weren’t much better.He cheered up the supporters no end but couldn’t contribute likeMcLeod or Callachan and of course not knowing whether he would turn up or not didn’t help much.

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    @hibs.net private member cleanyman's Avatar
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    Excuse the music but this is a favourite of mine

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nplemK3Y4ns

    He's doing all of this with a two tonne ball. Take note dear Sky Sports generation.

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    Coaching Staff hibsbollah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient hibee View Post
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    It was pretty sad really.Over the years the myths have built up.He scored some nice goals,had some nice passes which often were not picked up on.But his legs were totally gone and his lungs weren’t much better.He cheered up the supporters no end but couldn’t contribute likeMcLeod or Callachan and of course not knowing whether he would turn up or not didn’t help much.
    He DID have some cracking games for us that season, particularly Celtic where he took them apart in a 2-1 win. Some of the chat about him being useless while here is unfair. The good performances were fleeting though, and often punctuated by two day benders.

    Mentioned before but When George Came To Edinburgh is a very informative book about it.

    The home début vs Partick in 79 was an absolute celebration, ER was packed, twas my 9th birthday, it was like the Bay City Rollers had arrived
    Last edited by hibsbollah; 17-05-2018 at 02:25 PM.

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    @hibs.net private member Thecat23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient hibee View Post
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    It was pretty sad really.Over the years the myths have built up.He scored some nice goals,had some nice passes which often were not picked up on.But his legs were totally gone and his lungs weren’t much better.He cheered up the supporters no end but couldn’t contribute likeMcLeod or Callachan and of course not knowing whether he would turn up or not didn’t help much.
    Good to hear this from someone who’s watched him. As you say I think the myth of him being great was a bit off. Must have been frustrating not knowing if you’d see him one week then not the next.

  18. #17
    @hibs.net private member Dan Sarf's Avatar
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    I saw him play for Fulham - alongside Rodney Marsh and Bobby Moore. They were all past their prime but the wonderful vision was still there to see.

    They so outclassed the opposition (Hereford) that George and Rodney eventually resorted to tackling each other just for a laugh. But they were wonderfully professional too. Never gave the ball away. Constantly inventive. Mischievous. Efficient. Loving doing their job.

    The lady who ran the pie stall at the back of the terraces was delighted with George too. It was a sell out crowd with queues round the block and the pies completely sold out. "I wish he could play for us every week," she said.

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    @hibs.net private member Bostonhibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hibsbollah View Post
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    He DID have some cracking games for us that season, particularly Celtic where he took them apart in a 2-1 win. Some of the chat about him being useless while here is unfair. The good performances were fleeting though, and often punctuated by two day benders.

    Mentioned before but When George Came To Edinburgh is a very informative book about it.

    The home début vs Partick in 79 was an absolute celebration, ER was packed, twas my 9th birthday, it was like the Bay City Rollers had arrived
    This is nearer what I remember.

    Mind you I'm biased as he did the opening of an exhaust centre at piershill and my Ma won the raffle he drew☺

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  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by hibsbollah View Post
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    He DID have some cracking games for us that season, particularly Celtic where he took them apart in a 2-1 win. Some of the chat about him being useless while here is unfair. The good performances were fleeting though, and often punctuated by two day benders.

    Mentioned before but When George Came To Edinburgh is a very informative book about it.

    The home début vs Partick in 79 was an absolute celebration, ER was packed, twas my 9th birthday, it was like the Bay City Rollers had arrived
    I remember a 2-1 vs the Old Huns where he ran the show.

    In fact, here's the report:

    https://www.scotsman.com/sport/footb...1979-1-3644584

    The other thing to remember is he came into a team that was anchored to the bottom of the table. The popular Jambo jest at the time was "what's the difference between Hibs and a triangle? A triangle has 3 points" ho-ho.


    Edit: some footage from that Huns game on here:

    Last edited by JeMeSouviens; 17-05-2018 at 03:08 PM.

  21. #20
    Coaching Staff HUTCHYHIBBY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancient hibee View Post
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    It was pretty sad really.Over the years the myths have built up.He scored some nice goals,had some nice passes which often were not picked up on.But his legs were totally gone and his lungs weren’t much better.He cheered up the supporters no end but couldn’t contribute likeMcLeod or Callachan and of course not knowing whether he would turn up or not didn’t help much.
    I was just a bairn at the time but, thats pretty much how I remember it too.

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    @hibs.net private member Kato's Avatar
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    It's rarely mentioned that Hibs were relegated that season and Best turned in one or two appearances the following season.

    Would loved to have seen him in the previous seasons Hibs team which included Des Bremner. The whole reason we were relegated was down the failure to replace him. Des did ALL the running in that midfield, Callachan and McLeod were never known as grafters and needed someone like Bremner to win the ball for them. Instead of replacing Bremner we signed someone who's work rate was even shyer than Callachan's and McLeod's. He was past it but showed some sublime skill in flashes and in certain games, Celtic/Rangers/Aberdeen at Pittodrie, put everything he had into them.

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    @hibs.net private member GreenLake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CropleyWasGod View Post
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    He would play balls into spaces for players to run into.....

    ... and no-one would see the run until afterwards.



    (similarly, when Grant Brebner started with us, I was reminded of that time. GB would play superb balls out left.... to naebody. I think someone then reminded him that Ryan Giggs didny play for us. )
    Saw that plenty of times. His vision was extraordinary.

  24. #23
    Was at all his games and while slower the skill was still evident and no one better I have seen in a green and white jersey or any other colour!

    Dampener was the Friday before a game against Ayr I was an apprentice working at the Art Gallery opposite Waverley Station and George must have cut through as he was staying at the North British Hotel at the time. All the apprentices shouted over to greet him and thinking he must have an interview at the Evening news discovered at dinner time where we had our Friday pint he was in Jingling Geordies and didn't as we know get out easily. Well documented he missed the Saturday match against Ayr United. When the tanoy at Easter road indicated he was ill and wouldn't play I remember thinking ya bugger George I know why you are sick but forgave him as I witnessed one of the worlds best.Pardon the pun!

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Thecat23 View Post
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    Good to hear this from someone who’s watched him. As you say I think the myth of him being great was a bit off. Must have been frustrating not knowing if you’d see him one week then not the next.
    I think what spoiled it for me was that I had been in my mid twenties when he was at his best so I was old enough then to appreciate how good he was,and how brave given the kickings he took.Had he been properly supported by the people round him in Manchester it could have been very different.I should have said that when he played he didn’t hide or play the big time Charlie.As a game went on the other players were reluctant to give him the ball because he couldn’t retain it.I often compared the situation with when Bobby Johnstone returned.When he took the field for the first time (against Killie)there was a huge gasp from the crowd because he’d turned into a big balloon.But h knuckled down ,got fit and of course Hibs and Joe Baker scored a barrow load and Johnstone ran the game as well as scoring a few goals.Best had huge support from the crowd but honestly it just wasn’t there.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
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    It's rarely mentioned that Hibs were relegated that season and Best turned in one or two appearances the following season.

    Would loved to have seen him in the previous seasons Hibs team which included Des Bremner. The whole reason we were relegated was down the failure to replace him. Des did ALL the running in that midfield, Callachan and McLeod were never known as grafters and needed someone like Bremner to win the ball for them. Instead of replacing Bremner we signed someone who's work rate was even shyer than Callachan's and McLeod's. He was past it but showed some sublime skill in flashes and in certain games, Celtic/Rangers/Aberdeen at Pittodrie, put everything he had into them.
    He shows exceptionally quick feet to win the early penalty here. Missed by Macleod (tho hard to see if it was over the line or not):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YyA-AIvHM4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thecat23 View Post
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    Sure from some of the footage I remember watching he wore number 11. I never seen him myself, but he didn’t look in great shape in those clips I watched. You never lose the skill though I suppose.
    Went along with my father in law to his first home game, think it was against Partick Thistle, and he was done, over weight totally unfit, but ball control & passing ability still there.

  28. #27
    I'm surprised he could concentrate on any football with that Bukta top he had to wear! It was an itchy f#cker, he must have been red raw under it.

  29. #28
    Never mind the top 20 , George Best must be in the top 5 of all time. He was well out of shape and usually hungover or drunk but you could still see some genius poking out now and again. His goal against Celtic is one of my all time favourites and the 20K crowd at his Easter Road debut is by far the biggest crowd I have been in at home. At least 30K there and probably more. I might still have his autograph somewhere from when he opened the new Tyre centre with his Miss World wife in PIERSHILL.

  30. #29
    Old Codger Hibstorian Jonnyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thecat23 View Post
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    Good to hear this from someone who’s watched him. As you say I think the myth of him being great was a bit off. Must have been frustrating not knowing if you’d see him one week then not the next.
    I think it's fair to say that it was great going along to watch him which is slightly different from him being great when you went along to watch him

    The excitement around the club at that time was fantastic and though he'd clearly seen better days I loved every second of watching him in a Hibs strip
    This is how it feels

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
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    It's rarely mentioned that Hibs were relegated that season and Best turned in one or two appearances the following season.

    Would loved to have seen him in the previous seasons Hibs team which included Des Bremner. The whole reason we were relegated was down the failure to replace him. Des did ALL the running in that midfield, Callachan and McLeod were never known as grafters and needed someone like Bremner to win the ball for them. Instead of replacing Bremner we signed someone who's work rate was even shyer than Callachan's and McLeod's. He was past it but showed some sublime skill in flashes and in certain games, Celtic/Rangers/Aberdeen at Pittodrie, put everything he had into them.
    I remember a game at Easter Road on a Tuesday night against Dundee when Erich Schaedler turned out for the Dark Blues. George must have been on the wagon at this stage as he was leaner and appeared much fitter. George was brilliant that night displaying all his skills and was a joy to watch. It was his best performance in a Hibs jersey but only around 5000 were there to see it.

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