Thursday, 27 October 2005

How many more?

For a brief moment one thinks about the person who died and gave George Best their liver and about the person who came second to George Best in the queue for that liver. Did that person survive? If not, would they be angry that they lost to a man who had everything and chose to drink himself into oblivion? I would understand if they were.

It would be easy to blame George and it would be easy to say that he didn't deserve what was coming to him, but it is hard not to overlook the astonishing talent that he gave the 20th Century and understand that in the balance of the human psyche, what one side has in abundance, another will be dangerously lacking. Genius comes at a cost and very few make it to a ripe old age.

So as other young sportsmen are hitting the scene with talent oozing from every pore, we hope that they will listen to the George Best story and chose a better path. Where Owen has succeeded, we hope Rooney will follow. How many more must we lose to the perils of alchohol?

Equally, how many more stunningly good British footballers must we exclude from the world stage through our illogical and stubborn reluctance to play as Britain rather than its constituent parts and how many times might we have won that blessed gold cup had we fielded the finest players from our island in a single team?

Ryan Giggs, Kenny Dalgliesh, George Best and god knows how many more (I am no football expert) have been excluded for no good reason but pride. I am guessing here, but I genuinely believe that Ryan Giggs has been the difference between semi finals and winning in the last three major trophy competitions. You mix together the half decent Scotland and England teams of the late seventies and tell me we wouldn't have won something.

It annoys me to think that such talent never makes it to these great festivals, so sure for the European Cup let's stay as we are, but for the World Cup we must play as Great Britain.

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