26 November 2005

A Minutes Applause

Have just come back from the Livingston game this afternoon.

Before the kick-off all the fans observed a minutes applause for George Best. I'm sure that George as the consummate showman and rebel would have approved.

Unfortunately had little to applaud the rest of the game as the team lost to Kilmarnock 3-0.

So Long Bestie

Obviously as a Northern Irish born football fan yesterdays news of George Best's death came with great sadness if not a great shock.

There are so many tributes from so many people Malcolm Brodie football correspondent for the Belfast Telegraph who knew George before he even set foot in Manchester.

He was to go to Matt Busby's Manchester United to join England's first choice striker Bobby Charlton and Scotland's Dennis Law.

In 1964 he made his Northern Ireland debut with another debutant Pat Jennings.

He lived a life claiming that he lived up to his name being the Best. In first his autobiography, 'The Good, the Bad and the Bubbly', he had a photograph standing next to Pele with the caption:

Me with the second best player in the world.

However, Pele admitted that Best was the best player he had ever seen. He did dazzle and entertain and on several occasions even after beaten his man would go back just for fun and do it again. he won English and European footballer of the year titles before he was 22. And was a key part in Manchester United's European Cup winning team of 1968. However, he walked out on United in 1974 after a dispute with Tommy Docherty never to return, he was only 28.

He returned to football with lowly Stockport County in 1975 then joined the North American Soccer League. From 1976 to 1982 alongside names like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, first playing for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes. He interspersed this appearances with spells at Cork Celtic, Fulham and Hibernian before ending his playing career at Bournemouth.

Sadly none of George's 37 International Caps lead to one at a world cup. His first was six years after the historic side reached the 1958 Quarter Finals in Sweden, the last in 1977 five years before a glorious return in Spain 1982.

He may have succumbed to alcoholism, but in his death the greats remembered his football from Diego Maradonna to Sir Alex Ferguson, many of his Man United, Hibernian and Northern Ireland Colleagues.

19 November 2005

No Longer Bottom of the League

After finally getting over all the elections of this year it is a relief to get back to watching football on a Saturday afternoon again.

This afternoon I took the short hop to Dunfermline for what was a real needle match, there is a lot of animosity between the fans and the chairmen of the two clubs. However, we came away smiling as Livingston won away 1-0 and deservedly so. There was a good traveling support we had to queue for fifteen minutes to get to the turnstile. But Paul Dalglish standing in sparkling form and it was he who scored a belter of a goal. Sized up looking to get through from the edge of the box just like his old man. If it is King Kenny we have definitely found Prince Paul.

The result is our first win in the league all season following 5 draws. However most importantly it takes us off the bottom leaving Dunfermline there instead with just one win and three draws.

While we were getting back into the car the draw was made for the semi-finals when we avoided Celtic and got Dunfermline again. There is a real possibility of us getting to our fourth game at Hampden (semi-finals of the Scottish are also played at the national stadium).

8 November 2005

Dalglish Scores Winner in Cup Tie

Before any of you think I am going slightly mad or have stepped out of a TARDIS by accident I'm not referring to King Kenny but to his son Paul.

This season I must have entered an elite groups of people who have cheered on both Kenny and Paul from the terraces/stands while they play for my team. Being Northern Irish I feel that I am allowed to indulge my football support not just for home team Bangor but also two other teams that have been in European competition, Liverpool and Livingston.

Paul has overcome a slight injury earlier this season to return with strength to the Livi starting line up. Scoring in extra time in today's game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle to secure a place in the semi-finals of the CIS Insurance Cup.