The Red Report: The Best of the Best, Danny boy and a Brazilian
Our third United topic is another player debate: we remembered Red legend, George Best this past week. Five years since his death we share our emotions for one of the best players ever to have played the game…
Kyle | Stretford-End: Unfortunately, George Best was well before my time but that hasn’t stopped me for developing an enormous respect for him. I’m not going to claim that I love Best as much as older fans who were around to see him play. Those who were lucky enough to have see him play live have been touched by Best in ways us younger fans could never be. Just like one day the next generation will honour Ryan Giggs but will never be affected by him the way we were.
Sadly my only glimpses of Best have come from video clips, but what I’ve seen gives me chills. It’s not hard to see that he was a special player. I honestly feel like nothing I say could do Best justice. I don’t think there could be any higher praise than from another of our club’s beloved legends. So instead I turn to Eric Cantona: “After his first training session in heaven, George Best, from his favourite right-wing, turned the head of God who was filling in at left-back. He nutmegged him and scored a wonderful goal from 30 yards out. I would love him to save me a place in his team – George Best that is, not God.”
Chudi | The Busby Way: George Best was way before my time so my memories of him sadly aren’t footballing ones I remember George Best from Sky Sports ‘Soccer Saturday’ and looking back at it now the way in which all though he was ribbed like everyone he was also revered gives you an inkling of how high the panel thought of him. Looking back at footage, he looks an artisan, magical with the ball and perhaps beyond a fully fit Rooney, the kind of player we lack now.
Sadly a lot of younger fans/people will remember George for the champagne lifestyle as that’s the kind of thing that is hyped these days amongst people of my generation but the thing to remember is, without the tremendous talent that he had, it wouldn’t have been possible.
Doron | Stretford-End: Being a mere 22 years of age, my memories of Best The Footballer come from endless VHS, DVD and YouTube watching. Quite simply he was a genius. A man playing football in the 60s but in the style of players in the 90s and beyond. Best would have stood out in any era.
I’ll always feel guilty that there was nothing I could do to help his fight against his addiction to alcohol. Seeing the old footage of his playboy lifestyle I find myself wanting to step in and tell him how it’ll impact upon his life. Quite rightly though, George will always be remembered for his footballing talents. I find it bizarre that when people name the greatest players of all time, so often he is a side thought – for me, he’s one of the first names I think of.
His place in Manchester United history is secure; we must make sure we always teach the younger generations about the legend of George Best.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: I was unfortunately never lucky enough to see Best play, but from the videos that I have seen of him, i know I missed watching a Maestro at his best. Though his off field activities did take up a lot of press, everyone will remember Best for what he did on the pitch, and that was just being almost magical. Best is easily amongst the greatest players ever to play United, and I don’t think anything I say can describe how great a player he was, his skill and ability will go unmatched even today.
TG | ManUtd24: Was there ever a more aptly-named player, other than, of course, Danny Shittu or Robbie Savage? Bestie played long before I ever existed but, having watched numerous amounts of footage of him, I can see why people give him legendary status. The man had it all – the money, the girls, the attention but his late death was tragic and a sad time for us all. However, it’s was his football that should be talked about rather than his boozy lifestyle; and, heck, he was definitely above the rest.
Alan |RedForceRising: “In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life” – George Best
The man was an utter legend on and off the pitch. Everything he did was extravagant and extraordinary. People will talk about all his attributes, but the two main aspects which always have me in awe are his balance and ability to run past players as if they weren’t there. Almost every highlight reel of Best will show some poor schmuck of a defender lunging into a last-ditch tackle and sometimes they even managed to connect. It didn’t matter – all George had to do was adjust his body slightly and off he went to score yet another goal. I’ve watched countless documentaries on this legend and he was awe-inspiring. I literally watch with an open, gaping mouth. It seems physically impossible how he managed to ride those challenges and stay on his feet.
The other great aspect of his game was Bestie’s ability to weave past players – nothing less than extraordinary! A swivel of the hips here, a shuffle of the feet there and he was away, gliding past one, two, three, four defenders and then refusing to pass to an open team mate, because he knew he would score. And he did.
At times he would be marked by two players and just had to fake one way, then the other and then just ran in between the two. Exquisite! There are few players in history who have played football that could inspire so much awe – Diego Maradonna, Messi, a young Ryan Giggs and as much as it pains me to say, the MasterCard man himself, Pele. Maradonna good. Pele better. George Best! Amen!
As per usual we decided to look at a non-United topic. Last year’s champions, Chelsea, have suffered a blip lately. Is this nerves, injuries or something else? We discuss what is going on at Stamford Bridge:
Chudi | The Busby Way: I won’t be shedding a tear for Chelsea, many of their problems at least off field are of their own doing. Wilkins was shown the door and whilst the official line is Arnesen stepped down I’m more inclined to believe he was forced out of the door. On field I have a touch more sympathy as they are missing important players but to be fair it happens to everyone. Nobody cried for us when we had all those defenders out last season so why should we care because they are missing Terry, Lampard etc. They sold off a number of team players in the summer Ballack, Deco, Carvalho etc I’m pretty sure they are ruing that decision now.
Doron | Stretford-End: I write this before Chelsea take on Newcastle this weekend. Their dip in form has coincided with injuries within the squad. This is no surprise to me. I highlighted pre-season that Chelsea’s squad is way too thin. They badly needed to bring in four or five players this summer, just for squad usage. It’s admirable that they are attempting to bring through youth but these are not the conditions to do so. One should never be forced into playing youth players because of injuries (unless it’s a huge crisis) – if that is the case then the squad is too thin – youth should be brought in transitionally so that there is less pressure on young players. I think Lampard’s influence is also being missed. I don’t like the guy but I have huge respect for him as a player – 142 goals in the past 7 seasons is just ridiculous, a measure of just how important he is to their cause.
Additionally, something clearly isn’t right at the club. First Wilkins leaves and now Arnesen is following him out the door – behind the scenes there has to be unrest. They’ll forever be obsessed by attempting to win the CL, but personally I feel that this year Chelsea won’t win anything and I can see some fans pressure being put on Abramovich to spend again or leave.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: Chelsea have gone from the best team in the Premiership and the unstoppable juggernauts to the other end in the matter of weeks, Chelsea’s so called unbeatable streak was more or less down to the weaker opposition they faced and the hype loving English Media, not surprising that they were the first to ditch them when they started to struggle!
As much as I hate Chelsea, I respect their manager and hopefully Carlo doesn’t get the sack just because they are facing a dip in form, the only reason they won the title last year was Carlo, and surely they won’t be stupid enough to let him go? They have just been missing fat Frank, and other key players off late and it would be silly to blame Ancelloti for it.
Kyle | Stretford-End: Something really strange is going on at Chelsea, and if I was a fan of the club I would start growing concerned. Ray Wilkins leaves under mysterious terms and now Frank Arnesen is apparently set to leave at the end of the season. All these changes in the back room are certainly not doing any favours for the club. It’s no coincidence that Chelsea’s dip in form has coincided with Wilkins’ departure.
The instability in the club’s staff isn’t solely to blame for the club’s recent struggles. Chelsea went into the season lacking depth. Carlo Ancelotti went into this campaign not even using all of their allotted squad places. Whether or not that was his choice is unknown, but I’m sure he’s hoping he had reinforcements right now. Some crucial injuries have occurred and the club has struggled to cope without adequate backups available. For years now United have been using their depth to push for honours on all fronts. Apparently that lesson never reached Stamford Bridge.
When Roman Abramovich first bought Chelsea, he was more than willing to splash the cash which led the club to their first title in 50 years. With the turn in the economy, the funds of suddenly vanished and it’s starting to show. The star signings that Chelsea were making five years ago are no more, and now it’s starting to show. The club is obviously still a title contender and I expect United to be doing battle with them until the very end, but there are certainly some growing problems at Stamford Bridge.
TG | ManUtd24: This is fun, eh? They’ve obviously suffered with many key players missing. I think they’ll lose more as the season progresses but will still be the biggest threat to the championship race. Although, I wouldn’t want to get too excited. Knowing Chelsea, one result and everything clicks back and normal service is resumed. This season will be tight; and don’t be surprised if it goes to the very last day of the season again.
Alan | RedForceRising: I’ve had a fair few run-ins with neutrals and Chelsea fans about the depth of their squad and their title chances. Chelsea are seen as the main title contenders this season and rightly so, but when neutrals, Chelsea fans and even pundits proclaimed two months ago (late September FFS!) that Chel$ki were going to run away with title, my feathers got ruffled. Chelsea no longer have the quality in depth they once had and some people simply refuse to acknowledge that, but if you need to player Didier Drogba when he’s still battling Malaria, that should be telling you something.
To understand why Chelsea were relatively frugal in the transfer market, you need to read this article on Chelsea’s academy.
The way I see it, Abramovic feels he’s splashed enough cash already and from the moment he took over at the club, he put a lot of resources into Chelsea’s academy and it’s time for the academy to start repaying those efforts. This might also partly explain why Frank Arnesen is set to leave at the end of the season. He has served his purpose as Chelsea’s sporting director and is no longer required.
Roman will also be acutely aware of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations and if they are to comply with that, they’ll need to supplement their high-salaried stars with talented youngsters, who cost significantly less.
It has been particularly pleasing to see Chelsea falter recently; losing two matches in a row for the first time in something like 166 matches and in doing so have proved me right. Nobody “runs away with title” in late September and people are currently under-estimating this United team, because we didn’t sign big-name players in the summer. Watch this space.
Their dip in form won’t last forever but clearly something isn’t right in SW London.
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