Around this time of year, if you’re like me, you’re waiting eagerly for a wee bearded man dressed in red trimmed with white, hailing from the grim North - who weaves his special wee bit of magic - George Best, no less..
I have to thank my Derry namesake over here in the arse-end of France, Brian, for this one. Brian, in turn, got it from some heads at the Guardian who appear to be paid to find rubbish for us to look at on YouTube (now there’s a job I’ve got time and the intellectual baggage for!!!). Not that the below film clip is rubbish. It is a 10 minute extract from a feature length film by German avant garde filmmaker Hellmuth Costard entitled ‘Fußball wie noch nie’ - something along the lines of ‘Football as you’ve never seen it before’ :
According from the lads from The Guardian :
In 1970 the German avant garde director Hellmuth Costard made a film focusing entirely on George Best’s performance for Manchester United against Coventry. Here’s an extract which begins with a lingering look at Best’s face and culminates with him scoring. Think this is weird? Colthard’s previous film is an hour-long portrait of a hausfrau, played by a man, as she goes about her/his business in the kitchen.
Evidently, Freddie Mercury had the good sense to distill the latter-mentioned film down to the 5 minutes or so of the video of ‘I Want To Break Free’. Costard’s ‘Best’ film reminds me of that recent effort ‘Zidane, a 21st Century Idol’ or whatever - although I find watching a September afternoon in the mud in Manchester a great deal more appealing than watching even such a great player in the corporate hell of the Bernabau in the more recent past.
It is probably the best surviving footage of Best the player (in terms of picture quality) and is an altogether fascinating piece of film - even over this 10 minute extract. The first thing we notice watching is the chasm in fitness levels between then and now - Best spends most of the clip at a stroll. When he bursts into life, however, he manages to score one and provide an ‘assist’ to Bobby Charlton. The ‘warmth’ of the goal celebration between himself and Charlton is hilarious to watch - and says volumes about the mutual detestation between the two men.
A wonderful visual (and audio) document of early 70s footbah in any case. Touching to see Best just as his roller-coaster is about to plunge (or is it already plunging ?). Then there’s the music - could the Weddoes have possibly done better ??