George Best At Hibs

… is the subtitle of When George Came To Edinburgh, John Neil Munro’s thoroughly enjoyable account of George Best’s brief spell playing for Hibs.

Munro has researched his subject well and as a result paints a moving picture of a supremely talented footballer who, by the time of his arrival at Easter Road, is in decline. Best still possesses great vision, technique and ability but lacks the fitness and speed to turn these to Hibs’ advantage. He is also weighed down by his ongoing battle with alcoholism, evident in his failure to show up on various occasions and actually being drunk on others. All this means that Best’s time at Hibs was less successful than it could have been – even if he was 33 when he went to play there.

I was not as much into football in the late 70s as I am now and, whilst I was obviously aware of George Best back then, I have to confess that I didn’t pay that much attention to his presence in Scotland. Basically, if it didn’t involve either Celtic or the Scottish national side, I wasn’t interested. Now I can’t get enough of the game and so it was a nice surprise to receive this book as a Christmas present. It has also proved to be a very worthwhile read. I particularly liked the final chapter in which the author has gathered together a series of recollections of Best as recounted by those who knew him. These vignettes serve to show what a likeable and decent guy he was and how it is therefore even more of a shame that he seemed such a lonely figure despite his popularity.

As I said at the start of this post When George Came To Edinburgh is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is also very informative and well written. I recommend it to one and all.

I note that John Neil Munro has also written books about Alex Harvey (The Sensational one) and John Martyn (the singer/songwriter) and will look forward to reading those at a later date.

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