Would George Best be as successful in today's football game?

Would George Best be as successful in today's football game?

The Magic of George Best

Look, if we're going to chat about George Best, we can't do without a quick trip down memory lane. By the way, I'm talking about the Northern Irish football player here, not your mate George who always hogged the best seat in the pub. Best was an intoxicating mix of agility, lightning speed, precision, drinking skills... oh wait, scratch that last one, wrong list. We all remember Best’s jaw-dropping left foot which left defenders befuddled, and goalkeepers googling “how to stop a meteor with just hands.”

Advancements in Modern Football

While we can venerate the past, football today is a different beast. It's not just the case of juggling balls on a muddy field, and if you didn't return home splattered in mud, you hadn't played at all. It's way more strategic now. Coaches have realised they’ve actually got to coach, players are so fit you could grate cheese on their abs and the pitches are so perfect you can roll a putt on them. Plus, you've got VAR now which is a bit like having an over fussy schoolteacher reminding you that you can't just create your own rules. Breaking away from tradition, I suppose, isn't that what every generation claims?

The Impact of Training and Fitness Levels

Whilst George Best was a player with a body and skills that were ahead of his time, the current crop of footballers are extraordinary specimens. They're chiseled to physical perfection, trained in the art of football from a young age and scrutinised on their diet and fitness levels enough to make my wife's going-to-the-gym-once-a-week idea look laughable. Mind you, the thought of me reaching their level of fitness is funnier than watching my mate trying to play pool after his 5th pint.

Style of Play

The way football is played now is different too. The beautiful game has become less about dazzling individual performances and more about carefully orchestrated team play. Now, this doesn’t mean we don't have room for maestros, the Ronaldos, the Messis, and the Neymars are doing just fine. But today, if you don’t track back, defend as a team, you’re going to be watching a lot more football than you’re playing. And that's not how Bests' did his thing. His idea of team play, was to give the ball to him and watch the fireworks.

Where Would He Fit?

The question that's burbling at the back of our minds is, where would Best fit into modern football? As a winger? A playmaker? In the pub?! It's easy for us to suggest that he'd struggle, that he'd be a fish out of water, or that he'd have issues with the discipline required. But let's ease our foot off the cynics' pedal for a moment. Picture George Best with modern football coaching methods, dietary plans, and training techniques; it's hardly a stretch, like seeing your dad in skinny jeans, to suggest Best could be even better.

Evolving Roles on the Pitch

Let’s face it, positions in football aren't carved in stone anymore. We’ve got false nines, inverted wingers, box-to-box midfielders, playing roles unheard of during Best's time. Would a modern-era George Best be playing these roles, or would he be inventing his own? Wouldn't it be exciting to see him play, creating chaos in the beautiful game, like when my son Heston plays a mean game of hide and seek in the supermarket ruining my peaceful grocery shopping but giving me a mini-heart attack every time around?

The Influence of Money

Football now is not just a game but a global commerce juggernaut. Would Best, with his party-boy image have been a commercial hit or sunk under the glare and pressure of money-spinning sponsorship deals, media appearances, and public expectations? Unlike you and me, these footballers don't get to loosen their tie, kick off their shoes and relax on the weekend. They have cameras following their every move, tweets dissecting their every word, and more stats than a math nerd.

The Final Whistle

So, would George Best be successful in today's football? It's akin to asking if a Koala would make a great house pet. Sure, it would be amazing to have, to watch... but maybe, just maybe, it's better off in the wild, munching eucalyptus and looking cute. And George Best? Oh, he would still be marvellous to watch, terrorizing defenders, scoring outrageous goals, and living his life. Perhaps modern football might've been a bit restrictive for George's reign of beautiful chaos. But it's football; it's unscripted, unpredictable featuring amazing tales from the phoenix rising out of the ashes to the downfall of the best. And that is why we love it.