Remembering Georgie Best

Remembering Georgie Best

Remembering Georgie Best

A Poem by Simon Williams

My dad never held me as a child

In all the family photo’s it’s Mum holding me

Dad with his arm around her looking on

In one picture he’s looking down at me

I’m tiny just a few days old

With an expression of utter wonder

But always Mum holding, always Dad looking

I loved my Dad

I know you’re supposed to, he’s your Dad

But I would have anyway

He was a large quiet man with large quiet hands

A seemingly bottomless well of patience

And a slow considered way of speaking

Which made people want to listen

He’d come home from work and pick Mum up

Swinging her around and nuzzling her neck

So that she’d go red, squeal and giggle

He’d wink at me over her shoulder

And sometimes on his way to clean up for dinner

He’d ruffle my hair as he passed

But Dad never held me as a child

He took me to the football

I wasn’t really interested in football

But it was the first thing we’d done together just us

So I went along quite happily

It was full of more large men in large scratchy coats

Smelling of cigarettes and beer 

And inexplicably when it rained of wet dog

Then our team scored and the magic happened

My dad held me

He threw his arms around me and swung me around

Not playfully like he did with Mum

But wildly his face alight with a kind of primal joy

Thumping me on the back and howling

All the while jumping up and down

After that I loved football

Every goal was like a sacrament

Some lean seasons coming around about as often as holy days

Or so it seemed to me

As I grew older and Dad grew smaller

There was less lifting and swinging

But the hugs and pats and untrammelled joy never lessened

After I left home and moved away

Watching my football in foreign parts among strangers

Each goal still lifted my heart a little even on the darkest days

Like a phantom hug from a distant father

And when I was home for Christmas we’d head down to the crumbling church

With its concrete pews surrounding it’s muddy rectangular altar

And renew our vows the only way we knew how

I loved my Dad and he loved me and I love football

For allowing that love a physical expression

I might otherwise have never known

Toward the end when Dad didn’t remember me

He could still remember George Best and I didn’t mind

He used to say that he was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen

Apart from my Mum

I loved my Dad and he loved me

But I’ll hold my son every chance I get

And tell him he’s loved to the point where it’s embarrassing

I’ll take him to the football when he’s old enough

And the hugs might be a little bit harder

When we’ve just scored a goal

And his Grandad joins in



He is Beautiful Like a Rainbow

He is Beautiful Like a Rainbow