A SONG FOR GEORGE BEST
George Best died, 25th Nov 2005. He'd been with me since childhood, a sparkling, spectacular Peter Pan, rocketing to celestial fame above our grey Belfast streets, thriling us with skills never before seen in football.
Instantly he became my boyhood hero. We all wanted to be like George, to play like him, to look like him. We wore special edition George Best football boots, held our jersey sleeves down over our wrists, kicked with an exaggerated body swerve. There's an old black and white photo of me and my mate, Liam, holding a football, trying to out-do each other in that George look.
We loved George. I only realised how much, when on December 3rd 2005, as his funeral cortege passed through the gates of Roselawn Cemetery, I cried like I'd lost a brother. I was devastated; as if something had been ripped out of me, and only an aching emptiness remained.
I went into a room, wrote a song, a simple song, 'Beautiful Feet' for the world's greatest footballer.
There were a lot of tears that day, not just in my home, not just in Belfast, but all over the world: for George's final homecoming had become Belfast's JFK moment; one of those rare occasions when the world seems small, when people are drawn together through grief at the passing of a hero, for the joy that person gave them, in celebration of that person's life. When you've lived through a moment like that, you'll never forget it.
I tried to capture George's moment in song. I believe I did.
And as the gates of Roselawn closed behind George, a strange, warm sadness seemed to wrap itself around Belfast like a favourite scarf, and I realised that George, in his final moment, had achieved what legions of politicians, strategists, and public figures had for years failed to achieve – he truly had united a city divided.
Three versions of 'Beautiful Feet', Starjets Style, Acoustic, Instrumental are available on iTunes.
10th anniversary 3 track CD 'Ten Years Gone' is available by emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Profits from sales will be donated to the George Best Appeal at the Liver Research Foundation