Friday, November 17, 2006

The "little fat geezer" is dead

For people of 'a certain age' the notion that George Best was football's first superstar never really rang true. The fabulous Real Madrid side that slaughtered Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the European Cup Final in 1960 contained at least two genuine world class superstars. Alfredo di Stefano and the man who died this morning, Ferenc Puskas.

When the Hungarian side arrived at Wembley in 1953 to play an England side undefeated by continental opposition on their home soil, Malcolm Allison, Dave Sexton and a few of the young West Ham players went down to watch the Hungarians train. "Look at that little fat geezer" Sexton quoted Allison saying as they watched Puskas jog around, "we'll murder this lot."

Well, England were well and truly stuffed 6-3. One of the goals which I'm sure will feature in the tributes came about when the "little fat geezer" put his foot on the ball in the six yard box, tempted England golden boy Billy Wright into a sliding lunge, dragged the ball back with the sole of his foot as Wright went sliding by, "like a fire engine going to the wrong fire" according to sports journalist Geoffrey Greene, before calmly turning the ball in to the net .