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PAT'S TRIBUTE TO BEST

Posted on 28 November 2005  - 12:00

Spurs and Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings has paid tribute to his friend and former team-mate George Best, who sadly passed away on Friday afternoon.

Spurs and Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings has paid tribute to his friend and former team-mate George Best, who sadly passed away on Friday afternoon.

Best, one of the most gifted and famous footballers ever, died at Cromwell Hospital in west London at the age of 59.

He had had multiple organ failure after a lung infection he developed last week led to internal bleeding. He was initially admitted to hospital with a kidney infection in early October.

The winger made his debut aged 17 in 1963 and helped Manchester United to the European Cup in 1968 in the team managed by Sir Matt Busby that included fellow greats Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.

Pat won 119 caps for Northern Ireland between 1964-1986, many alongside Best, who represented his country 39 times.

Still our goalkeeping consultant and out in his kit at Spurs Lodge, Pat, now 60, said: "As a footballer, no-one could touch George. He had everything.

I'll always remember him because we made our Northern Ireland debuts together against Wales at Swansea back in 1964 - I think Cliff Jones played in that game as well for Wales

"What people don't realise is that he was a box to box player, not just a winger or the great entertainer. That is what set him apart from other greats, his work rate and willingness to chase back, to dig in when it was needed.

"The other thing was that you couldn't kick him off the ball or bully him out of a game. In fact, he thrived on that. He would always come back when I had the ball and say 'give it to me' and then go and beat the defenders who were trying to kick him - it was his way of making them feel smaller.

"The great shame was that he didn't grace the World Cup Finals and I thought that at the time during the tournaments in 1982 and 1986. He deserved that stage."

We asked Pat two final questions. How would he remember George? "As the same George Best I met all those years ago, the same George who I made my debut alongside in 1964. He never changed in my eyes, he was always a great mate."

And lastly, how would the football world remember him? "As one of the greatest ever."

Head Coach Martin jol added: "He was one the best talents ever, one of those special players who could beat three or four people. There have only ever been a few players like him and it's a big loss for football."