Saturday, December 03, 2005

Best's Final Journey

I have the TV playing in the background showing live pictures from the Cregagh Estate as the funeral procession of George Best prepares to pass through thousands of mourners to Stormont. Already in scenes reminiscent of Diana flowers are being thrown from the masses unto the hearse in what is the biggest funeral in Northern Irish history.

The location of the funeral service is somewhere I used to walk to during my lunch breaks from one of the government departments just off the estate. It's at the top of a mile long wide avenue that leads up to Parliament Buildings and will undoubtedly provide exception pictures of crowds later on today as the masses stand either side of Prince of Wales Avenue watching the service on big screens.

Best marks a period of Northern Ireland football history where the fans did not care which side of the community the players came from, it wasa form of escapism. Sadly for the last few years Neil Lennon has been hounded out of the Northern Ireland team by sectarianism. Best debuted alongside Pat Jennings, two young lads from different sides of the community who both enter the hearts of al football fans in the province.

It is a shame that in relative peace the national football team has become a target of sectarianims, while at the heights of the troubles it was one thing we could agree upon, largely.

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