|© Graham Lester George|
When Graham Lester George showed me the photograph (above) that he'd taken in London in the early 1970s, I was transported back to a world when, for just a handful of years, football was about the only thing I thought about: playing it, watching it on our new Radio Rentals colour telly, collecting and swapping bubblegum cards, plastering my bedroom walls with pictures of George Best. And dreaming that one day I'd emerge from the tunnel at Wembley, ball under my arm, leading out the national side. Alas, those dreams turned to nought - I didn't even make the trials for Hull City.
The image captures a bunch of street urchins who, quite clearly, have sworn their allegiance to Arsenal. The lad with the mop of long hair looking at the camera probably thinks he's Charlie George. Or Peter Marinello. Marinello was a Scottish George Best: George Best lite. He couldn't pull the same class of birds as Bestie and certainly couldn't find the back of the net as often as his Norther Irish counterpart. But he had a bloody good go at it. He certainly could put away the drink like Best. However, his troubles didn't stop with the booze. Marinello's story, complete with gangsters and shooters, plays out more like The Sweeney than Match of the Day and, as a result of seeing Graham's excellent photograph, I picked up Marinello's warts and all autobiography, 'Fallen Idle', from Amazon. I've just read the dust jacket - 'I squandered my talent. I pissed most of it up against the wall. I'm the guy who wrote the manual of How Not To Do It.' That's tomorrow's train journey to Manchester sorted then.
Graham's photographs are available here