FLEETWOOD Town employee Phil Collier is enjoying seeing an ever-improving calibre of player walk through the gates of Highbury...
Although he doesn’t expect he’ll ever see another in the class of the man he has devoted much of his life to researching and writing about.
Phil is a renowned authority on the great George Best and his new book on one of football’s true immortals has been published this month.
Released almost exactly seven years after Best’s death at the age of 59, ‘Remember Me For My Football: The Complete Playing Career of George Best’ is literary heaven for the footballing statistician, as the title would suggest.
Co-written with Phil Hughes, Best’s agent for 20 years, Collier’s paperback covers every match of the Northern Irishman’s career, from the juniors at Manchester United, through the Old Trafford glory years, to his stints with Stockport, Fulham, Hibernian, Bournemouth as well as various stints overseas, including the USA, Hong Kong and finally Australia.
Even testimonials and charity matches are featured.
As the Cod Army has grown, so has Thornton-based 51-year-old Collier’s role at the club.
Programme distribution and stadium tours are among the areas which now come under his wing, but he still finds time to indulge his foremost football passion.
Phil reckons he met Best “eight or nine” times, having first made his name as an expert on the Belfast boy through his writing for football programmes and fanzines.
After his involvement in Best’s autobiography, ‘Blessed’, Phil was invited to work on its follow-up, ‘Scoring at Half-time’. He was consulted for an Irish TV documentary on Best and for the This Is Your Life episode dedicated to him.
Stories of Best continue to circulate worldwide, though perhaps as many about his exploits off the field as on it.
It is this record which Collier is determined to put straight in the new book which focuses exclusively and exhaustively on Best’s playing career. And that’s exactly, Phil is convinced, what the man himself would have wanted.
Collier recalls: “When I first met George in 1985, I spent three hours with him in a hotel and not a drop of alcohol passed his lips. There was so much more to George than the popular image would suggest, as I hope people will realise on reading the book.”
‘Remember Me For My Football’ is available now in all good bookshops, priced £9.99 and published by The Bluecoat Press.