UTD Podcast: Thornley treasures Best comparison
To be compared with George Best is an honour few footballers are lucky enough to experience. But it's even rarer to be likened to the great Northern Irishman by one of his Manchester United team-mates, a World Cup winner no less.
“That only actually came out when I was doing the autobiography [Tackled: The Class of '92 Star Who Never Got to Graduate],”he revealed.
“It was a friend of mine whose father was sitting on a table with Nobby Stiles and Sir Matt Busby at a pub in Sale called The Brook.
“He was quite a regular eating with these guys, and on this particular occasion Nobby Stiles was there with Sir Matt and a couple of other dignitaries from Manchester United. And my friend’s dad happened to be on the same table.”
“I scored a goal in the Milk Cup, in one of the group games against Hearts, who we actually went on to beat in the final,”continued the 45-year-old.
“I picked up the ball inside my own half and beat five or six players and slotted the ball home. Maybe it was that goal which had stuck in Nobby’s mind.“
“If I’d have heard that quote back then in the day, then I probably would feel extremely embarrassed, because obviously it [my career] never got anywhere close to being that [comparable with Best's achievements].
“There are so many people who would say, 'He would have done this, and he would have done that'. The bottom line is that I didn’t,”he admits.
“Coming from Nobby Stiles, who won the European Cup, he was a World Cup-winner... that, for me, is something that I will treasure and I will take with me for a long time. To be likened to someone like George Best is brilliant.
“Obviously he [Stiles] would have seen him [George Best] first hand. I mean George Best, I never obviously got the privilege of seeing him live, but his balance, and his trickery and his footwork, he was superb. So, even for me to be likened to him for one occasion is something that I will treasure.”
The new episode of UTD Podcast, featuring Ben Thornley, is available on Deezer and other podcast providers this Monday evening. To find previous editions, plus video clips from the recording sessions, head to www.manutd.com/podcast.