Maximum Impact 09.12.05
09 December 2005
Former News of the World editor turned PR man Phil Hall created and staged a highly original and moving tribute to George Best for West Ham, prior to their home game with Manchester United.
Tributes before the game from Hammers legend Trevor Brooking guaranteed all West Ham supporters listened in total silence. He was followed by Bobby Charlton, one of the few football legends who, like Brooking, is respected far and wide by all true fans of the game.
Then came one minute's applause as opposed to one minute's silence, a loud and moving demonstration of the respect for the incredible talent that George Best displayed on the pitch.
Original, emotional and so effective — well done Phil — I hope your West Ham clients appreciate it.
Talking of George, Carole Malone's comments were a breath of fresh air and reality in her Sunday Mirror column. Following days of totally over-the-top adoration from the media, which virtually elevated George to the status of sainthood, Carole put this true footballing genius into perspective. She said: "This national outpouring of grief for a wife-beating alcoholic who was 100 per cent responsible for his own death is frankly ridiculous."
"Like most alcoholics, Best was selfish, self-absorbed and didn't care enough about the people he loved to give up alcohol for them.
Yes it's sad when anyone dies — especially for the people who loved them — but to hail Best as a national hero is an insult to this country's REAL heroes."
Strong words indeed Carole, but so true. He was a great footballer, but never close to being a great man. In my view he wasn't fit to tie the shoe laces of another recently deceased footballer, Fulham and England great Johnny Haynes.
Also my congratulations to Simon Jordan (a client), Crystal Palace Football Club's outspoken chairman. He has, with absolutely no help from me, produced a consistently revealing and informative sports column in the Observer, working with a talented and understanding journalist, David Hill.
His column however has landed him in hot water with the FA due to damning, but constructive observations about the unacceptable inconsistencies of referees. He raised the important question: "Why aren't referees publicly accountable like the rest of us?"
On Wednesday he was called to account by the FA. Ian Wooldridge summed up how I feel about this whole matter in his column in Monday's Daily Mail: "Instead of hauling him over the carpet, why don't they bring out a few bottles of champagne and welcome him into the inner sanctum of an organisation whose timidity and prevarication requires a time bomb in its committee room to wake it up before the game lurches into financial jeopardy. Simon Jordan strikes me as just the man, he writes and talks more common sense than any football club chairman that I have ever read or heard."
But the FA and common sense have always seemed to me to be very distant relations.
Final congratulations go to former PR man, David Cameron, who as the new leader of the almost extinct Tory party will be trying to gain the trust and respect of the British public. Let's hope he has greater success in his new role than he did as mouthpiece for Carlton Television and Michael Green. Politicians deserve to be trusted as much PRs.
The fee for this column is donated to the Rhys Daniels Trust