Pseuds regulars offer their take on the best five British footballers of the last 50 years
Mackay, Charles, Giggs, Southall. and Roberston. The five greatest British players ever?
No reputations were seriously hurt in the making of this list – but some might be a little bruised. So to try and ease some Arnica into any growing purple patches, here are some of the people who have a good case to be on that list, but for one reason or another are not.
For the second time in as many weeks Bobby Charlton has missed out on a list of the top British footballers of the last 50 years. This feels a little unfair – but given he is the only Brit one universally acclaimed as one of the greatest ever he should get over it. Why was he missing? Simply because none of us knew exactly WHY he was seen as a legend – apart from a decent effort against Mexico.
Dennis Law is equally absent from both lists. If it makes his supporters feel any better – I rate him higher than Best. A supreme No 10, scored more in fewer games than Best, a greater success in Italy than Rush, but hopes dashed on the shores of peerless competition.
Jimmy Johnston is the player I most regret leaving out – as good as Garrincha to many. The man to first unlock Inter and Herrer's cattenacio and proving in the process that even a bent ref can be overcome if you are good enough (Pele later re-enforced did in Escape to Victory). I will let the pictures talk for me.
Peter Shilton took Forrest to two European Cups and the League in their first season in the top flight. As well as picking up 125 England caps, more than 1,000 league appearances and scoring 1 goal. He ruled himself out when arguing Banks was better (something I dispute) and as second to Banks (who appears on the other list) he didn't make it either.
I'm sure people will disagree here - but Jimmy Greaves was the greatest British goalscorer of the last 50 years. An incredible strike rate of 422 goals in 604 top class games (plus another 44 in 57 for England) - Scored in every debut he made at every level of every club he played for - and a grace and poise with the ball at all times. And it's not like he was simply an in-the-box player either - balance, speed, he could score overheads (as he did as part of his hat-trick on his Spurs debut) and dribble as well as almost any. If he had played and scored in the '66 final he might be rated above Best - but he didn't. And he isn't John Charles. So he misses out.
Alan Hanson's reading of the game, positioning, and organisation in defence served to make Liverpool both hard to break down and impossible to win the ball from. He also won every single club honur twice - he retired as the most decorated player in British history (to be overtaken by Giggs).
Oh, and check this out for Greaves, Mackay, and Johnny Haynes (who is a close outsider on many of these lists) and British football at its best.