In 1961 George Best, a shy well-mannered Belfast teenager, was recruited by Manchester United to become what Pelé would call “the greatest player in the world”. A devilishly charismatic figure, Best achieved celebrity status early. His football was transcendent (playing for Northern Ireland, becoming European Footballer of the Year, and helping United win the European Cup), and his life was filled with glamorous women, fancy cars and forays into the world of fashion. But a pattern of self-destructive behaviour began prompting an inglorious departure from United and a decades-long alcoholic spiral to his death from liver failure in 2005 – newsworthy to the end.
Daniel Gordon assembles a dynamic range of interviews with teammates, girlfriends and wives and an astonishing wealth of archive to capture the excitement of Best’s rise to fame and to reveal new perspectives on the tragedy of his demise.
Notes by Sunniva O’ Flynn