George Best: All by Himself


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George Best: All by Himself

Documentary exploring the remarkable life of the footballer George Best, charting how a reserved young prodigy from Northern Ireland became a global superstar.


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George Best is through.

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He goes round Enrique. He must score.

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And the crowd rising to Best.

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Here comes Best again.

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-What a player this boy is. He's got another!

-What a...

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I'm taking my new baby for a check-up.

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It's raining and it's miserable.

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It's like a movie.

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The windscreen wipers are going and I'm really happy

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because I've got my little baby next to me...

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..and I see this man walking down the centre of the road,

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down the yellow lines.

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And this poor man is all hunched over, soaking wet and I think, oh,

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my God, that poor homeless tramp.

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Then I realise it's my husband.

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Drunk as a skunk, walking down the road, soaking wet,

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obviously staggering home,

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and I just keep driving.

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Taking my baby to the doctor.

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I'm done. I'm done.

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He was out of reach in so many ways.

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Out of reach of not just his mates who wanted to help,

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and perhaps tried to. Out of reach of defenders, of coaches,

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of his ladies, of his wife.

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A true story of Shakespearean tragedy.

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Sad, isn't it? When somebody sabotages themselves, really.

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I think he was a victim of his excess.

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For a time there, he was the best player in the world.

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You can't describe the feeling.

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You know, this little skinny 15-year-old kid from Belfast

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has been invited to one of the biggest clubs in the world

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for a trial.

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The furthest I think I'd ever been out of Belfast was to Bangor,

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which was about 15 miles down the road.

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I just seen him going out of my life into a country

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that he knew nothing about.

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Wondered what he would do because of him being so shy and backward.

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He was very frail.

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I went off with Eric McMordie, another young lad.

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Because it was such a footballing city,

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I'd heard about him before I'd actually seen him.

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His reputation then was already growing.

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Manchester United, the name itself is frightening.

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The first thing that struck me was the size of everybody.

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We were two little kids, but when we looked at people like Harry Gregg,

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he looked like a monster to us.

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George went very quiet and I said to him, George,

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how did you feel, type of thing, and before he could answer I thought I'd

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better tell him and be honest with him exactly how I felt.

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He just said to me, 'Do you want to go home?'

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You know, we'd been there half a day or something.

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He said, I think I'd be better going home as well, Eric.

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We decided yeah, we didn't want to be away from home, and really,

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we didn't think we were going to make it.

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I think it was just the fact the two of us hadn't been very far

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in life, really, and found it extremely difficult.

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It's very, very hard for kids at 14 or 15 to leave home

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and not have their parents to turn to and ask advice from.

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When I came home, my brothers happened to say to me,

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"You've given one of the best opportunities of your life up."

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We all make mistakes in life and that was a mistake, a great mistake.

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On the fringe of a Munich airport lies the wreckage of an airliner.

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Still smouldering from a crash in which 21 people were killed.

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Tragedy enough at any time,

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but in that plane were a group of young men

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who were almost the personal friends of millions.

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Manchester United,

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the finest soccer team Britain has produced since the war.

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I was playing with Celtic then.

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I was only a kid on the reserve team.

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I remember going training on a Thursday night.

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It was only when we got to Celtic Park that we realised

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the number of players that more or less were dead

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and some of them that were near death.

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That's like the John Kennedy assassination.

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Everybody remembers that date

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and everyone remembers the date of Munich.

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Here is the news.

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The aircraft is a twin-engined Elizabethan on charter from BEA.

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It was returning from Belgrade,

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where Manchester United had entered the semifinal of the European Cup.

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Manchester United was the big name that everybody knew because of this

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European Cup, that had come into being at that time.

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Next to the World Cup, this was THE competition to be in.

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Manchester, from the moment the news came through,

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was a city in mourning.

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It was as though every family in a city

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of three quarters of a million people had suffered a personal loss.

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It was of such epic proportions at that time.

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What, 23 died?

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To me, they were everything.

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I mean, because they were a young side,

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most teams were full of old men.

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These were blokes who could've been my older brother.

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Matt Busby was their worst problem.

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For two days he lay between life and death with one of his lungs

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completely deflated. Then came the welcome news,

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Matt was off the danger list.

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I knew something terrible had happened.

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My wife was there.

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I said to her, you have to tell me what has happened.

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So when I went through the names,

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she either nodded her head or tossed her head like that.

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One really has to think football's going to go on,

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the club is going to manage.

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There are certain players that we know are survivors

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and I think with the help of a lot of the young fellows

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they have at Manchester United, then this Manchester United team

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will build itself again.

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I have lovely memories of home.

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We were never well off and I was the first of six, eventually.

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My father was an iron turner in the shipyards.

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My mother always had part-time jobs.

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She worked in an ice cream factory, a cigarette factory, anything,

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just to bring a few extra bob in.

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The sports freak in the family really was my mother.

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She was a hockey player.

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A very, very good hockey player and actually represented her country.

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I remember as a young kid, I used to go and watch her play.

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He walked before he was ten months old and he always had the ball,

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even at ten months old.

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And ever from that, he's played it right from ten months.

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The living room, bedroom, any place at all.

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Took the ball to bed.

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My whole life revolved around football.

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When I got home, poor mum and dad,

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they thought I'd done something wrong.

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They couldn't understand why I'd come home after a day.

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I felt I'd let my mum and dad down,

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so they contacted the club and spoke to Sir Matt.

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Sir Matt said, we'd like him to come back and try again.

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I'd gone there just three years after Munich.

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No-one really talked about the air crash.

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It wasn't taboo.

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People that had been involved in it who were still at the club really

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didn't want to discuss it, which you can understand, really.

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It was only a couple of years after Munich that George arrived.

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My mum, a widow,

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she was talked into taking in footballers from Old Trafford.

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He was treated as a son.

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If he stepped out of line, I mean, she'd tell him, same as she tell me.

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She was a typical landlady, you know?

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She became my second mum, looked after me and tried to protect me

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as much as she could.

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You did your training and in the afternoons

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you were cleaning the boots of your heroes.

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It was exciting, it really was.

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I went to watch a youth match at Old Trafford one day

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and this kid's playing outside left for United

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and I'm sitting beside Jack Crompton,

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who was the first team trainer.

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I'm struck, you know, right?

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God Almighty, what's this?

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And I turned to Jack Crompton, I says, "Who's the kid?"

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"Oh, it's George Best. We're try to keep it quiet."

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We're trying to keep him quiet and let nobody know about him.

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I says, well, you're going to make a big mistake because everybody's seen

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him on the pitch. You've no chance.

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He's was just sensational.

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I'd never seen anything like him.

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And you know something? You never met a nicer lad.

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Quiet, wrote to his parents every week

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to tell them how things were going and all that.

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I got to know him exceptionally well, George, and what a lovely lad.

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In Northern Ireland is George Best,

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the Manchester United boy from Cregagh district of Belfast

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who has done so well since he went in the team.

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George, tell me about yourself.

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Well, I've always been interested in football

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since I was a youngster and the first I ever played

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was at Lisnasharragh school in the school's teams

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and I played for Cregagh Boys Club and a Manchester United scout

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seen me playing for Cregagh and invited me for trials

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with Manchester United.

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At first when I went over,

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I only stayed a couple of days and I was homesick and I came back home.

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But my father, he had a talk with Matt Busby,

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and they said they'd give me another chance,

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so I went back and stayed since then.

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This one particular day, it was my day off,

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it was a Wednesday and Wednesday morning

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I ended up going to a cafe called the Kardomah,

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and I noticed George Best sat on his own in a corner.

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He'd just come back from Belfast, where he'd been homesick.

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We were just two lads who were lost in a big city

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and we were a bit lonely and we just spoke to each other

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and we got on very well. We never spoke about football.

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The relationship that we had was very, very close.

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It really was about two young lads who were lost, really.

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Once he got over the shyness, he was one of the lads,

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like all the rest of us.

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We'd go to the pictures together.

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On a Sunday evening George would come along to bingo at the church

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and then we'd go out with my mum in the local pub

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and we were allowed a shandy each.

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In that early period, we were good boys.

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We'd be in bed for 11, 12 o'clock at night,

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after the dot on the television.

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I always remember coming home from work and my mum said,

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'You're not going to believe it'. So I said, 'What?'

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She said, 'George is playing today.'

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When I actually made my debut, I'd been playing in the A team,

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not even in the reserves,

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and I had no thoughts in my head that I was going to play.

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But Sir Matt said, "You're playing today, son,"

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and that was it.

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The funny thing, I wasn't nervous.

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I just couldn't wait to get out there.

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I was born with something and I didn't have to work very hard at it.

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If I was playing against a player in particular

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who was giving me a hard time and he was getting stuck in,

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I would stand on the ball and tell him to come and get it off me

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and the crowd went crazy, and I loved it.

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George became addicted to football.

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He spent every possible hour developing his abilities

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and just enjoying it, and almost having, one would imagine,

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transcendental experiences when he found what he could do

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on a football park.

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He put the ball through my leg, and he did it again.

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And he did it a third time.

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And I said,

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"Son, if you do that again, I'll break your bloody neck."

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Best.

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Oh, he's going to get number five.

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Yes!

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Beautiful football by George Best.

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The boy with the Beatle haircut.

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I'd only been away from Belfast for two years

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and I played for one of the greatest club sides of all time

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when I was 17.

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Best.

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There's more... And it's 3-0!

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And Manchester United just carving this Arsenal team apart.

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The times I saw him playing and I played against him,

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he was coming on the field pulling his socks up, doing his boots up.

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It was as if you were going home from school and you were just,

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you went in the house and put your other shoes on

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and took your uniform off and went out and played football.

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That's how he was. Perfect footballer.

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McCreadie.

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Best.

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And it's a magnificent goal.

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CROWD CHEER

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What a magnificent goal!

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Truly brilliant football by Best.

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Number 11.

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Sheer brilliant individual effort there by Best.

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There are boys that would come to this club from leaving school

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and you get a tremendous kick out of a boy coming,

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and eventually coming through and making himself a top-class player

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and, of course, you get a tremendous sense of seeing a boy achieving

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this, and you get a tremendous sense of achievement yourself.

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The affinity was a father and son affinity

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between George and Sir Matt.

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Sir Matt just loved him to bits.

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From the first time I met him, even though I was a kid,

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I knew I was in the presence of someone

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who was a little bit special.

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He became such an important figure because of the way he treated you

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and the way he wanted to play football.

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He wanted to play the way I think it should be played.

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We didn't really have team talks.

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He basically threw the ball to us and said, go out and enjoy yourself.

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And it really was just, sheer enjoyment.

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It's like being in control of anything,

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if you think you are the best at it,

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whether it's acting or singing or whatever,

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it's nice to go out there knowing or feeling

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that you are better than anyone else.

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From winning the Youth Cup in '64 and '65, the League.

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It seemed like it was never going to end.

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It was just getting better and better.

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Because of the Munich crash everyone at Old Trafford,

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particularly people who had been there during that time,

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their dream, of course, was to win the European Cup.

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That was the aim. From Munich, the aim was to win that cup,

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for the fans, the players, Matt Busby, everybody.

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It was Manchester United's obsession.

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We played the first leg and beat them 3-2 at Old Trafford

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and we'd gone there to play them.

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They hadn't lost for years and years at home.

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Benfica, playing all in white, kick off.

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Matt was always a great believer in, for the first 10-15 minutes

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of every game, just keep it tight,

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quieten the crowd

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because there'd be 100-odd thousand people at the game.

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Beautifully intercepted by Best.

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Great little player this boy is.

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Quieten the crowd and then start from there.

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Quick goal essential for Benfica

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if they want to get back into this game.

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Trail 3-2 from the first leg.

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Tony Dunne was our left-back and Tony wasn't the longest kicker

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of the ball you ever met in your life and George was outside

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and I said, "George, George, push over to that left-hand side.

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"Tony will never get it. He'll struggle to get it into the box."

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That was the free kick. Up goes Best, he scores!

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Best has got a goal for Manchester United!

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That was my genius.

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That's my claim to fame from now on.

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I made that first goal by telling George

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Tony couldn't kick it that far.

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After seven minutes played, Manchester United fans go mad.

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Best puts them in the lead.

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Georgie went daft!

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Incredible.

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Here comes Best again.

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What a player this boy is, he's got another!

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What a player!

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"Don't obey orders, George, do what you want to do."

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He was incredible.

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This is going to be a rout!

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The bigger the stage, the more I enjoyed it.

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It didn't get any bigger than Benfica.

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The control of this boy.

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It was 90 minutes of almost perfection.

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He just ran them ragged, won the game for them.

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The night George became a different person was the night

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that George scored two goals against Benfica.

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The fact that the child that the world hadn't really known about

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up to that time, on that night, became the legend

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that was George Best.

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Although George was the absolute star of that performance

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it wasn't enough to send Man United on their way

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to winning the European Cup.

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We beat Benfica 5-1, then we lost in the semifinal.

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That was a blow because we thought we were going to win it that year.

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But George was just sensational.

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You know when you go abroad sometimes and you do something daft,

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like if it's Spain, you buy a big hat as well.

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And he bought it for a laugh, George, more than anything.

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He didn't think for one minute it was going to be worldwide picture in

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the paper or anything like that.

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He just, for a laugh, wore this big sombrero.

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When George wore that thing, I remember saying, George,

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great people don't need gimmicks.

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In those days, footballers were always back page stuff.

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Front page, no.

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When George became the star that he was,

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he became the front page as well as the back page.

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He was capable of producing a remarkable performance

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against Benfica that had an accelerating effect

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on the granting of pop star status to George.

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He became a pop star footballer.

0:20:420:20:45

You got the Rolling Stones,

0:20:450:20:46

you got all the pop groups, but he was a footballer.

0:20:460:20:49

There was just something special about him.

0:20:490:20:51

It was like an Elvis Presley,

0:20:510:20:52

like a young Paul McCartney, where they just had that special look.

0:20:520:20:56

And I could understand why girls would be very much enamoured

0:20:560:20:59

with him, apart from him being the good-looking bastard he was.

0:20:590:21:04

Girls wouldn't leave him alone until they had a date with him.

0:21:050:21:08

Unfortunately, didn't last very long.

0:21:080:21:11

Not many relationships lasted very long with George.

0:21:110:21:13

I think so, yes. Weekends is...

0:21:260:21:28

Shut up!

0:21:280:21:30

That's your mates laughing at you.

0:21:300:21:32

Weekends is really the only time, you know, I can let go.

0:21:320:21:36

I was still only 19, and it became sort of total madness.

0:21:380:21:43

A lot of things happened to him,

0:21:430:21:45

that didn't happen to players before.

0:21:450:21:47

If that happened nowadays they would be clamping down on it

0:21:470:21:50

and trying to get help to the player.

0:21:500:21:52

George. Georgie.

0:21:520:21:54

Get out of the way, come on.

0:21:560:21:58

Maybe if his family had lived in England at that particular time,

0:21:580:22:01

I know Matt tried to get his family over but they wouldn't leave.

0:22:010:22:05

That must have been a difficult period of time. You're a single lad,

0:22:050:22:08

you can't go anywhere, the media are after you, women are chasing him,

0:22:080:22:11

all sorts of things. It must have been very difficult.

0:22:110:22:14

George, how did you get into this boutique business?

0:22:200:22:24

I used to get a bit fed up, in the afternoons, with nothing else to do.

0:22:240:22:28

I mean, once we finish training,

0:22:280:22:30

I was walking about town and I hadn't a clue what to do.

0:22:300:22:33

I was getting quite a bit of publicity so I thought,

0:22:330:22:36

try and put it to an advantage.

0:22:360:22:38

Does running two boutiques affect your football in any way?

0:22:380:22:41

Not really. I don't let anything interfere with

0:22:430:22:45

the football because it's put me where I am so

0:22:450:22:47

I can't really afford to let anything get in the way of it.

0:22:470:22:50

And you join us at Windsor Park,

0:22:520:22:53

Belfast, in perfect footballing weather as two teams,

0:22:530:22:57

Ireland and Scotland, come on side-by-side.

0:22:570:23:00

Georgie Best, one of the key men in the Irish side.

0:23:010:23:06

He could win the match on his own.

0:23:060:23:08

George became the first boy, basically,

0:23:080:23:10

who, what I call, was a superstar in football.

0:23:100:23:13

Best.

0:23:150:23:16

His nickname in the Ireland team was 007.

0:23:180:23:21

Because that's how he lived.

0:23:210:23:22

Best is the most dynamic marksman on the pitch today.

0:23:220:23:25

Everybody got on particularly well with him.

0:23:310:23:33

There was nothing where he thought he was better than anybody else.

0:23:330:23:37

Here he goes again.

0:23:370:23:38

I think that ball is tied to his feet.

0:23:400:23:44

The Ireland team in particular had wonderful, wonderful times.

0:23:440:23:47

George Best, the star of this game,

0:23:480:23:50

has turned in another brilliant performance.

0:23:500:23:53

The crowd rise to Ireland.

0:23:570:23:59

You're on!

0:24:330:24:34

You're on!

0:24:350:24:38

I still think he has enough sense, you know, to know what he's doing.

0:24:380:24:42

As I say, he's not a child any longer.

0:24:420:24:45

To me, now, he's a man, and I think he should have a bit of sense now.

0:24:450:24:49

A drink?

0:24:490:24:50

Anything?

0:24:510:24:53

What's anything?

0:24:530:24:54

What about girls, Mrs Best?

0:24:560:24:57

I just leave that up to the lad himself.

0:24:570:25:00

He must know the good girls from the bad ones, and I hope that he,

0:25:000:25:05

when he does decide to marry or take a girl,

0:25:050:25:08

only would be sensible enough to take one that can look after him.

0:25:080:25:12

Not one that's just wanting him for his looks, for his money,

0:25:120:25:16

because he has a name. I'd like to see him settling well

0:25:160:25:20

and making a real home for himself and a family,

0:25:200:25:24

what have you, you know?

0:25:240:25:26

But not one that's just after him for the name.

0:25:260:25:30

The very first time I met him was in a club in Manchester.

0:25:310:25:36

I mean, I knew who he was but to be honest,

0:25:360:25:41

I was living in London at that time and I was writing films

0:25:410:25:45

so I was involved in a completely different world.

0:25:450:25:47

He was gorgeous. You know, he was a sweet boy,

0:25:480:25:51

I thought.

0:25:510:25:52

We were very much in love.

0:25:540:25:56

George did talk about marriage to me but it was so early

0:25:560:25:58

in our relationship, we were still swinging from the chandeliers.

0:25:580:26:02

His football was the most important thing to him.

0:26:050:26:07

He loved his football, he loved to train, he loved to play,

0:26:070:26:10

he loved to show off. I mean, show off on the football field.

0:26:100:26:13

So that was his focus.

0:26:130:26:15

The rest of it was just a bit of fun and came naturally.

0:26:150:26:18

Do you think, in fact, George, if professional football came to an end

0:26:180:26:21

tomorrow you'd still want to play football seriously every week?

0:26:210:26:25

I'd still play it, I play for anybody.

0:26:250:26:27

And anyone that wanted me. I'd still play it.

0:26:270:26:29

You just think you couldn't live without it?

0:26:300:26:32

-I couldn't. It's impossible.

-Do you not feel on the other hand, Pat,

0:26:320:26:35

that there is a very real danger that when you finish with all this

0:26:350:26:39

tremendous drama of sport at this level, that the rest of your life is

0:26:390:26:43

-liable to be an anti-climax?

-I think it is hard to say

0:26:430:26:46

what the rest of your life is going to be like at the moment,

0:26:460:26:48

probably, at our stage,

0:26:480:26:50

but I think if you love football the way I love it, and I know George

0:26:500:26:53

loves it, it would be a terrible anti-climax.

0:26:530:26:55

I think most players dread the day

0:26:550:26:57

when you've got to hang up your boots. I know I will.

0:26:570:26:59

I'll go out and commit suicide, I think.

0:26:590:27:01

They wanted to win Europe.

0:27:060:27:07

We certainly believe we can win it in '68.

0:27:080:27:11

We nearly won it in '66, but we believed we could win it in '68.

0:27:110:27:15

We've got to win it this year.

0:27:150:27:16

That is bigger than any other trophy for us, Manchester United fans,

0:27:180:27:22

and the club, I think.

0:27:220:27:24

That was the goal.

0:27:250:27:26

Absolutely gorgeous day, a gorgeous evening.

0:27:280:27:31

100,000 expectant fans pack the stands to see great football.

0:27:310:27:36

The fact that it was at Wembley, yeah, was special anyway.

0:27:360:27:39

The first English side to get there, and after the Munich disaster.

0:27:400:27:44

Nobody mentioned Munich.

0:27:440:27:46

That never got a mention.

0:27:460:27:48

Lots of people were thinking about it, of course.

0:27:480:27:50

That would be on everybody's minds.

0:27:500:27:52

But nobody mentioned it.

0:27:520:27:54

Skipper Bobby Charlton,

0:27:540:27:55

and for manager Matt Busby this was the great occasion of their lives.

0:27:550:28:00

There's Eusebio.

0:28:000:28:02

Number seven. One man who just needs no identification.

0:28:030:28:08

George Best.

0:28:080:28:09

I've never known such tension in Wembley Stadium before.

0:28:110:28:15

This is a tremendous emotional occasion.

0:28:150:28:17

United, playing in blue, kick off.

0:28:190:28:21

George Best was in terrific form.

0:28:250:28:27

But so was Henrique.

0:28:270:28:29

What a tonic for the fans. United one up in the 55th minute.

0:28:570:29:00

One all, and time running out.

0:29:150:29:16

I don't know why, but we were so sure

0:29:160:29:18

of winning you wouldn't believe it.

0:29:180:29:19

Every one of us knew we were going to win the game.

0:29:190:29:22

Until the 91st minute when Alex made that save.

0:29:220:29:27

Eusebio! Oh, what a save by Stepney!

0:29:270:29:30

Eusebio, if you had given him the same chance 100 times

0:29:300:29:33

he would stick it away 99 times and, fortunately for us, he didn't.

0:29:330:29:38

90 minutes up, and still deadlock.

0:29:380:29:40

I think it woke us up a little bit. It gave us a little bit of a jolt.

0:29:400:29:43

And we thought we could have lost it.

0:29:430:29:45

I remember Matt getting us all down and talking to us.

0:29:470:29:52

"Don't give the ball away, because it's such a warm night.

0:29:520:29:55

"Don't give the ball away.

0:29:550:29:57

"They're a very tired team.

0:29:570:29:59

"In fact, all get up on your feet.

0:29:590:30:01

"You're not lying down. Get on your feet now.

0:30:010:30:03

"Look at them. They're shattered."

0:30:030:30:05

And so on into the first half of extra time.

0:30:050:30:08

Went into extra time and all of a sudden,

0:30:080:30:10

we did what all great sides can do.

0:30:100:30:12

We changed gear.

0:30:120:30:13

Shouldn't imagine that anyone will want to run about.

0:30:150:30:18

Over much time as extra time.

0:30:180:30:21

Sensible players will withhold, will conserve their energy.

0:30:230:30:26

Best. Oh, he's got a great chance!

0:30:350:30:37

Oh, he must!

0:30:370:30:38

I still have dreams about the split-second where everything

0:30:430:30:46

almost stood still.

0:30:460:30:48

100,000 people. I mean, I knew I was going to score,

0:30:480:30:50

but in that split-second between going past him

0:30:500:30:53

and it going into the net, something might go wrong.

0:30:530:30:55

A chance here for George Best. George Best is through.

0:30:550:30:58

He goes round Henrique. He must score, George Best must score!

0:30:580:31:01

George Best has scored!

0:31:010:31:03

Second minute of extra time,

0:31:030:31:06

George Best has put Manchester United into the lead.

0:31:060:31:09

He simply walked the ball into the net.

0:31:140:31:16

What a goal! United in the lead.

0:31:180:31:20

I was the first player that met him,

0:31:200:31:22

that crashed into him when we were, obviously, jumping up and down.

0:31:220:31:25

And then he scored the second goal, because we knew that was the winner.

0:31:250:31:28

We knew that was it.

0:31:280:31:29

The Busby Babes were raring to go.

0:31:290:31:32

They hammered Benfica.

0:31:320:31:33

Watch this fantastic goal.

0:31:360:31:38

But were United finished?

0:31:430:31:44

Not on your life.

0:31:440:31:46

Bobby Charlton made it 4-1.

0:31:460:31:48

Manchester United had well and truly done it.

0:31:510:31:53

They were supreme soccer champions of Europe.

0:31:530:31:55

We have achieved the ultimate.

0:32:020:32:04

We've won the big one. And did it the first time out as well.

0:32:040:32:08

My first hero.

0:32:080:32:10

I still see his face after the game.

0:32:110:32:13

At last Matt Busby, the maestro of Manchester United,

0:32:170:32:20

had groomed a team great enough to beat Europe's best.

0:32:200:32:23

How they cheered as Bobby Charlton led his men

0:32:260:32:28

up to receive the handsome, outsized trophy.

0:32:280:32:31

I can remember quite a lot of the games and incidents in the games.

0:32:450:32:48

I can't remember anything about after the game.

0:32:480:32:51

I don't know where we went to celebrate,

0:32:510:32:53

I don't know where I went. To this day I can't remember.

0:32:530:32:55

He always maintained to me that at the height of it all,

0:33:090:33:14

after he was in the shower after the European Cup final, he said,

0:33:140:33:16

"I immediately went on a downer,

0:33:160:33:18

because I thought I may never in my life ever experience this again."

0:33:180:33:22

He came probably about 11-ish or something.

0:33:250:33:27

He was a bit subdued.

0:33:280:33:30

It was so emotional for him and for Matt Busby

0:33:310:33:33

and for people like Bobby Charlton who had been on the plane,

0:33:330:33:36

you know, that crashed.

0:33:360:33:37

After all those setbacks and all those years that had passed,

0:33:370:33:40

and they finally, you know, got the Holy Grail or something, you know,

0:33:400:33:45

and then, yeah, and then what? I guess there must have been

0:33:450:33:49

a feeling of, "And now what?" You know.

0:33:490:33:52

For a man of 22 at the height of his powers,

0:33:550:33:58

to think that was as good as it gets,

0:33:580:34:00

there's something wrong with him.

0:34:000:34:02

BELLS PEAL

0:34:030:34:05

I met a young lady. I mean, she probably saved my life,

0:34:100:34:14

because, you know, she brought some stability to my life.

0:34:140:34:18

When he was my best man, he was absolutely marvellous.

0:34:210:34:24

He did everything perfectly.

0:34:240:34:26

He was brilliant. But Tina always said to me, she said,

0:34:260:34:30

"I could never imagine George being an old man, like you!"

0:34:300:34:33

May I have your autograph, please, Mr Best? I seen you on telly.

0:34:360:34:39

And I've seen you on telly. You're Aunt Et's nephew, aren't you?

0:34:390:34:42

-Yeah.

-Remember that last match in Spain?

0:34:420:34:44

Terrible game. Didn't have an egg for breakfast.

0:34:440:34:46

-Well, there you are.

-I always play better when I have had my E for B.

0:34:460:34:49

E for B, and be your best.

0:34:490:34:50

Cool. So I play centre forward, you know.

0:34:500:34:52

E for B and Georgie Best!

0:34:520:34:54

Can I have my kiss now, please?

0:35:010:35:03

Commercially, he was really the first.

0:35:070:35:09

Well, he was unprecedented.

0:35:100:35:12

He had no real support, if you like.

0:35:120:35:15

What the man means is, Cookstown are the best family sausages.

0:35:150:35:19

It was a step into the unknown. Nobody knew what they were doing.

0:35:190:35:22

Nobody knew how big he was going to be,

0:35:220:35:24

or what he could do commercially.

0:35:240:35:26

We anticipated that we would sell in the region of 2,000 pairs.

0:35:260:35:30

We, in point of fact, sold 28,000 pairs.

0:35:300:35:34

David Beckham can say thank-you to George,

0:35:340:35:36

because George Best was the first professional footballer

0:35:360:35:39

to become a fashion icon.

0:35:390:35:40

They made a lot of mistakes along the way and I can

0:35:400:35:42

understand why, because you just didn't know what was involved.

0:35:420:35:46

The thing with George was that he didn't really want to do it.

0:35:460:35:50

That was the thing.

0:35:500:35:52

Unless there were girls involved.

0:35:520:35:54

And, usually, the photo shoots did involve girls,

0:35:540:35:57

so he used to do them.

0:35:570:35:58

Men's grooming aids, real masculine.

0:35:590:36:02

Aftershave, hairspray, talc.

0:36:020:36:05

The lot. Fore brings out the best in a man.

0:36:050:36:08

The early start of the season means a timely shot in the arm

0:36:130:36:15

for millions of fans who miss even a few days

0:36:150:36:17

without their favourite relaxation.

0:36:170:36:20

It was a chance to see how the European champions would fare

0:36:200:36:22

against their traditional Merseyside opponents, Everton.

0:36:220:36:24

With their European triumph,

0:36:270:36:28

United have set themselves a terrifically high standard.

0:36:280:36:30

When we won the European Cup, everybody said,

0:36:330:36:36

"This is the start of something beautiful and wonderful."

0:36:360:36:39

Best. Oh!

0:36:400:36:42

That is what makes this slip of a lad

0:36:450:36:46

one of the great players - sheer speed.

0:36:460:36:50

That's when Matt decided that he was going to retire.

0:36:530:36:57

I went to the board and mentioned that I felt,

0:37:030:37:06

in the best interests of the club, that I should give up

0:37:060:37:09

all things appertaining to team management.

0:37:090:37:13

And they accepted with reluctance

0:37:130:37:16

and immediately appointed me general manager.

0:37:160:37:20

I think he got tired. I mean, he had achieved it.

0:37:200:37:24

Still a great man, but it was time for someone else to come in.

0:37:240:37:28

To follow Matt Busby?

0:37:300:37:31

God Almighty. God Almighty.

0:37:310:37:35

We had been so used to the one man at Manchester United.

0:37:370:37:40

A great, great manager.

0:37:400:37:41

You know, how do you replace him? And they tried.

0:37:430:37:45

Will you refer all your decisions to Sir Matt?

0:37:460:37:49

Well, I think that's why he has relinquished the team duties,

0:37:490:37:54

to let somebody else have those decisions

0:37:540:37:58

and make those decisions.

0:37:580:38:00

Foul given.

0:38:030:38:05

I was 22.

0:38:050:38:07

And I wasn't going to reach my peak for another seven or eight years.

0:38:070:38:09

It's an own goal by Sadler.

0:38:090:38:12

After losing Sir Matt, the team started to disintegrate very,

0:38:120:38:16

very quickly. From going out week in, week out,

0:38:160:38:19

not ever thinking we were going to lose a game,

0:38:190:38:21

we were starting to go out thinking we were going to lose,

0:38:210:38:24

or knowing we were going to lose to certain sides, which was a disaster.

0:38:240:38:27

Good goal.

0:38:270:38:28

Good goal.

0:38:280:38:31

I started to have a lot of doubts about what was going on

0:38:310:38:33

within the club, which hurt me, you know,

0:38:330:38:35

because Manchester United had been my whole life.

0:38:350:38:37

The team weren't playing particularly well.

0:38:410:38:44

In fact, I think, you know, they did go on a bit of a downward spiral,

0:38:440:38:47

so that must have been really heartbreaking for him.

0:38:470:38:50

He wasn't big-headed, but he wasn't falsely modest, either.

0:38:500:38:53

He knew his worth as a footballer.

0:38:530:38:56

He felt that they should have been building a younger team around him.

0:38:560:38:59

Collins' header, that was.

0:39:010:39:04

Comes to Best.

0:39:040:39:06

And it's there. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!

0:39:060:39:11

I personally felt I was still doing it on the field.

0:39:110:39:13

But what's the good in me going out there and being top goal-scorer

0:39:130:39:16

this season if we're finishing

0:39:160:39:18

19th in the league and 13th in the league?

0:39:180:39:20

George was starting to get strange things into his head.

0:39:220:39:25

Doing certain things that he basically had never done before,

0:39:250:39:28

and continued to go through a spell after that

0:39:280:39:31

which was really the start of the downfall.

0:39:310:39:33

And now, is Best going to have his name taken?

0:39:350:39:37

Ungentlemanly conduct, the book is out...

0:39:370:39:40

I think quite honestly, if you start throwing mud at the referee,

0:39:400:39:43

even today, I think you're going to be sent off, really, in a way,

0:39:430:39:46

you know.

0:39:460:39:47

George was starting to make his own rules up

0:39:470:39:50

a little bit as it went along.

0:39:500:39:51

George Best is the mercury of Manchester United.

0:39:510:39:54

Banned a month, a long time for a footballer.

0:39:540:39:57

It was the constant expectations of the fans.

0:39:580:40:01

They've got to see George Best play fantastic every week.

0:40:010:40:04

That's a difficult burden to carry.

0:40:040:40:07

I think we all just depended on him,

0:40:070:40:09

and expected him to do it week in and week out.

0:40:090:40:11

Once the football was...

0:40:210:40:23

the enjoyment of that was taken away,

0:40:230:40:24

I started looking for things to replace the excitement

0:40:240:40:27

that I got from football.

0:40:270:40:29

He was the star of the club scene, and a bit of a pop idol.

0:40:330:40:37

His fondness for drink was bound to become

0:40:390:40:42

more than just a leisure activity.

0:40:420:40:45

I always thought the only time he took a drink was to bolster

0:40:470:40:50

his confidence. He was so shy, and George found it difficult

0:40:500:40:54

to talk to people. But a drink made him confident.

0:40:540:40:58

It was the '60s. People were drinking, you know,

0:40:580:41:01

he was drinking, I was drinking. And it just gradually became a problem.

0:41:010:41:06

You want more and more and more, there's no satisfaction.

0:41:060:41:09

Why do you want more? Because you're not satisfied.

0:41:090:41:11

Why are you not satisfied?

0:41:110:41:12

Because you're seeking happiness in things

0:41:120:41:14

that can't give you happiness.

0:41:140:41:16

You know, like alcohol, or sex, or whatever the thing is,

0:41:160:41:19

when you become addicted, there's no happiness there.

0:41:190:41:24

He started missing training.

0:41:240:41:27

That was a nightmare, a disaster, all the things you want to call it.

0:41:270:41:32

George had a few pals in Manchester,

0:41:330:41:35

and a couple of pals that were United fans,

0:41:350:41:36

that should have known a bit better and maybe given him a kick up the

0:41:360:41:39

backside, and said, "You should be in training.

0:41:390:41:41

"It's important for Manchester United, it's important for you."

0:41:410:41:44

I'm saying, blame his pals,

0:41:460:41:47

but then you can only point the finger at one person at the end,

0:41:470:41:50

and that's George.

0:41:500:41:52

And it was downhill on a toboggan after that.

0:41:520:41:55

It wasn't as if it was a slow downhill, it was...

0:41:550:41:58

The white one with the brown, and, er...

0:42:290:42:32

Stripes at the bottom, please. We've got them with their ties on.

0:42:320:42:35

At the beginning when I was with him, he would go to training.

0:42:350:42:38

But then gradually, he started to miss training.

0:42:380:42:40

And I mean sometimes, I'd get Matt Busby on the phone ringing up,

0:42:400:42:43

saying, "Is George with you? And he's not turned up,

0:42:430:42:45

"and isn't it time you two got married?"

0:42:450:42:47

And all this kind of thing, you know.

0:42:470:42:49

I'd say, what do you what me to do? You know?

0:42:490:42:51

Do you see any kind of permanent relationship here, Jackie?

0:42:510:42:54

I mean, would you like to marry him?

0:42:540:42:55

I don't know. I haven't told him, so I don't see why I should tell you!

0:42:570:43:02

Well, if Jackie wasn't there, it was...

0:43:070:43:09

Unfortunately he wasn't the most faithful animal in the world,

0:43:090:43:13

and of course, very difficult to keep up a relationship where,

0:43:130:43:18

from her part, the trust wasn't there.

0:43:180:43:21

And she knew the temptations that were there for him.

0:43:210:43:24

I had a tremendous amount of relationships,

0:43:260:43:28

because I suppose I was in a position to.

0:43:280:43:30

I was getting a lot of publicity, I had plenty of money,

0:43:300:43:32

and I went to the sort of functions where there were always plenty of beautiful women around.

0:43:320:43:36

He'd gone from being quite a fresh and sweet boy

0:43:380:43:42

to starting to become quite jaded, and I think, you know,

0:43:420:43:46

because of the alcohol and girls throwing themselves at him.

0:43:460:43:49

If you imagine you're in a sweet shop

0:43:490:43:51

and you're eating sweets all the time, you're going to get sick.

0:43:510:43:54

It's fun at first, but then you get sick.

0:43:540:43:56

And I think it became like that with everything.

0:43:560:43:59

He was very fond of Jackie,

0:44:010:44:02

and I think it's a pity that relationship never continued.

0:44:020:44:07

Once your trust has been betrayed, you can't really get that back.

0:44:070:44:11

I can't see any future in this.

0:44:110:44:12

There was far more focus on him than any other player in the country.

0:44:170:44:22

Once you get that cross-fertilisation

0:44:250:44:29

between football and showbiz, then you're going to heighten interest

0:44:290:44:35

in everything you're up to.

0:44:350:44:37

On face value, it looks like you have everything.

0:44:560:44:59

The money's coming in, you're doing something you love,

0:45:000:45:03

the adulation is there.

0:45:030:45:04

Best...

0:45:040:45:05

Here's the record! There it is!

0:45:050:45:08

What a way to come back into big-time football, Georgie Best!

0:45:080:45:11

The whole thing just became a total nightmare.

0:45:150:45:17

They stopped writing about the football

0:45:210:45:23

and writing about my private life, which is nothing to do with them.

0:45:230:45:27

Have you any idea why he didn't do any training during the week?

0:45:270:45:30

I... I really don't know, I don't know...

0:45:300:45:32

Carolyn, are you going to marry George Best?

0:45:320:45:34

No, that was a rumour.

0:45:350:45:37

Best's frenetic social life had been chronicled with the sort of

0:45:380:45:41

thoroughness that is usually reserved for the Burtons.

0:45:410:45:45

Many people were at once bored and fascinated by the saga.

0:45:450:45:48

Almost everybody had an opinion about what was wrong with Georgie,

0:45:480:45:51

or what should be done about him.

0:45:510:45:53

Do you feel sorry for George Best?

0:45:540:45:56

No, not in the least, no.

0:45:560:45:58

Got plenty of money, hasn't he? He's been very silly, I think.

0:45:580:46:02

I think he's selfish, and always has been.

0:46:020:46:04

Be better if he got his hair cut and got his whiskers off.

0:46:040:46:07

That's my opinion of him.

0:46:070:46:08

You ask most of the people who come to Old Trafford, George Best,

0:46:080:46:12

all the time.

0:46:120:46:13

It was the constant changes of managers

0:46:140:46:17

that was getting to the fans, not so much George.

0:46:170:46:19

It was like, "not another manager".

0:46:190:46:21

Frank O'Farrell, what are your feelings as you take over this job?

0:46:220:46:25

I feel optimistic. I feel that inevitably,

0:46:250:46:28

this club will again win honours.

0:46:280:46:29

How soon I can't say at the present time, obviously.

0:46:290:46:33

The stability went, and I think that's what the fans saw,

0:46:330:46:36

not that George is the big bad boy.

0:46:360:46:38

It hurts me a lot, when I listen to stories.

0:46:430:46:46

On one occasion, I was standing having a drink with one man,

0:46:470:46:51

and he was actually ridiculing George to me,

0:46:510:46:53

in a football conversation. And he left the bar that night,

0:46:530:46:57

and he still didn't know that I was George's mum.

0:46:570:46:59

He brought a lot of pressure on the family.

0:47:010:47:04

He brought them a lot of pressure that they didn't know how to handle.

0:47:040:47:08

And I think George was hurt about that.

0:47:080:47:13

The effect it has on your family, when you become famous.

0:47:140:47:18

My poor old mother couldn't handle it.

0:47:180:47:20

My dad, he's as strong as an ox, and he's got a strong character,

0:47:200:47:24

but my mum couldn't handle it.

0:47:240:47:26

And for a long time I blamed myself, I thought it was me.

0:47:260:47:28

But I'd been away from home since I was 15,

0:47:280:47:30

and I certainly couldn't look after her,

0:47:300:47:32

because I was having enough problems

0:47:320:47:34

looking after myself, and failing most of the time.

0:47:340:47:36

The Best family, they were absolutely wonderful people, beautiful.

0:47:370:47:41

They had to face part of that, which was not very pleasant for them.

0:47:410:47:46

No-one at Old Trafford has seen George Best

0:47:460:47:48

since Manchester United's 3-0 defeat at West Ham last Saturday.

0:47:480:47:52

Other members of the team have been training daily,

0:47:520:47:55

but there's been no sign of the talented

0:47:550:47:57

but temperamental Irishman.

0:47:570:47:58

The announcement of Best's suspension

0:48:060:48:08

was made by United's general manager, Sir Matt Busby,

0:48:080:48:11

at the club's ground at Old Trafford at lunchtime today.

0:48:110:48:14

Friday morning, hadn't heard a thing.

0:48:140:48:16

Saturday, Sunday and this morning.

0:48:160:48:18

In fact you've no idea where he is, Sir Matt?

0:48:180:48:19

I couldn't tell you whether he was in Manchester

0:48:190:48:22

or whether he's in England, London, I couldn't tell you.

0:48:220:48:24

I've had no contact. He's made no contact.

0:48:240:48:26

And as I said to all the lads this morning, he knows where to find me.

0:48:260:48:31

The door's there waiting for him.

0:48:310:48:32

I'm not going looking for George Best.

0:48:320:48:34

If Matt Busby hasn't been prepared to chase after George Best,

0:48:350:48:38

there have been plenty of journalists who have,

0:48:380:48:41

and after a search which has gone on in London and Manchester all day,

0:48:410:48:45

it's at last been established that he's here at this flat in Islington,

0:48:450:48:50

north London. It's the home of a 22-year-old actress, Sinead Cusack.

0:48:500:48:55

And it's known that over the last few days,

0:48:550:48:58

she's listened to a lot of George Best's complicated

0:48:580:49:01

and apparently incomprehensible troubles,

0:49:010:49:04

the troubles that have given rise to such strange conduct

0:49:040:49:07

over the last few days.

0:49:070:49:09

It turned into one of those mad sieges.

0:49:100:49:13

It wasn't planned.

0:49:170:49:18

I think he just said, "Where am I going to run to?"

0:49:180:49:21

And that's where he went, but everybody followed him there.

0:49:210:49:24

It was no mad, crazy love affair or anything.

0:49:240:49:27

He got frustrated and angry with the team,

0:49:280:49:31

and angry with himself for not being able to do what he could do best.

0:49:310:49:36

But then, we're drinking now, we're seriously drinking now.

0:49:360:49:40

First of all, he's got to find out who his friends are.

0:49:430:49:45

Do you think he's made mistakes...?

0:49:460:49:48

I think that he's got so many hangers-on, it's a joke.

0:49:480:49:50

And I tell you what, when you've got genuine friends and when you're in

0:49:520:49:55

trouble, you can go to them and they'll help you.

0:49:550:49:57

And you need a lot of help in football.

0:49:570:49:58

And at the moment, George Best needs help.

0:49:580:50:00

I don't think he showed the same respect to football as he showed,

0:50:030:50:06

maybe has shown, a couple of years ago.

0:50:060:50:09

It's come to a point now with George, he's reached the apex,

0:50:090:50:12

he's got to go either that way or that way.

0:50:120:50:14

-Yes.

-And I think he'll have to work very hard to go that way.

0:50:140:50:17

Right, George, you have your say, son.

0:50:170:50:19

Well, firstly, I've apologised to Mr Busby and the United club,

0:50:230:50:29

for the way I behaved over the weekend,

0:50:290:50:31

which was completely wrong, and I know it was.

0:50:310:50:34

You're going to have to serve this suspension,

0:50:340:50:36

and you say you're taking a couple of days off.

0:50:360:50:38

Are you confident that when this time has passed, you'll be back,

0:50:380:50:40

George Best that we knew before?

0:50:400:50:42

Well, I'm going to try,

0:50:420:50:44

try as hard as I can, to get back to where I was before.

0:50:440:50:46

Probably the first big mistake you made was ever to leave

0:50:520:50:55

Mrs Fullaway's house and have your rather expensive

0:50:550:50:58

and spacious place...

0:50:580:51:00

Do you think that's true, looking back?

0:51:010:51:04

It wouldn't have been true if I hadn't, at the time,

0:51:040:51:06

been public property.

0:51:060:51:07

The first time I saw it, I thought, my God, what have you had built?

0:51:090:51:12

It looked awful. But God, it's nice inside.

0:51:130:51:17

It had everything that a young bloke would want, snooker room,

0:51:170:51:21

every modern gadget you could wish to have.

0:51:210:51:24

Bearing in mind, we'd only just had colour television a couple of years

0:51:240:51:27

earlier, you know. So, anything that moved without you touching it

0:51:270:51:30

was an amazing thing.

0:51:300:51:31

The remote control in our house was my mother.

0:51:310:51:33

Very nice for its time.

0:51:360:51:37

It was wonderful, but for him there rattling about on his own,

0:51:370:51:41

not really.

0:51:410:51:42

He didn't like his own company.

0:51:430:51:45

He didn't like to be on his own.

0:51:460:51:47

How do you say, I think you're making a mistake?

0:51:490:51:51

He wanted this house to have a quiet time and be by himself.

0:51:520:51:56

But he did lots of things which really was the opposite

0:51:560:51:59

to what he had been saying he really wanted.

0:51:590:52:01

You know, he always told me that he didn't like people recognising him,

0:52:010:52:05

and yet he had a Rolls-Royce with GB on it, you know, George Best!

0:52:050:52:09

And he actually would take it to the football stadiums as well!

0:52:090:52:12

He never really sat down and said, what do you think?

0:52:140:52:17

What do you think we should do? Do you think we should...?

0:52:180:52:21

How do you think we should play this?

0:52:210:52:23

It was always... He always seemed to know,

0:52:230:52:25

and always seemed to have that vision

0:52:250:52:27

that he knew what he was doing.

0:52:270:52:28

And very difficult to get him out of that frame of mind.

0:52:280:52:32

That's when he really went off the rails.

0:52:340:52:36

Got fed up, properly.

0:52:370:52:39

"I'm going."

0:52:390:52:40

He went off saying he was going to retire.

0:52:450:52:46

I mean, God Almighty! He wouldn't be 25 in those days, George.

0:52:460:52:51

I mean, he loved playing football. That's what astonished me.

0:52:510:52:53

He loved playing football, he loved playing for United.

0:52:530:52:57

And then it all of a sudden, stopped.

0:52:570:52:59

We went to Marbella, and all the press were hounding him.

0:53:020:53:05

Too dramatic a way to do it, really.

0:53:050:53:07

He should have been a bit more subtle about it.

0:53:070:53:09

It seemed as if someone had taken my enjoyment away from me,

0:53:100:53:13

and taken away the only thing that I'd ever wanted to do.

0:53:130:53:15

I got totally confused,

0:53:160:53:18

because possibly everything had gone too smoothly,

0:53:180:53:21

and I'd achieved everything before I was 22.

0:53:210:53:23

I think I'd become used to being number one so much

0:53:250:53:28

that it frightened me to think that I couldn't be number one.

0:53:280:53:31

What sort of pressures do you feel that you've been under?

0:53:340:53:37

I don't know, a lot of different reasons.

0:53:370:53:39

I feel now like I can't play as I could before.

0:53:390:53:43

So, I don't want to play a lower standard than I'm used to myself.

0:53:430:53:49

And I don't think I can play to a high standard, so I decided to quit.

0:53:490:53:53

Why not? Why can't you play at a high standard any more?

0:53:530:53:56

Er... I don't know. Because I'm not physically fit

0:53:560:53:58

and I don't think I'm mentally fit to play football.

0:53:580:54:02

So I've decided to call it a day.

0:54:020:54:04

What's caused it, basically? Strains, pressures, tensions?

0:54:040:54:07

I suppose so. Over this last few years, they've got worse, and, er,

0:54:080:54:14

maybe I just can't take it.

0:54:140:54:16

I built the image in the first place, and it backfired on me.

0:54:160:54:20

The whole thing's turned about.

0:54:200:54:22

At the moment, how would you describe your mental state?

0:54:220:54:25

Er, at the moment, I think I'm a complete wreck.

0:54:250:54:28

In every way.

0:54:290:54:30

He didn't know where to go.

0:54:340:54:37

He was lost. He really was lost.

0:54:370:54:39

A few of his friends were concerned

0:54:410:54:42

that he might have done something terrible.

0:54:420:54:46

We were concerned for him, yes.

0:54:460:54:47

Have you absolutely nothing to say to us?

0:55:180:55:20

Nothing at all?

0:55:200:55:21

-No plans at all that you're going to tell us at this stage?

-No.

0:55:210:55:24

It was never the same for George, I don't think, after Matt.

0:55:310:55:34

It was never the same for him.

0:55:340:55:36

Frank O'Farrell came in, Tommy Docherty came in.

0:55:360:55:39

Everybody tried everything to try and help him, but...

0:55:390:55:43

it was never the same.

0:55:430:55:45

It became impossible in the end.

0:55:450:55:48

George was saying that they were all letting him down,

0:55:480:55:50

but I mean, it was George.

0:55:500:55:52

Sir Matt and Pat Crerand felt that George could do us a turn,

0:55:540:55:57

which I did as well,

0:55:570:55:58

because we weren't blessed with great players at the time.

0:55:580:56:00

We brought him back, and it was a disaster, actually.

0:56:000:56:02

He played about three or four matches, and...

0:56:020:56:04

He'd just gone.

0:56:050:56:07

Not being as fit as he should be, not training like he should be.

0:56:070:56:12

That's always going to affect you.

0:56:120:56:14

And the minute that affects you, forget it, it's gone.

0:56:140:56:17

And that's what happened to George. It was gone, then.

0:56:170:56:20

And you knew it was the end.

0:56:200:56:22

I feel very sorry about the whole thing.

0:56:250:56:27

Here is a player extraordinary.

0:56:280:56:31

All the talents that one would wish they'd got from the gifts of God

0:56:320:56:37

and everything else. And it's a very sad thing.

0:56:370:56:39

I had 11 years at one of the greatest football clubs

0:56:450:56:48

in the world, and achieved almost everything that was possible.

0:56:480:56:52

We won the League twice, won the European Cup,

0:56:520:56:54

I was Footballer of the Year in Europe and England.

0:56:540:56:57

I was Manchester United's leading goal-scorer for six years.

0:56:570:57:00

I did it all at the highest level for a long time.

0:57:020:57:05

So you'd be an idiot not to be hurt.

0:57:050:57:07

There was a finality about it for him.

0:57:090:57:14

Although there would be a lot of other chapters after that,

0:57:140:57:19

he wasn't entirely wrong in thinking that, in a very real sense,

0:57:190:57:26

the curtain had come down.

0:57:260:57:28

It was a curtain that he'd only be peeking through afterwards.

0:57:300:57:36

TVS presents NASL Championship Soccer.

0:57:540:57:58

Not long ago, a dogfight would attract a bigger crowd

0:57:580:58:01

in this country than a soccer game.

0:58:010:58:03

But something has happened.

0:58:030:58:05

His name is Johan Cruyff...

0:58:050:58:07

Franz Beckenbauer...

0:58:070:58:09

A retired Brazilian football player named Pele...

0:58:090:58:11

Almost anywhere you go in this country these days,

0:58:110:58:14

you're likely to find boys AND girls kicking a soccer ball around.

0:58:140:58:17

It is the fastest-growing sport in the country.

0:58:170:58:19

It was a time that has never been repeated and will never,

0:58:210:58:24

ever be repeated, with such a unique league

0:58:240:58:27

that attracted the most phenomenal footballers from around the world.

0:58:270:58:33

By the time George came here, Pele had already started with the Cosmos,

0:58:330:58:37

and they were building a team that really was rivalling

0:58:370:58:40

any superstar team in the world at the time.

0:58:400:58:42

In Los Angeles, erm, George was the one they chose.

0:58:420:58:46

I have a man with me who looks an awful lot like Elton John.

0:58:480:58:52

And behind me, the LAPD motorcycle drill team.

0:58:520:58:54

My spies tell me

0:58:560:58:57

you had something to do with getting a fellow named George Best to come

0:58:570:59:00

out of retirement and play for Los Angeles. True?

0:59:000:59:02

Er, I don't think I can take hardly any credit for that,

0:59:020:59:05

but I know George knew I was involved with,

0:59:050:59:07

you know, with the club.

0:59:070:59:08

And he came out here. I'm so glad.

0:59:080:59:11

It was great for him, because George came out of retirement,

0:59:110:59:14

came out here, got himself fit.

0:59:140:59:16

I think it's improved him as a player, and it's incredible.

0:59:160:59:19

I was still only 29 when I went.

0:59:200:59:23

Players like Johann Cruyff was there, Beckenbauer, Pele, Eusebio,

0:59:230:59:27

Gordon Banks. A tremendous amount of British players.

0:59:270:59:30

I got the pleasure of playing against him, watching him,

0:59:320:59:36

and then in the end playing with him.

0:59:360:59:39

I mean he had obviously past his best but he was still better than

0:59:390:59:43

everybody else, and to play in the same team as him, what a gift.

0:59:430:59:46

When we first got there we rented a house.

0:59:540:59:57

We were team-mates, roommates,

0:59:571:00:00

there was a little bar just round the corner

1:00:001:00:03

and the name of the bar was Fat Face Fenner's Falloon,

1:00:031:00:06

and we used to hang out in there.

1:00:061:00:08

I didn't go there to LA on that day

1:00:101:00:15

expecting to sign George Best as a client.

1:00:151:00:17

I just said to him, you're going to need some help,

1:00:171:00:19

and I'm happy to do it if you want.

1:00:191:00:22

And he said yes. So I became George's agent in 1976.

1:00:221:00:27

From a commercial point of view, basically, you've touched gold.

1:00:291:00:34

He was a lovely fella.

1:00:361:00:37

And women just flocked around him like bees on honey.

1:00:381:00:41

It was quite an unbelievable experience to see it.

1:00:431:00:46

I mean, you see it with pop stars and you kind of expect it,

1:00:461:00:50

but he was a pop star in his own right.

1:00:501:00:52

And...along came this girl that was a little bit different.

1:00:541:00:58

I'm working for Cher, living with her in Beverly Hills.

1:01:011:01:05

We get a phone call to the house from a man

1:01:051:01:08

called Henry Wynberg, I think it was, Elizabeth Taylor's boyfriend

1:01:081:01:12

at the time, and says George would like you to come

1:01:121:01:15

to his party in Hermosa Beach.

1:01:151:01:17

So he picks me up, drives me down Hermosa Beach.

1:01:171:01:20

There's no party.

1:01:201:01:22

There's George in his flip-flops and his shorts and his T-shirt

1:01:221:01:25

and there's me all dressed up!

1:01:251:01:27

And he's sitting at the bar all by himself.

1:01:291:01:33

So I thought, "Ah, sweet."

1:01:341:01:36

She was a challenge.

1:01:401:01:41

She didn't fall all over him and she didn't know who he was

1:01:421:01:45

and she wasn't there because it was "George Best".

1:01:451:01:47

With Ange, she wasn't in it for the money.

1:01:491:01:51

There was none of that involved because he didn't have anything

1:01:511:01:54

at the time.

1:01:541:01:56

I said to him, why did you come here?

1:01:571:02:00

He said, because I want to be on the beach in the sun.

1:02:001:02:03

I said, you could have done that in Spain.

1:02:041:02:06

He said no, because the English press would have found me.

1:02:061:02:10

He had freedom.

1:02:101:02:11

He goes in his flip-flops to play football

1:02:121:02:15

and then he could finish and go down to his bar, play pool, have a drink.

1:02:151:02:22

That was his happiest.

1:02:231:02:24

He said to me, "Listen, what do you think about me getting married?"

1:02:321:02:36

I said, "If you love her, why don't you do it?"

1:02:361:02:39

I thought that would settle him down and he would stay on the,

1:02:391:02:42

or closer to, the straight and narrow.

1:02:421:02:44

I went to the hairdresser.

1:02:461:02:48

First, I looked like a school ma'am,

1:02:481:02:50

I had this long grey skirt.

1:02:501:02:52

I mean, God Almighty.

1:02:521:02:54

George said, "What do you look like?"

1:02:561:02:58

I said, "Excuse me? Have you seen your jacket?"

1:02:581:03:00

We both looked hideous.

1:03:001:03:02

He didn't have rings, didn't have licence, had nothing.

1:03:021:03:06

But that was George.

1:03:081:03:09

And I understood that about him.

1:03:091:03:12

I suppose that's where I then took over and said, "Now, come on,

1:03:121:03:15

"we're going to do this properly, or we're going to try to anyway."

1:03:151:03:18

I think Angie straightened him up and he got fit again

1:03:181:03:21

and Bobby was there to help.

1:03:211:03:24

But then they opened a bar.

1:03:241:03:26

It takes a very strong person to invest in somewhere

1:03:341:03:37

and then not go drink there.

1:03:371:03:39

The difference was that his drinking was a little more than

1:03:391:03:43

the average bar owner.

1:03:431:03:45

Remember, football is a drinking culture.

1:03:461:03:48

At that time he had no shortage of helpers, if you like.

1:03:501:03:55

If 70,000 men had wanted to have one drink with George,

1:03:551:03:59

they had one drink, George had 70,000.

1:03:591:04:02

In those days it was just, it's just George being George,

1:04:031:04:06

he's had a few, and that's it.

1:04:061:04:08

Alcoholism is now termed as an illness.

1:04:081:04:10

We didn't have that kind of knowledge in those days.

1:04:101:04:13

If you had had a few too many, sleep it off

1:04:131:04:16

and you'll be fine tomorrow.

1:04:161:04:17

We didn't know the extent of...the problem.

1:04:201:04:24

I cannot for the life of me,

1:04:321:04:35

because in my mind,

1:04:351:04:37

and, of course, a lot of people would say "It's a disease."

1:04:371:04:41

It's not. It's a choice.

1:04:411:04:43

You choose not to drink that day.

1:04:431:04:45

A disease doesn't give you a choice.

1:04:451:04:47

But alcoholics have a choice.

1:04:491:04:50

He would never have admitted he had a problem.

1:04:501:04:53

He didn't see it as a problem.

1:04:541:04:55

I don't think there's anything wrong with any healthy sportsman having a

1:04:571:05:00

drink. And going out when he feels like it,

1:05:001:05:02

as long as he's training hard and doing what he's being paid for

1:05:021:05:05

and doing it well.

1:05:051:05:07

Most people I could understand would maybe go off the rails during bad

1:05:081:05:12

times, but George had this habit of going off the rails during the good

1:05:121:05:16

times. When things were really good and everything was going really well

1:05:161:05:20

for him, then he had this self-destruct button.

1:05:201:05:22

When things are going well you're tempted to think, well,

1:05:241:05:28

everything is going to be OK, so I can afford to slip a little bit.

1:05:281:05:31

But that little bit, with me, became a lot.

1:05:321:05:35

He had so much going for him.

1:05:361:05:38

When he was on a roll, he was great.

1:05:381:05:39

Then all of a sudden, it became too much and he just let himself down.

1:05:391:05:44

They didn't want the aggravation, if that's the right word.

1:05:501:05:53

They wanted to trade him.

1:05:551:05:56

Who would take the risk of managing him?

1:05:581:06:02

The playing side of it wasn't the problem.

1:06:021:06:05

It seemed that he would always be able to produce magic

1:06:051:06:08

and I think the promise of magic is something very special.

1:06:081:06:12

The promise of magic is what George Best always brought,

1:06:131:06:17

whether it be the glittering Manchester United

1:06:171:06:20

or the other 18 teams that he went to play for.

1:06:201:06:24

Good lord, gipsies, we were gipsies.

1:06:241:06:26

Yes, we were gipsies, but it was fine. I was happy.

1:06:281:06:32

As long as I was hanging out with him,

1:06:321:06:33

I couldn't have cared where we went or what we did.

1:06:331:06:36

That's the Best. My goodness, he hit the post.

1:06:361:06:38

Although people were let down at different times

1:06:481:06:50

and the clubs were let down and chairmen were let down

1:06:501:06:53

I think he brought a lot of happiness to the clubs

1:06:531:06:56

and a lot of revenue.

1:06:561:06:57

Now and again you would see a wee bit of the old stuff

1:06:581:07:01

and sometimes quite a wee bit of it.

1:07:011:07:04

But he looked like a bad impersonator of George Best.

1:07:041:07:09

Then we went to, er...

1:07:121:07:14

..Florida.

1:07:171:07:18

We knew that there were issues.

1:07:191:07:21

We spoke to George about them.

1:07:211:07:24

He felt he needed a change of scenery.

1:07:241:07:26

He insisted that he was really trying to stay sober

1:07:261:07:31

and that we would not be disappointed in his play

1:07:311:07:35

or his behaviour.

1:07:351:07:37

So it was a gamble, but it was a risk that we felt was worth taking.

1:07:381:07:44

Turning to Fort Lauderdale, George Best,

1:07:441:07:46

of course this is one of the great stars of world soccer,

1:07:461:07:48

a temperamental man, he is not always at his happiest,

1:07:481:07:51

but he seems to have found a new home in Fort Lauderdale.

1:07:511:07:53

He is playing marvellously well for them.

1:07:531:07:55

George struggled with his fitness.

1:07:551:07:57

There's no question about that.

1:07:571:07:59

During the course of a match you might have long periods of time

1:07:591:08:04

where he was invisible, but when you got the moments of brilliance

1:08:041:08:09

out of him it was worth it.

1:08:091:08:11

Kicked over the bar.

1:08:141:08:16

He could turn the game on a dime.

1:08:161:08:18

I recall the first match that we had after we acquired him.

1:08:181:08:22

We won the game 5-3, and George had three of the goals.

1:08:221:08:26

I think we were able to get about as much out of George as anyone could.

1:08:341:08:39

It is 3-1 Fort Lauderdale. This is NASL Championship Soccer.

1:08:461:08:50

The day that you were traded, was it a day of liberation for George Best?

1:08:531:08:58

I just feel good, the fact that it's worked out.

1:08:581:09:00

I don't think I could have written a better script.

1:09:001:09:03

The only thing I can say is that I know I can play.

1:09:031:09:06

I didn't have to convince myself.

1:09:061:09:07

George at the time was doing his best to stay away from alcohol,

1:09:081:09:13

and for the most part he was staying clean and sober.

1:09:131:09:17

He truly was a really good guy.

1:09:171:09:22

He was a good guy, that had demons.

1:09:221:09:24

You keep thinking that you can fix it

1:09:291:09:31

and that all he needs is a nice home-cooked meal,

1:09:311:09:35

a nice house and to settle down.

1:09:351:09:36

But it never quite works like that when there's alcohol involved.

1:09:361:09:39

That was just in his blood.

1:09:411:09:42

God love her, his mother was an alcoholic,

1:09:421:09:44

so it was just in his blood.

1:09:441:09:46

She, for whatever her own particular reasons was,

1:09:531:09:56

she got involved with drinking too much.

1:09:561:09:59

It was my fault. I should have been there.

1:10:001:10:02

I should have called. I should have written.

1:10:021:10:04

That was a guilt thing I carried for quite a while.

1:10:041:10:07

Whether it is related to me, or not, I'll never know.

1:10:071:10:10

It was another reason to have a few more drinks.

1:10:121:10:15

George, in the end, wore out his welcome here in Fort Lauderdale.

1:10:161:10:22

He could have stayed and played and been a manager

1:10:231:10:27

and done everything David Beckham is doing.

1:10:271:10:29

They threw him out because he got drunk.

1:10:301:10:33

He didn't show up for games.

1:10:331:10:35

They couldn't have that.

1:10:351:10:37

They didn't know how to deal with that.

1:10:371:10:39

We weren't quite sure what to do with him

1:10:411:10:43

and San Jose said they would take him. We let him go there.

1:10:431:10:46

I don't think there were any other takers at the time.

1:10:461:10:49

Each time he got thrown out he got less and less of a choice.

1:10:511:10:55

"Dude, you want to make some money?

1:10:551:10:56

"You are going to play here. Nobody else wants you."

1:10:561:10:58

The time I got to San Jose, all the top players started to leave

1:11:021:11:05

the States, the crowds were down, the best players were leaving.

1:11:051:11:08

All the reasons I had gone there for the buzz were disappearing.

1:11:081:11:12

I started really, that was the serious down, in San Jose.

1:11:121:11:16

I was begging, stealing, borrowing, just to have a drink.

1:11:161:11:19

It's that knock-on effect of depression and booze.

1:11:191:11:22

You feel self-destructive.

1:11:241:11:26

Two weeks before going on a bender, he would sleep late,

1:11:261:11:31

he would start to eat a lot of sugary foods

1:11:311:11:35

and he would stop shaving.

1:11:351:11:36

And that would kind of be the build-up to...gone.

1:11:381:11:43

What caused that was this...black taking over his brain.

1:11:451:11:51

I'm sure he was depressed at times.

1:11:511:11:53

I'm sure he suffered from depression.

1:11:531:11:55

When he let people down, he suffered.

1:11:561:11:59

When he was sober and things like that he realised what he had done,

1:11:591:12:02

I think he found it difficult to accept his actions.

1:12:021:12:06

He would think of the people he'd let down, the things he'd done...

1:12:061:12:10

..and he couldn't deal with that. And I think, to get away from it...

1:12:111:12:15

..from the depression that that caused him, that guilt,

1:12:161:12:20

he started drinking again.

1:12:201:12:21

It controlled me totally.

1:12:231:12:26

When I was going out I didn't give a toss about anything,

1:12:261:12:29

whether it was family or friends.

1:12:291:12:30

The worst problem was that I didn't care about myself.

1:12:301:12:34

You know, I couldn't care less.

1:12:341:12:35

I wasn't bothered whether I woke up in the morning or not.

1:12:351:12:38

Sometimes I wished I didn't.

1:12:381:12:39

What really struck home was, I found out I was pregnant.

1:12:411:12:45

So I went looking for him.

1:12:461:12:48

And I found him at some obscure bar on the beach, all by himself

1:12:481:12:52

with his drink in front of him, hunched over

1:12:521:12:55

with his face almost in his drink, so I knew he was pretty far gone.

1:12:551:12:58

And I sat down next to him and he looked at me.

1:12:581:13:00

"What are you doing here?" And I said, "I have some news for you.

1:13:021:13:05

"You're going to be a dad."

1:13:051:13:07

No reaction whatsoever.

1:13:081:13:09

He just said to me, "Let me finish this bender and I'll come home."

1:13:091:13:13

San Jose was so good because they actually made the effort

1:13:191:13:23

to put him into rehab and to deal with him.

1:13:231:13:26

Take one.

1:13:261:13:28

When things are going badly, it's always a reason or an excuse

1:13:301:13:33

you can say, well, it's a bad day today, it's raining

1:13:331:13:36

or I've just lost money on the horses, or the business is bad.

1:13:361:13:39

You can always find excuses or reasons for having a drink.

1:13:391:13:42

But I was running out of excuses and reasons,

1:13:421:13:45

and things were going so well.

1:13:451:13:47

The baby had arrived and our home was settled

1:13:471:13:50

and I had signed a good contract, but I was still getting drunk

1:13:501:13:53

and still going on binges for four, five, six days, sometimes a week,

1:13:531:13:56

where Angela wouldn't know where I was.

1:13:561:13:58

And I think the thing was that I had look at myself and say,

1:13:581:14:02

"You're a mess here, you know, you're going to blow everything,

1:14:021:14:05

"you're a disaster area."

1:14:051:14:07

That's the hardest part, to stand and look at yourself and say to

1:14:071:14:10

yourself, "You're no good. You know, you've got to get better."

1:14:101:14:13

So, I know it's difficult to say what lies ahead in the future,

1:14:131:14:15

but if you could choose,

1:14:151:14:16

what would you choose for the next couple of years?

1:14:161:14:19

50-50. Six months in America, six months in England.

1:14:191:14:23

-And another baby.

-Oh, you have it!

1:14:231:14:26

I wish I could, I'd have more than one!

1:14:261:14:28

Make a fortune as well.

1:14:281:14:29

It was a fabulous time.

1:14:331:14:35

For me, to be a young woman, with my man that I was smitten with,

1:14:351:14:42

in the sunshine, in a beautiful place.

1:14:421:14:44

And it was magically, perfectly beautiful.

1:14:461:14:49

It was San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium.

1:14:581:15:02

We had just scored a goal that should have been ruled offside.

1:15:021:15:05

George got into a real heated dispute with the referee.

1:15:061:15:11

Now Best is furious with Ian Foot.

1:15:111:15:13

He's going to get a card now.

1:15:131:15:16

-Best gets a yellow card.

-Best will get a card.

1:15:161:15:18

Like T Rex with haemorrhoids, Bestie was going nuts.

1:15:181:15:22

The goal stood, so San Jose gets the ball to kick off.

1:15:231:15:27

So concerned with the officiating

1:15:271:15:29

that their minds are really not on the soccer game

1:15:291:15:31

and then things start going against them

1:15:311:15:33

and the next thing you know, there's a goal.

1:15:331:15:35

I could hear him. I was lining up just on the other side of the circle

1:15:381:15:41

and, "Give me... Just give me the...ball!"

1:15:411:15:45

He started on this slalom, like Alberto Tomba going downhill.

1:15:461:15:51

Slating through the players. I'd never seen balance like this.

1:15:511:15:55

I think one or two of the players had two bites at him.

1:15:551:15:58

Manoeuvring unbelievably.

1:15:581:15:59

Best still has it. I don't believe this.

1:15:591:16:03

That's the greatest soccer goal I've ever seen!

1:16:061:16:08

It was anger, it was inspirational,

1:16:111:16:15

it was a demonstration of everything George had compacted

1:16:151:16:18

throughout his career into that playback, instantly, over time.

1:16:181:16:23

That is the greatest soccer goal I've ever seen.

1:16:231:16:26

Oh, man!

1:16:261:16:28

Outstanding!

1:16:291:16:31

It was still there, but sometimes it needed a big red-hot poker

1:16:311:16:34

pushed into very sensitive place

1:16:341:16:37

for George to call on it, to summon it up.

1:16:371:16:40

Talk about an individual effort!

1:16:401:16:42

This was a virtuoso performance by Best.

1:16:421:16:46

They'll give him the goal and they'll give him three assists!

1:16:461:16:50

These weren't Maldinis, I'll give you that,

1:16:501:16:52

that were defending against him,

1:16:521:16:54

but you go through seven or eight players,

1:16:541:16:57

you ask anybody that's played the game,

1:16:571:16:59

that's an elevation of skill that is just staggering,

1:16:591:17:03

jaw-dropping genius.

1:17:031:17:05

That was really flying. I've never seen one close to that.

1:17:071:17:10

George Best. He did it all by himself.

1:17:101:17:13

A soccer genius.

1:17:131:17:15

We hope you've enjoyed all the action that led to the Budweiser

1:17:151:17:18

Goal of the Year. To soccer fans everywhere, this Bud's for you.

1:17:181:17:22

I think it was a special banquet that was put together

1:17:251:17:28

and George's goal had been given the Budweiser Goal of the Year.

1:17:281:17:31

It was a nice night. It was really my night.

1:17:321:17:35

And I hadn't had a drink for 11 months.

1:17:351:17:37

And I left the presentation with my trophy and put it in the car

1:17:371:17:41

and I went and got drunk in a bar.

1:17:411:17:44

Then went for 22 days on a binge.

1:17:441:17:46

Oh, there were so many sad bits, but I realised it was over...

1:17:591:18:04

I always wanted to look after him, but enough is enough.

1:18:061:18:12

I can't look after both babies.

1:18:121:18:14

The big one's got to go.

1:18:141:18:16

After that, George drank every single day for 30 years.

1:18:181:18:22

That's all I know.

1:18:231:18:24

I think George was looking for a high.

1:18:331:18:35

Playing football in front of all of those

1:18:361:18:39

thousands and thousands of people.

1:18:391:18:41

And I think when that stops, there's kind of like a void in your life.

1:18:411:18:44

In the end he didn't want to stop drinking.

1:18:511:18:53

Or couldn't.

1:18:551:18:56

At one o'clock today, my father has passed away.

1:19:091:19:12

Not only have I lost my dad, but we've all lost a wonderful man.

1:19:131:19:18

And I'd just like to take the time to thank all the well-wishers

1:19:181:19:20

and the fans, and the letters, and the flowers, and the e-mails.

1:19:201:19:23

It all means so much to all of us.

1:19:231:19:26

And that's all I have to say.

1:19:261:19:28

Thank you very much.

1:19:281:19:29

The Belfast boy who came to Manchester United

1:19:351:19:37

with magic in his feet and a self-destruct button in his soul

1:19:371:19:41

died just before one o'clock this afternoon.

1:19:411:19:44

His was a life of bright talent, darkened by drink.

1:19:441:19:47

I never went to see him in hospital.

1:19:491:19:51

I didn't really want to do that anyway.

1:19:531:19:55

I didn't want to see George as he was, you know.

1:19:551:19:57

I wanted to remember him as a person that I played against

1:19:571:20:02

and also had as a great friend. Simple as that.

1:20:021:20:05

I couldn't go and see him in hospital. I couldn't do it.

1:20:051:20:08

Remembering George for what he was, and all that sort of thing.

1:20:091:20:12

And you knew that he was a goner. We knew that he was going to die.

1:20:141:20:17

That was a certainty, that he was...

1:20:171:20:20

Ach, it was just sad.

1:20:201:20:21

Sad.

1:20:221:20:23

I always feel as though we let him down.

1:20:251:20:27

He needed someone to say to him,

1:20:271:20:29

"George, this is what we'll do, this is what we should do.

1:20:291:20:33

"Let's get a plan and let's follow it through. Let's do this."

1:20:331:20:37

And there was nobody really...that he respected enough,

1:20:381:20:44

with the right plan.

1:20:441:20:45

It's impossible, of course, to tell the George Best story

1:20:471:20:50

only in terms of his spectacular talent on the field.

1:20:501:20:53

Off it, his was a life besieged by alcoholism.

1:20:531:20:56

Drink brought him trouble with managers and with the law.

1:20:561:21:00

He even served two months in prison in 1984 for drink-driving.

1:21:001:21:04

But he couldn't stop.

1:21:061:21:07

I married George when I was 23.

1:21:111:21:13

He had a vulnerable side

1:21:151:21:17

and it was almost as though you just

1:21:171:21:18

felt like looking after him,

1:21:181:21:20

like looking after a little child.

1:21:201:21:22

George, sober, was the most fantastic husband you could ask for.

1:21:231:21:27

But, unfortunately, when he was drinking

1:21:281:21:30

it was like two totally different people.

1:21:301:21:33

And the sober George wouldn't have particularly liked the drunk George.

1:21:331:21:38

It was a demon.

1:21:391:21:41

You know, that's why they call it the demon drink.

1:21:411:21:43

Terry, I like screwing, all right?

1:21:431:21:46

All right!

1:21:471:21:49

So, what do you do with your time these days?

1:21:491:21:53

-Screw.

-I see.

1:21:531:21:54

Ladies and gentlemen, George Best.

1:21:541:21:55

George swears blind that they spiked his drink, but he would do.

1:21:571:22:01

It shows him in the light, that the people who don't like him

1:22:011:22:05

would like to see him.

1:22:051:22:07

A drunken womaniser, and that's all he came over us.

1:22:091:22:12

And that isn't the sharp, smart Bestie that I know.

1:22:121:22:15

Fortunately that night, he was a happy drunk,

1:22:161:22:19

but he wasn't always a happy drunk.

1:22:191:22:21

George could be particularly violent with drink inside of him.

1:22:211:22:27

It could get pretty bad at times.

1:22:281:22:31

He could become quite aggressive.

1:22:311:22:34

It was...

1:22:341:22:36

It was not nice to witness.

1:22:361:22:37

A couple of times, you know, we did have a few fights.

1:22:391:22:42

And I did end up in hospital a couple of times.

1:22:421:22:45

She picked me up at the airport and she had a black eye.

1:22:451:22:47

I said, "Babes, what is that?"

1:22:501:22:52

They'd both been drunk, had a fight and he punched her.

1:22:521:22:55

And I said, I tried to warn her, I said, "Alex, what are you doing?"

1:22:551:23:02

But, you know, when you're in love, you're in love.

1:23:021:23:05

It was only really when George became sick with his liver disease

1:23:091:23:12

and we moved to Northern Ireland that I had a proper husband.

1:23:121:23:16

We did everything together.

1:23:171:23:18

We decorated the house together. We went shopping together.

1:23:181:23:22

It was absolutely fantastic.

1:23:221:23:23

Deep down, when I knew that he was going to get a liver transplant,

1:23:291:23:32

there was kind of like a little inkling, thinking,

1:23:321:23:35

I really do hope that this is, you know, for ever,

1:23:351:23:39

that he doesn't ever, ever drink again.

1:23:391:23:42

He had his new liver, he's got a beautiful wife,

1:23:441:23:48

he's got his whole life to live for now, because he's been saved.

1:23:481:23:53

And yet he goes back to the alcohol.

1:23:551:23:57

We went to Switzerland with some kids that had transplants.

1:23:591:24:04

And there was this lady there,

1:24:041:24:06

she had had a glass of wine in her hand,

1:24:061:24:08

and George looked and he went, well,

1:24:081:24:10

"She's drinking wine, but she's had a transplant."

1:24:101:24:13

Even after the terrible warning from the doctors

1:24:141:24:17

that one more drink could kill him, the press tracked him down

1:24:171:24:20

to a Surrey Pub, and he fell off the wagon.

1:24:201:24:23

It's one of the saddest things George ever told me.

1:24:231:24:26

After he hadn't drank, I think it was about three years,

1:24:261:24:28

and he had started again and we were sitting down

1:24:281:24:31

and I said, "What happened, George?"

1:24:311:24:32

He said, "Do you know what?"

1:24:321:24:34

He said, "There's not one day in the last three years

1:24:341:24:36

"that I hadn't thought about drinking,"

1:24:361:24:38

which I found really sad, because I thought he was doing so well.

1:24:381:24:41

It was kind of like watching a soap opera untangle

1:24:431:24:46

right in front of you.

1:24:461:24:47

And people find that interesting.

1:24:471:24:50

And the more pressure it was putting on George,

1:24:501:24:52

the more he drank and the worse it got.

1:24:521:24:54

Yeah, it was a tough one.

1:24:551:24:57

There was no doubt that there were times when he had done things wrong

1:25:031:25:06

and all the rest of it, and we cashed in on it.

1:25:061:25:09

We made a lot of money out of the newspapers,

1:25:101:25:12

because they wanted to use him anyway

1:25:121:25:14

and I was firmly of the opinion that if they were going to use him,

1:25:141:25:18

they were going to pay us.

1:25:181:25:19

I actually took the picture which,

1:25:301:25:33

I certainly regret doing it now, you know, it was done for a reason.

1:25:331:25:38

We had a contract with the News of the World to do a story

1:25:381:25:41

with them, when we came home, so it was money, really,

1:25:411:25:46

and George was quite happy to show the world what drink had done.

1:25:461:25:52

I never ever believed

1:25:531:25:55

that that would be the last picture taken of George.

1:25:551:25:57

It was tremendous to see the respect of the people of Northern Ireland.

1:26:041:26:07

It must have been something between a quarter of a million,

1:26:071:26:10

half a million people, out on the road. And George would have loved that.

1:26:101:26:14

He would have envisaged that as a proper send-off.

1:26:141:26:18

They named an airport after him.

1:26:191:26:21

Staggering, really, for a footballer.

1:26:231:26:26

Everybody in Northern Ireland was so proud of George at the end

1:26:261:26:29

of the day. And that was one of the saddest things,

1:26:291:26:31

because nobody thought George would go in the direction that he went in.

1:26:311:26:36

And he was just so well liked.

1:26:361:26:38

Sad, isn't it, when somebody kind of...

1:26:401:26:43

..sabotages themselves really.

1:26:481:26:50

But not wilfully, obviously.

1:26:511:26:53

I mean, I think he was a victim of his excess.

1:26:531:26:58

Everybody had wanted him to do better.

1:27:041:27:07

Everybody had tried to help him.

1:27:071:27:10

But he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to live it on his terms

1:27:111:27:16

and burn the candle all too quickly.

1:27:161:27:19

He came up with the expression, "Just remember me for my football."

1:27:221:27:27

Because he had to find a reason to deflect away from

1:27:271:27:30

who and what he had become.

1:27:301:27:33

What would you want people to think of you?

1:27:341:27:36

Well, I know what they will think.

1:27:381:27:41

They'll forget all the rubbish when I'm gone

1:27:411:27:44

and they'll remember the football.

1:27:441:27:47

It's as simple as that.

1:27:471:27:49

You know, I don't give a toss about everything else.

1:27:491:27:51

As long as they remember the football.

1:27:511:27:53

And if only one person thinks I was the best player in the world,

1:27:531:27:55

that will do for me, because that's what it was all about

1:27:551:27:58

as far as I'm concerned.

1:27:581:27:59

Oh, that's a forlorn hope.

1:27:591:28:01

I mean, none of us is entitled to ask for that.

1:28:011:28:05

To think people can look upon it as a career perfectly executed

1:28:061:28:10

would be madness.

1:28:101:28:13

You've just got to hope that the glorious stuff in George's career

1:28:131:28:18

far outweighs and outshines the rubbish and, to me, it does.

1:28:181:28:24

And George Best going through here!

1:28:241:28:26

Yes, it must be for George Best!

1:28:281:28:29

Georgie Best has done it!

1:28:311:28:32

I remember once in the hospital in America,

1:28:361:28:38

there was an Irish guy had become a counsellor,

1:28:381:28:40

and had been dry for something like 20-odd years.

1:28:401:28:43

And he said, the way I looked at it was like you have got a choice

1:28:431:28:46

of switching the light off or on.

1:28:461:28:48

He said it sounds oversimplified, but that's it.

1:28:481:28:50

And one day he said, you'd better decide whether you want the light

1:28:501:28:53

to keep shining or you want to switch it off.

1:28:531:28:55

The story of the reserved young prodigy from Northern Ireland who became a global superstar.

This is the feature-length documentary exploring the remarkable life of the footballer George Best.