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.
He goes round Enrique. He must score.
And the crowd rising to Best.
Here comes Best again.
-What a player this boy is. He's got another!
I'm taking my new baby for a check-up.
It's raining and it's miserable.
It's like a movie.
The windscreen wipers are going and I'm really happy
because I've got my little baby next to me...
..and I see this man walking down the centre of the road,
down the yellow lines.
And this poor man is all hunched over, soaking wet and I think, oh,
my God, that poor homeless tramp.
Then I realise it's my husband.
Drunk as a skunk, walking down the road, soaking wet,
obviously staggering home,
and I just keep driving.
Taking my baby to the doctor.
I'm done. I'm done.
He was out of reach in so many ways.
Out of reach of not just his mates who wanted to help,
and perhaps tried to. Out of reach of defenders, of coaches,
of his ladies, of his wife.
A true story of Shakespearean tragedy.
Sad, isn't it? When somebody sabotages themselves, really.
I think he was a victim of his excess.
For a time there, he was the best player in the world.
You can't describe the feeling.
You know, this little skinny 15-year-old kid from Belfast
has been invited to one of the biggest clubs in the world
for a trial.
The furthest I think I'd ever been out of Belfast was to Bangor,
which was about 15 miles down the road.
I just seen him going out of my life into a country
that he knew nothing about.
Wondered what he would do because of him being so shy and backward.
He was very frail.
I went off with Eric McMordie, another young lad.
Because it was such a footballing city,
I'd heard about him before I'd actually seen him.
His reputation then was already growing.
Manchester United, the name itself is frightening.
The first thing that struck me was the size of everybody.
We were two little kids, but when we looked at people like Harry Gregg,
he looked like a monster to us.
George went very quiet and I said to him, George,
how did you feel, type of thing, and before he could answer I thought I'd
better tell him and be honest with him exactly how I felt.
He just said to me, 'Do you want to go home?'
You know, we'd been there half a day or something.
He said, I think I'd be better going home as well, Eric.
We decided yeah, we didn't want to be away from home, and really,
we didn't think we were going to make it.
I think it was just the fact the two of us hadn't been very far
in life, really, and found it extremely difficult.
It's very, very hard for kids at 14 or 15 to leave home
and not have their parents to turn to and ask advice from.
When I came home, my brothers happened to say to me,
"You've given one of the best opportunities of your life up."
We all make mistakes in life and that was a mistake, a great mistake.
On the fringe of a Munich airport lies the wreckage of an airliner.
Still smouldering from a crash in which 21 people were killed.
Tragedy enough at any time,
but in that plane were a group of young men
who were almost the personal friends of millions.
the finest soccer team Britain has produced since the war.
I was playing with Celtic then.
I was only a kid on the reserve team.
I remember going training on a Thursday night.
It was only when we got to Celtic Park that we realised
the number of players that more or less were dead
and some of them that were near death.
That's like the John Kennedy assassination.
Everybody remembers that date
and everyone remembers the date of Munich.
Here is the news.
The aircraft is a twin-engined Elizabethan on charter from BEA.
It was returning from Belgrade,
where Manchester United had entered the semifinal of the European Cup.
Manchester United was the big name that everybody knew because of this
European Cup, that had come into being at that time.
Next to the World Cup, this was THE competition to be in.
Manchester, from the moment the news came through,
was a city in mourning.
It was as though every family in a city
of three quarters of a million people had suffered a personal loss.
It was of such epic proportions at that time.
What, 23 died?
To me, they were everything.
I mean, because they were a young side,
most teams were full of old men.
These were blokes who could've been my older brother.
Matt Busby was their worst problem.
For two days he lay between life and death with one of his lungs
completely deflated. Then came the welcome news,
Matt was off the danger list.
I knew something terrible had happened.
My wife was there.
I said to her, you have to tell me what has happened.
So when I went through the names,
she either nodded her head or tossed her head like that.
One really has to think football's going to go on,
the club is going to manage.
There are certain players that we know are survivors
and I think with the help of a lot of the young fellows
they have at Manchester United, then this Manchester United team
will build itself again.
I have lovely memories of home.
We were never well off and I was the first of six, eventually.
My father was an iron turner in the shipyards.
My mother always had part-time jobs.
She worked in an ice cream factory, a cigarette factory, anything,
just to bring a few extra bob in.
The sports freak in the family really was my mother.
She was a hockey player.
A very, very good hockey player and actually represented her country.
I remember as a young kid, I used to go and watch her play.
He walked before he was ten months old and he always had the ball,
even at ten months old.
And ever from that, he's played it right from ten months.
The living room, bedroom, any place at all.
Took the ball to bed.
My whole life revolved around football.
When I got home, poor mum and dad,
they thought I'd done something wrong.
They couldn't understand why I'd come home after a day.
I felt I'd let my mum and dad down,
so they contacted the club and spoke to Sir Matt.
Sir Matt said, we'd like him to come back and try again.
I'd gone there just three years after Munich.
No-one really talked about the air crash.
It wasn't taboo.
People that had been involved in it who were still at the club really
didn't want to discuss it, which you can understand, really.
It was only a couple of years after Munich that George arrived.
My mum, a widow,
she was talked into taking in footballers from Old Trafford.
He was treated as a son.
If he stepped out of line, I mean, she'd tell him, same as she tell me.
She was a typical landlady, you know?
She became my second mum, looked after me and tried to protect me
as much as she could.
You did your training and in the afternoons
you were cleaning the boots of your heroes.
It was exciting, it really was.
I went to watch a youth match at Old Trafford one day
and this kid's playing outside left for United
and I'm sitting beside Jack Crompton,
who was the first team trainer.
I'm struck, you know, right?
God Almighty, what's this?
And I turned to Jack Crompton, I says, "Who's the kid?"
"Oh, it's George Best. We're try to keep it quiet."
We're trying to keep him quiet and let nobody know about him.
I says, well, you're going to make a big mistake because everybody's seen
him on the pitch. You've no chance.
He's was just sensational.
I'd never seen anything like him.
And you know something? You never met a nicer lad.
Quiet, wrote to his parents every week
to tell them how things were going and all that.
I got to know him exceptionally well, George, and what a lovely lad.
In Northern Ireland is George Best,
the Manchester United boy from Cregagh district of Belfast
who has done so well since he went in the team.
George, tell me about yourself.
Well, I've always been interested in football
since I was a youngster and the first I ever played
was at Lisnasharragh school in the school's teams
and I played for Cregagh Boys Club and a Manchester United scout
seen me playing for Cregagh and invited me for trials
with Manchester United.
At first when I went over,
I only stayed a couple of days and I was homesick and I came back home.
But my father, he had a talk with Matt Busby,
and they said they'd give me another chance,
so I went back and stayed since then.
This one particular day, it was my day off,
it was a Wednesday and Wednesday morning
I ended up going to a cafe called the Kardomah,
and I noticed George Best sat on his own in a corner.
He'd just come back from Belfast, where he'd been homesick.
We were just two lads who were lost in a big city
and we were a bit lonely and we just spoke to each other
and we got on very well. We never spoke about football.
The relationship that we had was very, very close.
It really was about two young lads who were lost, really.
Once he got over the shyness, he was one of the lads,
like all the rest of us.
We'd go to the pictures together.
On a Sunday evening George would come along to bingo at the church
and then we'd go out with my mum in the local pub
and we were allowed a shandy each.
In that early period, we were good boys.
We'd be in bed for 11, 12 o'clock at night,
after the dot on the television.
I always remember coming home from work and my mum said,
'You're not going to believe it'. So I said, 'What?'
She said, 'George is playing today.'
When I actually made my debut, I'd been playing in the A team,
not even in the reserves,
and I had no thoughts in my head that I was going to play.
But Sir Matt said, "You're playing today, son,"
and that was it.
The funny thing, I wasn't nervous.
I just couldn't wait to get out there.
I was born with something and I didn't have to work very hard at it.
If I was playing against a player in particular
who was giving me a hard time and he was getting stuck in,
I would stand on the ball and tell him to come and get it off me
and the crowd went crazy, and I loved it.
George became addicted to football.
He spent every possible hour developing his abilities
and just enjoying it, and almost having, one would imagine,
transcendental experiences when he found what he could do
on a football park.
He put the ball through my leg, and he did it again.
And he did it a third time.
And I said,
"Son, if you do that again, I'll break your bloody neck."
Oh, he's going to get number five.
Beautiful football by George Best.
The boy with the Beatle haircut.
I'd only been away from Belfast for two years
and I played for one of the greatest club sides of all time
when I was 17.
There's more... And it's 3-0!
And Manchester United just carving this Arsenal team apart.
The times I saw him playing and I played against him,
he was coming on the field pulling his socks up, doing his boots up.
It was as if you were going home from school and you were just,
you went in the house and put your other shoes on
and took your uniform off and went out and played football.
That's how he was. Perfect footballer.
And it's a magnificent goal.
What a magnificent goal!
Truly brilliant football by Best.
Sheer brilliant individual effort there by Best.
There are boys that would come to this club from leaving school
and you get a tremendous kick out of a boy coming,
and eventually coming through and making himself a top-class player
and, of course, you get a tremendous sense of seeing a boy achieving
this, and you get a tremendous sense of achievement yourself.
The affinity was a father and son affinity
between George and Sir Matt.
Sir Matt just loved him to bits.
From the first time I met him, even though I was a kid,
I knew I was in the presence of someone
who was a little bit special.
He became such an important figure because of the way he treated you
and the way he wanted to play football.
He wanted to play the way I think it should be played.
We didn't really have team talks.
He basically threw the ball to us and said, go out and enjoy yourself.
And it really was just, sheer enjoyment.
It's like being in control of anything,
if you think you are the best at it,
whether it's acting or singing or whatever,
it's nice to go out there knowing or feeling
that you are better than anyone else.
From winning the Youth Cup in '64 and '65, the League.
It seemed like it was never going to end.
It was just getting better and better.
Because of the Munich crash everyone at Old Trafford,
particularly people who had been there during that time,
their dream, of course, was to win the European Cup.
That was the aim. From Munich, the aim was to win that cup,
for the fans, the players, Matt Busby, everybody.
It was Manchester United's obsession.
We played the first leg and beat them 3-2 at Old Trafford
and we'd gone there to play them.
They hadn't lost for years and years at home.
Benfica, playing all in white, kick off.
Matt was always a great believer in, for the first 10-15 minutes
of every game, just keep it tight,
quieten the crowd
because there'd be 100-odd thousand people at the game.
Beautifully intercepted by Best.
Great little player this boy is.
Quieten the crowd and then start from there.
Quick goal essential for Benfica
if they want to get back into this game.
Trail 3-2 from the first leg.
Tony Dunne was our left-back and Tony wasn't the longest kicker
of the ball you ever met in your life and George was outside
and I said, "George, George, push over to that left-hand side.
"Tony will never get it. He'll struggle to get it into the box."
That was the free kick. Up goes Best, he scores!
Best has got a goal for Manchester United!
That was my genius.
That's my claim to fame from now on.
I made that first goal by telling George
Tony couldn't kick it that far.
After seven minutes played, Manchester United fans go mad.
Best puts them in the lead.
Georgie went daft!
Here comes Best again.
What a player this boy is, he's got another!
What a player!
"Don't obey orders, George, do what you want to do."
He was incredible.
This is going to be a rout!
The bigger the stage, the more I enjoyed it.
It didn't get any bigger than Benfica.
The control of this boy.
It was 90 minutes of almost perfection.
He just ran them ragged, won the game for them.
The night George became a different person was the night
that George scored two goals against Benfica.
The fact that the child that the world hadn't really known about
up to that time, on that night, became the legend
that was George Best.
Although George was the absolute star of that performance
it wasn't enough to send Man United on their way
to winning the European Cup.
We beat Benfica 5-1, then we lost in the semifinal.
That was a blow because we thought we were going to win it that year.
But George was just sensational.
You know when you go abroad sometimes and you do something daft,
like if it's Spain, you buy a big hat as well.
And he bought it for a laugh, George, more than anything.
He didn't think for one minute it was going to be worldwide picture in
the paper or anything like that.
He just, for a laugh, wore this big sombrero.
When George wore that thing, I remember saying, George,
great people don't need gimmicks.
In those days, footballers were always back page stuff.
Front page, no.
When George became the star that he was,
he became the front page as well as the back page.
He was capable of producing a remarkable performance
against Benfica that had an accelerating effect
on the granting of pop star status to George.
He became a pop star footballer.
You got the Rolling Stones,
you got all the pop groups, but he was a footballer.
There was just something special about him.
It was like an Elvis Presley,
like a young Paul McCartney, where they just had that special look.
And I could understand why girls would be very much enamoured
with him, apart from him being the good-looking bastard he was.
Girls wouldn't leave him alone until they had a date with him.
Unfortunately, didn't last very long.
Not many relationships lasted very long with George.
I think so, yes. Weekends is...
That's your mates laughing at you.
Weekends is really the only time, you know, I can let go.
I was still only 19, and it became sort of total madness.
A lot of things happened to him,
that didn't happen to players before.
If that happened nowadays they would be clamping down on it
and trying to get help to the player.
Get out of the way, come on.
Maybe if his family had lived in England at that particular time,
I know Matt tried to get his family over but they wouldn't leave.
That must have been a difficult period of time. You're a single lad,
you can't go anywhere, the media are after you, women are chasing him,
all sorts of things. It must have been very difficult.
George, how did you get into this boutique business?
I used to get a bit fed up, in the afternoons, with nothing else to do.
I mean, once we finish training,
I was walking about town and I hadn't a clue what to do.
I was getting quite a bit of publicity so I thought,
try and put it to an advantage.
Does running two boutiques affect your football in any way?
Not really. I don't let anything interfere with
the football because it's put me where I am so
I can't really afford to let anything get in the way of it.
And you join us at Windsor Park,
Belfast, in perfect footballing weather as two teams,
Ireland and Scotland, come on side-by-side.
Georgie Best, one of the key men in the Irish side.
He could win the match on his own.
George became the first boy, basically,
who, what I call, was a superstar in football.
His nickname in the Ireland team was 007.
Because that's how he lived.
Best is the most dynamic marksman on the pitch today.
Everybody got on particularly well with him.
There was nothing where he thought he was better than anybody else.
Here he goes again.
I think that ball is tied to his feet.
The Ireland team in particular had wonderful, wonderful times.
George Best, the star of this game,
has turned in another brilliant performance.
The crowd rise to Ireland.
I still think he has enough sense, you know, to know what he's doing.
As I say, he's not a child any longer.
To me, now, he's a man, and I think he should have a bit of sense now.
What about girls, Mrs Best?
I just leave that up to the lad himself.
He must know the good girls from the bad ones, and I hope that he,
when he does decide to marry or take a girl,
only would be sensible enough to take one that can look after him.
Not one that's just wanting him for his looks, for his money,
because he has a name. I'd like to see him settling well
and making a real home for himself and a family,
what have you, you know?
But not one that's just after him for the name.
The very first time I met him was in a club in Manchester.
I mean, I knew who he was but to be honest,
I was living in London at that time and I was writing films
so I was involved in a completely different world.
He was gorgeous. You know, he was a sweet boy,
We were very much in love.
George did talk about marriage to me but it was so early
in our relationship, we were still swinging from the chandeliers.
His football was the most important thing to him.
He loved his football, he loved to train, he loved to play,
he loved to show off. I mean, show off on the football field.
So that was his focus.
The rest of it was just a bit of fun and came naturally.
Do you think, in fact, George, if professional football came to an end
tomorrow you'd still want to play football seriously every week?
I'd still play it, I play for anybody.
And anyone that wanted me. I'd still play it.
You just think you couldn't live without it?
-I couldn't. It's impossible.
-Do you not feel on the other hand, Pat,
that there is a very real danger that when you finish with all this
tremendous drama of sport at this level, that the rest of your life is
-liable to be an anti-climax?
-I think it is hard to say
what the rest of your life is going to be like at the moment,
probably, at our stage,
but I think if you love football the way I love it, and I know George
loves it, it would be a terrible anti-climax.
I think most players dread the day
when you've got to hang up your boots. I know I will.
I'll go out and commit suicide, I think.
They wanted to win Europe.
We certainly believe we can win it in '68.
We nearly won it in '66, but we believed we could win it in '68.
We've got to win it this year.
That is bigger than any other trophy for us, Manchester United fans,
and the club, I think.
That was the goal.
Absolutely gorgeous day, a gorgeous evening.
100,000 expectant fans pack the stands to see great football.
The fact that it was at Wembley, yeah, was special anyway.
The first English side to get there, and after the Munich disaster.
Nobody mentioned Munich.
That never got a mention.
Lots of people were thinking about it, of course.
That would be on everybody's minds.
But nobody mentioned it.
Skipper Bobby Charlton,
and for manager Matt Busby this was the great occasion of their lives.
Number seven. One man who just needs no identification.
I've never known such tension in Wembley Stadium before.
This is a tremendous emotional occasion.
United, playing in blue, kick off.
George Best was in terrific form.
But so was Henrique.
What a tonic for the fans. United one up in the 55th minute.
One all, and time running out.
I don't know why, but we were so sure
of winning you wouldn't believe it.
Every one of us knew we were going to win the game.
Until the 91st minute when Alex made that save.
Eusebio! Oh, what a save by Stepney!
Eusebio, if you had given him the same chance 100 times
he would stick it away 99 times and, fortunately for us, he didn't.
90 minutes up, and still deadlock.
I think it woke us up a little bit. It gave us a little bit of a jolt.
And we thought we could have lost it.
I remember Matt getting us all down and talking to us.
"Don't give the ball away, because it's such a warm night.
"Don't give the ball away.
"They're a very tired team.
"In fact, all get up on your feet.
"You're not lying down. Get on your feet now.
"Look at them. They're shattered."
And so on into the first half of extra time.
Went into extra time and all of a sudden,
we did what all great sides can do.
We changed gear.
Shouldn't imagine that anyone will want to run about.
Over much time as extra time.
Sensible players will withhold, will conserve their energy.
Best. Oh, he's got a great chance!
Oh, he must!
I still have dreams about the split-second where everything
almost stood still.
100,000 people. I mean, I knew I was going to score,
but in that split-second between going past him
and it going into the net, something might go wrong.
A chance here for George Best. George Best is through.
He goes round Henrique. He must score, George Best must score!
George Best has scored!
Second minute of extra time,
George Best has put Manchester United into the lead.
He simply walked the ball into the net.
What a goal! United in the lead.
I was the first player that met him,
that crashed into him when we were, obviously, jumping up and down.
And then he scored the second goal, because we knew that was the winner.
We knew that was it.
The Busby Babes were raring to go.
They hammered Benfica.
Watch this fantastic goal.
But were United finished?
Not on your life.
Bobby Charlton made it 4-1.
Manchester United had well and truly done it.
They were supreme soccer champions of Europe.
We have achieved the ultimate.
We've won the big one. And did it the first time out as well.
My first hero.
I still see his face after the game.
At last Matt Busby, the maestro of Manchester United,
had groomed a team great enough to beat Europe's best.
How they cheered as Bobby Charlton led his men
up to receive the handsome, outsized trophy.
I can remember quite a lot of the games and incidents in the games.
I can't remember anything about after the game.
I don't know where we went to celebrate,
I don't know where I went. To this day I can't remember.
He always maintained to me that at the height of it all,
after he was in the shower after the European Cup final, he said,
"I immediately went on a downer,
because I thought I may never in my life ever experience this again."
He came probably about 11-ish or something.
He was a bit subdued.
It was so emotional for him and for Matt Busby
and for people like Bobby Charlton who had been on the plane,
you know, that crashed.
After all those setbacks and all those years that had passed,
and they finally, you know, got the Holy Grail or something, you know,
and then, yeah, and then what? I guess there must have been
a feeling of, "And now what?" You know.
For a man of 22 at the height of his powers,
to think that was as good as it gets,
there's something wrong with him.
I met a young lady. I mean, she probably saved my life,
because, you know, she brought some stability to my life.
When he was my best man, he was absolutely marvellous.
He did everything perfectly.
He was brilliant. But Tina always said to me, she said,
"I could never imagine George being an old man, like you!"
May I have your autograph, please, Mr Best? I seen you on telly.
And I've seen you on telly. You're Aunt Et's nephew, aren't you?
-Remember that last match in Spain?
Terrible game. Didn't have an egg for breakfast.
-Well, there you are.
-I always play better when I have had my E for B.
E for B, and be your best.
Cool. So I play centre forward, you know.
E for B and Georgie Best!
Can I have my kiss now, please?
Commercially, he was really the first.
Well, he was unprecedented.
He had no real support, if you like.
What the man means is, Cookstown are the best family sausages.
It was a step into the unknown. Nobody knew what they were doing.
Nobody knew how big he was going to be,
or what he could do commercially.
We anticipated that we would sell in the region of 2,000 pairs.
We, in point of fact, sold 28,000 pairs.
David Beckham can say thank-you to George,
because George Best was the first professional footballer
to become a fashion icon.
They made a lot of mistakes along the way and I can
understand why, because you just didn't know what was involved.
The thing with George was that he didn't really want to do it.
That was the thing.
Unless there were girls involved.
And, usually, the photo shoots did involve girls,
so he used to do them.
Men's grooming aids, real masculine.
Aftershave, hairspray, talc.
The lot. Fore brings out the best in a man.
The early start of the season means a timely shot in the arm
for millions of fans who miss even a few days
without their favourite relaxation.
It was a chance to see how the European champions would fare
against their traditional Merseyside opponents, Everton.
With their European triumph,
United have set themselves a terrifically high standard.
When we won the European Cup, everybody said,
"This is the start of something beautiful and wonderful."
That is what makes this slip of a lad
one of the great players - sheer speed.
That's when Matt decided that he was going to retire.
I went to the board and mentioned that I felt,
in the best interests of the club, that I should give up
all things appertaining to team management.
And they accepted with reluctance
and immediately appointed me general manager.
I think he got tired. I mean, he had achieved it.
Still a great man, but it was time for someone else to come in.
To follow Matt Busby?
God Almighty. God Almighty.
We had been so used to the one man at Manchester United.
A great, great manager.
You know, how do you replace him? And they tried.
Will you refer all your decisions to Sir Matt?
Well, I think that's why he has relinquished the team duties,
to let somebody else have those decisions
and make those decisions.
I was 22.
And I wasn't going to reach my peak for another seven or eight years.
It's an own goal by Sadler.
After losing Sir Matt, the team started to disintegrate very,
very quickly. From going out week in, week out,
not ever thinking we were going to lose a game,
we were starting to go out thinking we were going to lose,
or knowing we were going to lose to certain sides, which was a disaster.
I started to have a lot of doubts about what was going on
within the club, which hurt me, you know,
because Manchester United had been my whole life.
The team weren't playing particularly well.
In fact, I think, you know, they did go on a bit of a downward spiral,
so that must have been really heartbreaking for him.
He wasn't big-headed, but he wasn't falsely modest, either.
He knew his worth as a footballer.
He felt that they should have been building a younger team around him.
Collins' header, that was.
Comes to Best.
And it's there. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!
I personally felt I was still doing it on the field.
But what's the good in me going out there and being top goal-scorer
this season if we're finishing
19th in the league and 13th in the league?
George was starting to get strange things into his head.
Doing certain things that he basically had never done before,
and continued to go through a spell after that
which was really the start of the downfall.
And now, is Best going to have his name taken?
Ungentlemanly conduct, the book is out...
I think quite honestly, if you start throwing mud at the referee,
even today, I think you're going to be sent off, really, in a way,
George was starting to make his own rules up
a little bit as it went along.
George Best is the mercury of Manchester United.
Banned a month, a long time for a footballer.
It was the constant expectations of the fans.
They've got to see George Best play fantastic every week.
That's a difficult burden to carry.
I think we all just depended on him,
and expected him to do it week in and week out.
Once the football was...
the enjoyment of that was taken away,
I started looking for things to replace the excitement
that I got from football.
He was the star of the club scene, and a bit of a pop idol.
His fondness for drink was bound to become
more than just a leisure activity.
I always thought the only time he took a drink was to bolster
his confidence. He was so shy, and George found it difficult
to talk to people. But a drink made him confident.
It was the '60s. People were drinking, you know,
he was drinking, I was drinking. And it just gradually became a problem.
You want more and more and more, there's no satisfaction.
Why do you want more? Because you're not satisfied.
Why are you not satisfied?
Because you're seeking happiness in things
that can't give you happiness.
You know, like alcohol, or sex, or whatever the thing is,
when you become addicted, there's no happiness there.
He started missing training.
That was a nightmare, a disaster, all the things you want to call it.
George had a few pals in Manchester,
and a couple of pals that were United fans,
that should have known a bit better and maybe given him a kick up the
backside, and said, "You should be in training.
"It's important for Manchester United, it's important for you."
I'm saying, blame his pals,
but then you can only point the finger at one person at the end,
and that's George.
And it was downhill on a toboggan after that.
It wasn't as if it was a slow downhill, it was...
The white one with the brown, and, er...
Stripes at the bottom, please. We've got them with their ties on.
At the beginning when I was with him, he would go to training.
But then gradually, he started to miss training.
And I mean sometimes, I'd get Matt Busby on the phone ringing up,
saying, "Is George with you? And he's not turned up,
"and isn't it time you two got married?"
And all this kind of thing, you know.
I'd say, what do you what me to do? You know?
Do you see any kind of permanent relationship here, Jackie?
I mean, would you like to marry him?
I don't know. I haven't told him, so I don't see why I should tell you!
Well, if Jackie wasn't there, it was...
Unfortunately he wasn't the most faithful animal in the world,
and of course, very difficult to keep up a relationship where,
from her part, the trust wasn't there.
And she knew the temptations that were there for him.
I had a tremendous amount of relationships,
because I suppose I was in a position to.
I was getting a lot of publicity, I had plenty of money,
and I went to the sort of functions where there were always plenty of beautiful women around.
He'd gone from being quite a fresh and sweet boy
to starting to become quite jaded, and I think, you know,
because of the alcohol and girls throwing themselves at him.
If you imagine you're in a sweet shop
and you're eating sweets all the time, you're going to get sick.
It's fun at first, but then you get sick.
And I think it became like that with everything.
He was very fond of Jackie,
and I think it's a pity that relationship never continued.
Once your trust has been betrayed, you can't really get that back.
I can't see any future in this.
There was far more focus on him than any other player in the country.
Once you get that cross-fertilisation
between football and showbiz, then you're going to heighten interest
in everything you're up to.
On face value, it looks like you have everything.
The money's coming in, you're doing something you love,
the adulation is there.
Here's the record! There it is!
What a way to come back into big-time football, Georgie Best!
The whole thing just became a total nightmare.
They stopped writing about the football
and writing about my private life, which is nothing to do with them.
Have you any idea why he didn't do any training during the week?
I... I really don't know, I don't know...
Carolyn, are you going to marry George Best?
No, that was a rumour.
Best's frenetic social life had been chronicled with the sort of
thoroughness that is usually reserved for the Burtons.
Many people were at once bored and fascinated by the saga.
Almost everybody had an opinion about what was wrong with Georgie,
or what should be done about him.
Do you feel sorry for George Best?
No, not in the least, no.
Got plenty of money, hasn't he? He's been very silly, I think.
I think he's selfish, and always has been.
Be better if he got his hair cut and got his whiskers off.
That's my opinion of him.
You ask most of the people who come to Old Trafford, George Best,
all the time.
It was the constant changes of managers
that was getting to the fans, not so much George.
It was like, "not another manager".
Frank O'Farrell, what are your feelings as you take over this job?
I feel optimistic. I feel that inevitably,
this club will again win honours.
How soon I can't say at the present time, obviously.
The stability went, and I think that's what the fans saw,
not that George is the big bad boy.
It hurts me a lot, when I listen to stories.
On one occasion, I was standing having a drink with one man,
and he was actually ridiculing George to me,
in a football conversation. And he left the bar that night,
and he still didn't know that I was George's mum.
He brought a lot of pressure on the family.
He brought them a lot of pressure that they didn't know how to handle.
And I think George was hurt about that.
The effect it has on your family, when you become famous.
My poor old mother couldn't handle it.
My dad, he's as strong as an ox, and he's got a strong character,
but my mum couldn't handle it.
And for a long time I blamed myself, I thought it was me.
But I'd been away from home since I was 15,
and I certainly couldn't look after her,
because I was having enough problems
looking after myself, and failing most of the time.
The Best family, they were absolutely wonderful people, beautiful.
They had to face part of that, which was not very pleasant for them.
No-one at Old Trafford has seen George Best
since Manchester United's 3-0 defeat at West Ham last Saturday.
Other members of the team have been training daily,
but there's been no sign of the talented
but temperamental Irishman.
The announcement of Best's suspension
was made by United's general manager, Sir Matt Busby,
at the club's ground at Old Trafford at lunchtime today.
Friday morning, hadn't heard a thing.
Saturday, Sunday and this morning.
In fact you've no idea where he is, Sir Matt?
I couldn't tell you whether he was in Manchester
or whether he's in England, London, I couldn't tell you.
I've had no contact. He's made no contact.
And as I said to all the lads this morning, he knows where to find me.
The door's there waiting for him.
I'm not going looking for George Best.
If Matt Busby hasn't been prepared to chase after George Best,
there have been plenty of journalists who have,
and after a search which has gone on in London and Manchester all day,
it's at last been established that he's here at this flat in Islington,
north London. It's the home of a 22-year-old actress, Sinead Cusack.
And it's known that over the last few days,
she's listened to a lot of George Best's complicated
and apparently incomprehensible troubles,
the troubles that have given rise to such strange conduct
over the last few days.
It turned into one of those mad sieges.
It wasn't planned.
I think he just said, "Where am I going to run to?"
And that's where he went, but everybody followed him there.
It was no mad, crazy love affair or anything.
He got frustrated and angry with the team,
and angry with himself for not being able to do what he could do best.
But then, we're drinking now, we're seriously drinking now.
First of all, he's got to find out who his friends are.
Do you think he's made mistakes...?
I think that he's got so many hangers-on, it's a joke.
And I tell you what, when you've got genuine friends and when you're in
trouble, you can go to them and they'll help you.
And you need a lot of help in football.
And at the moment, George Best needs help.
I don't think he showed the same respect to football as he showed,
maybe has shown, a couple of years ago.
It's come to a point now with George, he's reached the apex,
he's got to go either that way or that way.
-And I think he'll have to work very hard to go that way.
Right, George, you have your say, son.
Well, firstly, I've apologised to Mr Busby and the United club,
for the way I behaved over the weekend,
which was completely wrong, and I know it was.
You're going to have to serve this suspension,
and you say you're taking a couple of days off.
Are you confident that when this time has passed, you'll be back,
George Best that we knew before?
Well, I'm going to try,
try as hard as I can, to get back to where I was before.
Probably the first big mistake you made was ever to leave
Mrs Fullaway's house and have your rather expensive
and spacious place...
Do you think that's true, looking back?
It wouldn't have been true if I hadn't, at the time,
been public property.
The first time I saw it, I thought, my God, what have you had built?
It looked awful. But God, it's nice inside.
It had everything that a young bloke would want, snooker room,
every modern gadget you could wish to have.
Bearing in mind, we'd only just had colour television a couple of years
earlier, you know. So, anything that moved without you touching it
was an amazing thing.
The remote control in our house was my mother.
Very nice for its time.
It was wonderful, but for him there rattling about on his own,
He didn't like his own company.
He didn't like to be on his own.
How do you say, I think you're making a mistake?
He wanted this house to have a quiet time and be by himself.
But he did lots of things which really was the opposite
to what he had been saying he really wanted.
You know, he always told me that he didn't like people recognising him,
and yet he had a Rolls-Royce with GB on it, you know, George Best!
And he actually would take it to the football stadiums as well!
He never really sat down and said, what do you think?
What do you think we should do? Do you think we should...?
How do you think we should play this?
It was always... He always seemed to know,
and always seemed to have that vision
that he knew what he was doing.
And very difficult to get him out of that frame of mind.
That's when he really went off the rails.
Got fed up, properly.
He went off saying he was going to retire.
I mean, God Almighty! He wouldn't be 25 in those days, George.
I mean, he loved playing football. That's what astonished me.
He loved playing football, he loved playing for United.
And then it all of a sudden, stopped.
We went to Marbella, and all the press were hounding him.
Too dramatic a way to do it, really.
He should have been a bit more subtle about it.
It seemed as if someone had taken my enjoyment away from me,
and taken away the only thing that I'd ever wanted to do.
I got totally confused,
because possibly everything had gone too smoothly,
and I'd achieved everything before I was 22.
I think I'd become used to being number one so much
that it frightened me to think that I couldn't be number one.
What sort of pressures do you feel that you've been under?
I don't know, a lot of different reasons.
I feel now like I can't play as I could before.
So, I don't want to play a lower standard than I'm used to myself.
And I don't think I can play to a high standard, so I decided to quit.
Why not? Why can't you play at a high standard any more?
Er... I don't know. Because I'm not physically fit
and I don't think I'm mentally fit to play football.
So I've decided to call it a day.
What's caused it, basically? Strains, pressures, tensions?
I suppose so. Over this last few years, they've got worse, and, er,
maybe I just can't take it.
I built the image in the first place, and it backfired on me.
The whole thing's turned about.
At the moment, how would you describe your mental state?
Er, at the moment, I think I'm a complete wreck.
In every way.
He didn't know where to go.
He was lost. He really was lost.
A few of his friends were concerned
that he might have done something terrible.
We were concerned for him, yes.
Have you absolutely nothing to say to us?
Nothing at all?
-No plans at all that you're going to tell us at this stage?
It was never the same for George, I don't think, after Matt.
It was never the same for him.
Frank O'Farrell came in, Tommy Docherty came in.
Everybody tried everything to try and help him, but...
it was never the same.
It became impossible in the end.
George was saying that they were all letting him down,
but I mean, it was George.
Sir Matt and Pat Crerand felt that George could do us a turn,
which I did as well,
because we weren't blessed with great players at the time.
We brought him back, and it was a disaster, actually.
He played about three or four matches, and...
He'd just gone.
Not being as fit as he should be, not training like he should be.
That's always going to affect you.
And the minute that affects you, forget it, it's gone.
And that's what happened to George. It was gone, then.
And you knew it was the end.
I feel very sorry about the whole thing.
Here is a player extraordinary.
All the talents that one would wish they'd got from the gifts of God
and everything else. And it's a very sad thing.
I had 11 years at one of the greatest football clubs
in the world, and achieved almost everything that was possible.
We won the League twice, won the European Cup,
I was Footballer of the Year in Europe and England.
I was Manchester United's leading goal-scorer for six years.
I did it all at the highest level for a long time.
So you'd be an idiot not to be hurt.
There was a finality about it for him.
Although there would be a lot of other chapters after that,
he wasn't entirely wrong in thinking that, in a very real sense,
the curtain had come down.
It was a curtain that he'd only be peeking through afterwards.
TVS presents NASL Championship Soccer.
Not long ago, a dogfight would attract a bigger crowd
in this country than a soccer game.
But something has happened.
His name is Johan Cruyff...
A retired Brazilian football player named Pele...
Almost anywhere you go in this country these days,
you're likely to find boys AND girls kicking a soccer ball around.
It is the fastest-growing sport in the country.
It was a time that has never been repeated and will never,
ever be repeated, with such a unique league
that attracted the most phenomenal footballers from around the world.
By the time George came here, Pele had already started with the Cosmos,
and they were building a team that really was rivalling
any superstar team in the world at the time.
In Los Angeles, erm, George was the one they chose.
I have a man with me who looks an awful lot like Elton John.
And behind me, the LAPD motorcycle drill team.
My spies tell me
you had something to do with getting a fellow named George Best to come
out of retirement and play for Los Angeles. True?
Er, I don't think I can take hardly any credit for that,
but I know George knew I was involved with,
you know, with the club.
And he came out here. I'm so glad.
It was great for him, because George came out of retirement,
came out here, got himself fit.
I think it's improved him as a player, and it's incredible.
I was still only 29 when I went.
Players like Johann Cruyff was there, Beckenbauer, Pele, Eusebio,
Gordon Banks. A tremendous amount of British players.
I got the pleasure of playing against him, watching him,
and then in the end playing with him.
I mean he had obviously past his best but he was still better than
everybody else, and to play in the same team as him, what a gift.
When we first got there we rented a house.
We were team-mates, roommates,
there was a little bar just round the corner
and the name of the bar was Fat Face Fenner's Falloon,
and we used to hang out in there.
I didn't go there to LA on that day
expecting to sign George Best as a client.
I just said to him, you're going to need some help,
and I'm happy to do it if you want.
And he said yes. So I became George's agent in 1976.
From a commercial point of view, basically, you've touched gold.
He was a lovely fella.
And women just flocked around him like bees on honey.
It was quite an unbelievable experience to see it.
I mean, you see it with pop stars and you kind of expect it,
but he was a pop star in his own right.
And...along came this girl that was a little bit different.
I'm working for Cher, living with her in Beverly Hills.
We get a phone call to the house from a man
called Henry Wynberg, I think it was, Elizabeth Taylor's boyfriend
at the time, and says George would like you to come
to his party in Hermosa Beach.
So he picks me up, drives me down Hermosa Beach.
There's no party.
There's George in his flip-flops and his shorts and his T-shirt
and there's me all dressed up!
And he's sitting at the bar all by himself.
So I thought, "Ah, sweet."
She was a challenge.
She didn't fall all over him and she didn't know who he was
and she wasn't there because it was "George Best".
With Ange, she wasn't in it for the money.
There was none of that involved because he didn't have anything
at the time.
I said to him, why did you come here?
He said, because I want to be on the beach in the sun.
I said, you could have done that in Spain.
He said no, because the English press would have found me.
He had freedom.
He goes in his flip-flops to play football
and then he could finish and go down to his bar, play pool, have a drink.
That was his happiest.
He said to me, "Listen, what do you think about me getting married?"
I said, "If you love her, why don't you do it?"
I thought that would settle him down and he would stay on the,
or closer to, the straight and narrow.
I went to the hairdresser.
First, I looked like a school ma'am,
I had this long grey skirt.
I mean, God Almighty.
George said, "What do you look like?"
I said, "Excuse me? Have you seen your jacket?"
We both looked hideous.
He didn't have rings, didn't have licence, had nothing.
But that was George.
And I understood that about him.
I suppose that's where I then took over and said, "Now, come on,
"we're going to do this properly, or we're going to try to anyway."
I think Angie straightened him up and he got fit again
and Bobby was there to help.
But then they opened a bar.
It takes a very strong person to invest in somewhere
and then not go drink there.
The difference was that his drinking was a little more than
the average bar owner.
Remember, football is a drinking culture.
At that time he had no shortage of helpers, if you like.
If 70,000 men had wanted to have one drink with George,
they had one drink, George had 70,000.
In those days it was just, it's just George being George,
he's had a few, and that's it.
Alcoholism is now termed as an illness.
We didn't have that kind of knowledge in those days.
If you had had a few too many, sleep it off
and you'll be fine tomorrow.
We didn't know the extent of...the problem.
I cannot for the life of me,
because in my mind,
and, of course, a lot of people would say "It's a disease."
It's not. It's a choice.
You choose not to drink that day.
A disease doesn't give you a choice.
But alcoholics have a choice.
He would never have admitted he had a problem.
He didn't see it as a problem.
I don't think there's anything wrong with any healthy sportsman having a
drink. And going out when he feels like it,
as long as he's training hard and doing what he's being paid for
and doing it well.
Most people I could understand would maybe go off the rails during bad
times, but George had this habit of going off the rails during the good
times. When things were really good and everything was going really well
for him, then he had this self-destruct button.
When things are going well you're tempted to think, well,
everything is going to be OK, so I can afford to slip a little bit.
But that little bit, with me, became a lot.
He had so much going for him.
When he was on a roll, he was great.
Then all of a sudden, it became too much and he just let himself down.
They didn't want the aggravation, if that's the right word.
They wanted to trade him.
Who would take the risk of managing him?
The playing side of it wasn't the problem.
It seemed that he would always be able to produce magic
and I think the promise of magic is something very special.
The promise of magic is what George Best always brought,
whether it be the glittering Manchester United
or the other 18 teams that he went to play for.
Good lord, gipsies, we were gipsies.
Yes, we were gipsies, but it was fine. I was happy.
As long as I was hanging out with him,
I couldn't have cared where we went or what we did.
That's the Best. My goodness, he hit the post.
Although people were let down at different times
and the clubs were let down and chairmen were let down
I think he brought a lot of happiness to the clubs
and a lot of revenue.
Now and again you would see a wee bit of the old stuff
and sometimes quite a wee bit of it.
But he looked like a bad impersonator of George Best.
Then we went to, er...
We knew that there were issues.
We spoke to George about them.
He felt he needed a change of scenery.
He insisted that he was really trying to stay sober
and that we would not be disappointed in his play
or his behaviour.
So it was a gamble, but it was a risk that we felt was worth taking.
Turning to Fort Lauderdale, George Best,
of course this is one of the great stars of world soccer,
a temperamental man, he is not always at his happiest,
but he seems to have found a new home in Fort Lauderdale.
He is playing marvellously well for them.
George struggled with his fitness.
There's no question about that.
During the course of a match you might have long periods of time
where he was invisible, but when you got the moments of brilliance
out of him it was worth it.
Kicked over the bar.
He could turn the game on a dime.
I recall the first match that we had after we acquired him.
We won the game 5-3, and George had three of the goals.
I think we were able to get about as much out of George as anyone could.
It is 3-1 Fort Lauderdale. This is NASL Championship Soccer.
The day that you were traded, was it a day of liberation for George Best?
I just feel good, the fact that it's worked out.
I don't think I could have written a better script.
The only thing I can say is that I know I can play.
I didn't have to convince myself.
George at the time was doing his best to stay away from alcohol,
and for the most part he was staying clean and sober.
He truly was a really good guy.
He was a good guy, that had demons.
You keep thinking that you can fix it
and that all he needs is a nice home-cooked meal,
a nice house and to settle down.
But it never quite works like that when there's alcohol involved.
That was just in his blood.
God love her, his mother was an alcoholic,
so it was just in his blood.
She, for whatever her own particular reasons was,
she got involved with drinking too much.
It was my fault. I should have been there.
I should have called. I should have written.
That was a guilt thing I carried for quite a while.
Whether it is related to me, or not, I'll never know.
It was another reason to have a few more drinks.
George, in the end, wore out his welcome here in Fort Lauderdale.
He could have stayed and played and been a manager
and done everything David Beckham is doing.
They threw him out because he got drunk.
He didn't show up for games.
They couldn't have that.
They didn't know how to deal with that.
We weren't quite sure what to do with him
and San Jose said they would take him. We let him go there.
I don't think there were any other takers at the time.
Each time he got thrown out he got less and less of a choice.
"Dude, you want to make some money?
"You are going to play here. Nobody else wants you."
The time I got to San Jose, all the top players started to leave
the States, the crowds were down, the best players were leaving.
All the reasons I had gone there for the buzz were disappearing.
I started really, that was the serious down, in San Jose.
I was begging, stealing, borrowing, just to have a drink.
It's that knock-on effect of depression and booze.
You feel self-destructive.
Two weeks before going on a bender, he would sleep late,
he would start to eat a lot of sugary foods
and he would stop shaving.
And that would kind of be the build-up to...gone.
What caused that was this...black taking over his brain.
I'm sure he was depressed at times.
I'm sure he suffered from depression.
When he let people down, he suffered.
When he was sober and things like that he realised what he had done,
I think he found it difficult to accept his actions.
He would think of the people he'd let down, the things he'd done...
..and he couldn't deal with that. And I think, to get away from it...
..from the depression that that caused him, that guilt,
he started drinking again.
It controlled me totally.
When I was going out I didn't give a toss about anything,
whether it was family or friends.
The worst problem was that I didn't care about myself.
You know, I couldn't care less.
I wasn't bothered whether I woke up in the morning or not.
Sometimes I wished I didn't.
What really struck home was, I found out I was pregnant.
So I went looking for him.
And I found him at some obscure bar on the beach, all by himself
with his drink in front of him, hunched over
with his face almost in his drink, so I knew he was pretty far gone.
And I sat down next to him and he looked at me.
"What are you doing here?" And I said, "I have some news for you.
"You're going to be a dad."
No reaction whatsoever.
He just said to me, "Let me finish this bender and I'll come home."
San Jose was so good because they actually made the effort
to put him into rehab and to deal with him.
When things are going badly, it's always a reason or an excuse
you can say, well, it's a bad day today, it's raining
or I've just lost money on the horses, or the business is bad.
You can always find excuses or reasons for having a drink.
But I was running out of excuses and reasons,
and things were going so well.
The baby had arrived and our home was settled
and I had signed a good contract, but I was still getting drunk
and still going on binges for four, five, six days, sometimes a week,
where Angela wouldn't know where I was.
And I think the thing was that I had look at myself and say,
"You're a mess here, you know, you're going to blow everything,
"you're a disaster area."
That's the hardest part, to stand and look at yourself and say to
yourself, "You're no good. You know, you've got to get better."
So, I know it's difficult to say what lies ahead in the future,
but if you could choose,
what would you choose for the next couple of years?
50-50. Six months in America, six months in England.
-And another baby.
-Oh, you have it!
I wish I could, I'd have more than one!
Make a fortune as well.
It was a fabulous time.
For me, to be a young woman, with my man that I was smitten with,
in the sunshine, in a beautiful place.
And it was magically, perfectly beautiful.
It was San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium.
We had just scored a goal that should have been ruled offside.
George got into a real heated dispute with the referee.
Now Best is furious with Ian Foot.
He's going to get a card now.
-Best gets a yellow card.
-Best will get a card.
Like T Rex with haemorrhoids, Bestie was going nuts.
The goal stood, so San Jose gets the ball to kick off.
So concerned with the officiating
that their minds are really not on the soccer game
and then things start going against them
and the next thing you know, there's a goal.
I could hear him. I was lining up just on the other side of the circle
and, "Give me... Just give me the...ball!"
He started on this slalom, like Alberto Tomba going downhill.
Slating through the players. I'd never seen balance like this.
I think one or two of the players had two bites at him.
Best still has it. I don't believe this.
That's the greatest soccer goal I've ever seen!
It was anger, it was inspirational,
it was a demonstration of everything George had compacted
throughout his career into that playback, instantly, over time.
That is the greatest soccer goal I've ever seen.
It was still there, but sometimes it needed a big red-hot poker
pushed into very sensitive place
for George to call on it, to summon it up.
Talk about an individual effort!
This was a virtuoso performance by Best.
They'll give him the goal and they'll give him three assists!
These weren't Maldinis, I'll give you that,
that were defending against him,
but you go through seven or eight players,
you ask anybody that's played the game,
that's an elevation of skill that is just staggering,
That was really flying. I've never seen one close to that.
George Best. He did it all by himself.
A soccer genius.
We hope you've enjoyed all the action that led to the Budweiser
Goal of the Year. To soccer fans everywhere, this Bud's for you.
I think it was a special banquet that was put together
and George's goal had been given the Budweiser Goal of the Year.
It was a nice night. It was really my night.
And I hadn't had a drink for 11 months.
And I left the presentation with my trophy and put it in the car
and I went and got drunk in a bar.
Then went for 22 days on a binge.
Oh, there were so many sad bits, but I realised it was over...
I always wanted to look after him, but enough is enough.
I can't look after both babies.
The big one's got to go.
After that, George drank every single day for 30 years.
That's all I know.
I think George was looking for a high.
Playing football in front of all of those
thousands and thousands of people.
And I think when that stops, there's kind of like a void in your life.
In the end he didn't want to stop drinking.
At one o'clock today, my father has passed away.
Not only have I lost my dad, but we've all lost a wonderful man.
And I'd just like to take the time to thank all the well-wishers
and the fans, and the letters, and the flowers, and the e-mails.
It all means so much to all of us.
And that's all I have to say.
Thank you very much.
The Belfast boy who came to Manchester United
with magic in his feet and a self-destruct button in his soul
died just before one o'clock this afternoon.
His was a life of bright talent, darkened by drink.
I never went to see him in hospital.
I didn't really want to do that anyway.
I didn't want to see George as he was, you know.
I wanted to remember him as a person that I played against
and also had as a great friend. Simple as that.
I couldn't go and see him in hospital. I couldn't do it.
Remembering George for what he was, and all that sort of thing.
And you knew that he was a goner. We knew that he was going to die.
That was a certainty, that he was...
Ach, it was just sad.
I always feel as though we let him down.
He needed someone to say to him,
"George, this is what we'll do, this is what we should do.
"Let's get a plan and let's follow it through. Let's do this."
And there was nobody really...that he respected enough,
with the right plan.
It's impossible, of course, to tell the George Best story
only in terms of his spectacular talent on the field.
Off it, his was a life besieged by alcoholism.
Drink brought him trouble with managers and with the law.
He even served two months in prison in 1984 for drink-driving.
But he couldn't stop.
I married George when I was 23.
He had a vulnerable side
and it was almost as though you just
felt like looking after him,
like looking after a little child.
George, sober, was the most fantastic husband you could ask for.
But, unfortunately, when he was drinking
it was like two totally different people.
And the sober George wouldn't have particularly liked the drunk George.
It was a demon.
You know, that's why they call it the demon drink.
Terry, I like screwing, all right?
So, what do you do with your time these days?
Ladies and gentlemen, George Best.
George swears blind that they spiked his drink, but he would do.
It shows him in the light, that the people who don't like him
would like to see him.
A drunken womaniser, and that's all he came over us.
And that isn't the sharp, smart Bestie that I know.
Fortunately that night, he was a happy drunk,
but he wasn't always a happy drunk.
George could be particularly violent with drink inside of him.
It could get pretty bad at times.
He could become quite aggressive.
It was not nice to witness.
A couple of times, you know, we did have a few fights.
And I did end up in hospital a couple of times.
She picked me up at the airport and she had a black eye.
I said, "Babes, what is that?"
They'd both been drunk, had a fight and he punched her.
And I said, I tried to warn her, I said, "Alex, what are you doing?"
But, you know, when you're in love, you're in love.
It was only really when George became sick with his liver disease
and we moved to Northern Ireland that I had a proper husband.
We did everything together.
We decorated the house together. We went shopping together.
It was absolutely fantastic.
Deep down, when I knew that he was going to get a liver transplant,
there was kind of like a little inkling, thinking,
I really do hope that this is, you know, for ever,
that he doesn't ever, ever drink again.
He had his new liver, he's got a beautiful wife,
he's got his whole life to live for now, because he's been saved.
And yet he goes back to the alcohol.
We went to Switzerland with some kids that had transplants.
And there was this lady there,
she had had a glass of wine in her hand,
and George looked and he went, well,
"She's drinking wine, but she's had a transplant."
Even after the terrible warning from the doctors
that one more drink could kill him, the press tracked him down
to a Surrey Pub, and he fell off the wagon.
It's one of the saddest things George ever told me.
After he hadn't drank, I think it was about three years,
and he had started again and we were sitting down
and I said, "What happened, George?"
He said, "Do you know what?"
He said, "There's not one day in the last three years
"that I hadn't thought about drinking,"
which I found really sad, because I thought he was doing so well.
It was kind of like watching a soap opera untangle
right in front of you.
And people find that interesting.
And the more pressure it was putting on George,
the more he drank and the worse it got.
Yeah, it was a tough one.
There was no doubt that there were times when he had done things wrong
and all the rest of it, and we cashed in on it.
We made a lot of money out of the newspapers,
because they wanted to use him anyway
and I was firmly of the opinion that if they were going to use him,
they were going to pay us.
I actually took the picture which,
I certainly regret doing it now, you know, it was done for a reason.
We had a contract with the News of the World to do a story
with them, when we came home, so it was money, really,
and George was quite happy to show the world what drink had done.
I never ever believed
that that would be the last picture taken of George.
It was tremendous to see the respect of the people of Northern Ireland.
It must have been something between a quarter of a million,
half a million people, out on the road. And George would have loved that.
He would have envisaged that as a proper send-off.
They named an airport after him.
Staggering, really, for a footballer.
Everybody in Northern Ireland was so proud of George at the end
of the day. And that was one of the saddest things,
because nobody thought George would go in the direction that he went in.
And he was just so well liked.
Sad, isn't it, when somebody kind of...
..sabotages themselves really.
But not wilfully, obviously.
I mean, I think he was a victim of his excess.
Everybody had wanted him to do better.
Everybody had tried to help him.
But he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to live it on his terms
and burn the candle all too quickly.
He came up with the expression, "Just remember me for my football."
Because he had to find a reason to deflect away from
who and what he had become.
What would you want people to think of you?
Well, I know what they will think.
They'll forget all the rubbish when I'm gone
and they'll remember the football.
It's as simple as that.
You know, I don't give a toss about everything else.
As long as they remember the football.
And if only one person thinks I was the best player in the world,
that will do for me, because that's what it was all about
as far as I'm concerned.
Oh, that's a forlorn hope.
I mean, none of us is entitled to ask for that.
To think people can look upon it as a career perfectly executed
would be madness.
You've just got to hope that the glorious stuff in George's career
far outweighs and outshines the rubbish and, to me, it does.
And George Best going through here!
Yes, it must be for George Best!
Georgie Best has done it!
I remember once in the hospital in America,
there was an Irish guy had become a counsellor,
and had been dry for something like 20-odd years.
And he said, the way I looked at it was like you have got a choice
of switching the light off or on.
He said it sounds oversimplified, but that's it.
And one day he said, you'd better decide whether you want the light
to keep shining or you want to switch it off.
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.