Saturday, September 13, 2008

George Best Remembered

George Best died in November 2005, just six months short of his sixtieth birthday. The Northern Irish football player’s passing was met with an unexpected outpouring of communal grief and emotion. The sight of 100,000 people traipsing through East Belfast on the day of Best’s funeral showed that he was still widely admired and respected, despite – or perhaps slightly because of - the more controversial aspects of his life story.

Best is most well known for his time at Manchester United Football Club. In 1968, he won the European Cup with his team; he was also named European footballer of the year. He was also a common fixture on the Northern Ireland team. In 1999 he was voted eleventh at the IFFHS European Player of the Century election. Furthermore, Pelé named him as one of his 125 best living footballers. In Northern Ireland the unflinching admiration for him is summed up by the local saying: "Maradona good; Pelé better; George Best. "

In this compelling and deeply affecting documentary, George’s father Dickie tells his son’s story for the first time. He offers a unique and remarkable insight into his George’s tumultuous tale. He discusses his son’s childhood, his meteoric rise to sporting stardom, as well as his dramatic descent into shambolic, self destructive drunkenness.

This programme reveals the real George Best story, shedding light on the truth behind the lurid tabloid tales. Dickie discussed the pressure his son must have felt when he became one of the first ever celebrity footballers. He reveals that George was ultimately unable to deal with the trappings of fame, and with his extravagant alcohol fuelled lifestyle.

With access to unseen photographs and memorabilia, this film gives Dickie - a wonderful raconteur – along with his daughter and son-in-law, the opportunity to give a family’s perspective on one of the rarest and most precious footballing talents ever seen, and one of the sport's first true international celebrities.


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