Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Official George Best Story (2000) Film Review
With talk of Michael Owen's prodigious skills at Liverpool, it is worth going back and taking another look at George Best's nine years with Man U in the Sixties.
This is the official biodoc, which means the alcoholism is understated, the missed training sessions glossed over and the women mentioned briefly in dispatches. What matters are the goals.
He was only 26 when he packed it in. "I was fed up. I was being hassled by the press. I wasn't enjoying it anymore." A couple of Arsenal players went to Spain to beg him to come back for the sake of the game. "We won't kick you," they promised. He wouldn't. He had had enough.
When asked recently, "Is it true that you wasted your money on drink, fast cars and women?", he replied, "Ninety per cent went on drink, fast cars and women. I wasted the rest." This isn't in the film. But this is. "Would it be right to say that you've run away from all the problems in your life?" "Probably. But I've always liked travelling."
He was born in East Belfast. From the age of four, he was hooked. "I kicked the ball to school and all the way back." When he was 15, a Manchester United scout rang Matt Busby with the news: "I've found a genius." And that was the beginning of it. He didn't think he had a chance at the top level. "I was so small, so thin." When you see him on film, it's true, but he had such dexterity and speed, it made no difference.
The United side during those years had the likes of Dennis Law and Bobby Charlton. It was as glamorous and dangerous as it is now. George's genius was his unpredictability and ball control. Where you would expect every other player to take a shot at goal, he waited, went a little further, passed one more defender. His confidence was cheeky, rather than arrogant.
When you watch him in action in these highlights of over 30 years ago, he is truly remarkable, like when he scored six in one game, after being banned by the club for four weeks.
Was he the greatest of all time? You can't judge from this because you're only seeing the moments of glory and however wondrous they are, they have been taken out of context. Certainly he had the style, the charm, the talent and the appetite of a star. And he left before his time.Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2001
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