The Best of the George Best Books
Blessed - The Autobiography
"How did one of the greatest footballers who graced the game, lose it all?".
A question asked and answer by many people, but only one man can really answer that question.
"Bestie" talks about how a shy young lad from Ireland, with a great talent for football, is more known for his off field activities.
This book is not about George Best's football career, is it about the life of the man, and how he was ruled by the bottle.
From his days kicking the ball in the back streets of Belfast, to the night of glory at Wembley in '68, thought to the prison cell and his fight for life, it is all here in an honest accent.
It is a great read for all, a wonderful account about the drive of the man, but it was not a ball!
George Best & Me: Waggy's Tale: GEORGE by the Man Who Knew Him BEST by Malcolm Wagner & Tom Page
Those who believe that Liverpool was the centre of the popular culture universe need to read Malcolm Wagner's tale of Manchester nightlife.
The title would indicate that this is yet another George Best memoir, far from it.
Malcolm's has led a remarkable life in his own right - as lead singer with early 60s pop group The Whirlwinds, he toured Manchester's suburbs alongside future 10cc star Graham Gouldman, during a period when Manchester was at the eye of the storm.
After his pop career ends he meets Best and other luminaries throwing him into Manchester nightlife and international playboy-dom.
Later, he runs a nightclub with the footballer, Slack Alice, that becomes a favoured haunt for the likes of Elton John and Mick Jagger.
Later still, the author invents the world's first ice dispenser. In between Malcolm finds time to fly planes, ride horses and run a hotel.
With anecdotes a plenty about the great and not so great from this era, he recalls a more innocent age when working class northerners threw off the post-war shackles and attacked life with gusto.
Our George: A Family Memoir of George Best by Barbara Best
It has been a long time coming but, at last, Dicky Best and the rest of his family have spoken about their life with an amazing son and brother.
Great read, having read several books about the great man it is wonderful to finally read from the perspective of those who really knew him.
From his early childhood to his last days, I found this to be a book that takes you through all the emotions and gives an honest and frank insight into the life of George Best.
Very interesting read.
Well done to them for sharing their memories. This is a must for all true Bestie fans.
Scoring At Half-Time: Adventures On and Off the Pitch
Written in a breezy, self-deprecating style the book captures George Best at a point in his life where he seems to have a perspective on himself and his past and is looking forward to a sober,rewarding future.
Sadly, that frame of mind and that hope is perhaps dashed.
This aside the book seldom strays into the self-introspection that characterirsed Blessed and is an appropriate follow-up. Stories, some old - some new, abound and his observations and reflections on the characters around him during his heyday are often genuinely funny.
The story about George, Eusebio and a book signing is among the best I've come across.
Sod This, I'm Off to Marbella: George Best by John Roberts
John Roberts worked for decades as a senior sports writer on a variety of Britain's major newspapers: the great old Express when it was still revered, the Guardian, the Mail and the Independent, latterly as the tennis correspondent. He continues to contribute columns to the sporting intelligence website (which I edit, an interest I gladly declare because Roberts' work speaks for itself).
His books include the many-times reprinted The Team That Wouldn't Die (about the Munich air disaster), ghosted autobiographies of Bill Shankly (also recently updated and reprinted) and Kevin Keegan, and the official history of Everton.
'Sod This' is written with an insight and authority that only comes with having lived at the heart of the story: Roberts was George Best's 'ghost' for his Express columns during a period of turmoil for the player and the club. As such he spent days, months, years in Best's company. He saw first-hand the pressures of life as 'El Beatle', and what happened when those pressures became too much.
One fascinating section in this book tells the story of the day that Best became so annoyed at some criticism (and death threats), that he hand-wrote his own column that week. The original pages of writing are printed. That column went in the paper verbatim.
Sections of 'Sod This' were used contemporaneously in an early 70s book about Best's initial fall from grace. That was, in effect, a book that Manchester United banned at the time, and as such escaped the attentions of the vast majority of fans. The re-telling of the story now, with all the fresh perspective of knowing how Best subsequently lived - and died - only adds to the sum of our knowledge.
A lot of books, and a lot of nonsense, have been written about Best. This one takes you inside his life in the early 1970s, inside his house, inside his relationships, inside an era. Written by someone who was there.
When George Came to Edinburgh by John Neil Munro
There must have been more column inches written about George Best than any other sportsman past or present.
This though is the only book ever written about the Irishman's brief though fascinating career at Hiberian.
To read the book is like winding back the clock to a football time which is very different from today. For those who can recall the hullabaloo caused when George signed for the Hibees, this is a wonderful return down memory lane. Many others will know little about Bestie's short spell at Easter Road. Whichever bracket you are in this book is a riveting read.
This publication has been extremely well researched and has been written with a lot of thought and is well balanced as a result.
John Neil Munro has done a superb job tracking down many people who recall George's time in Edinburgh and their personal accounts make for fascinating reading. The narrative is nicely supported by lots of photographs and details of all George's appearances at Hiberian are included.
Whether you are a Hibs fan, a George Best fan or a football fan in general this book is a highly recommended page turner.