George Best is popularly known as the successful European footballer who played as a winger for Manchester United in the 60s and 70s but his son remembers a different side to his father. Calum Best has opened up to the public about how alcohol took over his father's life and ultimately destroyed it.
Calum was not around when George Best was winning trophies in the 60s and being hailed as one of the greatest dribblers of all time. His son was born in 1981 and only knew his father after alcoholism had become one of his defining characteristics and a problem that contributed greatly to their tumultuous relationship.
George Best struggled to cope with the end of his playing career and lived a lifestyle of hard-drinking until he passed away in 2005 at the age of 59. Ten years after his death, Calum is now telling the story of his relationship with his father for the first time through his recently published book "Second Best: My Dad and Me".
Dark Memories of His Father
Calum Best is the son of George and his first wife Angie, a beautiful English model who ultimately divorced Best a few years after they married. Calum lived with his mother in Los Angeles but continued to spend time with his father on summer holidays in England as a child.
While Calum experienced his father's fame he also dealt with his erratic behavior. He remembers being 11 years old when his father left him behind at a hotel and didn't turn up until the next day telling his son that he went to see a hooker the night before. He spent most of his time in England hanging around in a local pub while his father drank all day every day.
A year later while Calum was visiting, George came home so drunk that he mistook his son for a woman and french kissed him in his bed. It wasn't until he was older that Calum was able to connect his father's behavior with his hard-drinking lifestyle. In another incident, George came home drunk to find 14 year old Calum spending time with his young fiance Alex.
Best was so intoxicated he believed his son and fiancee were sleeping together behind his back. Enraged, he drunkenly took Calum by the throat, hit his head against the wall and lifted him off the ground screaming that he was not his son.
Alcohol Takes the Life of George Best
Unfortunately, George Best was never able to recover from his addiction to alcohol and reconcile with his son. In his autobiography George wrote that having Calum only proved how important alcohol had become to him.
He admitted that alcohol was more important in his life than his wife or his son and he felt guilty that he was not able to quit for them. The guilt over his alcoholism fueled him to drink more and created a vicious cycle he was never able to escape. Best destroyed his liver through his heavy drinking and required a liver transplant in 2002.
Calum at the time had hoped the transplant would be a new start for his father but only a few weeks later caught him drinking from a bottle of wine. Only 3 years later in 2005, George Best passed away after suffering from multiple organ failure. Although Calum saw his father as his hero for much of his child he came to terms with his father's shortcomings as he grew up dealing with their complicated relationship.
George Best is still idolized by fans for his successful soccer career but his battle with alcoholism overshadowed his talent for Calum and his mother.