George Best is widely regarded as the finest footballer ever produced by the British Isles. His death last November prompted lengthy analysis of his career and his standing in the game, a debate 'The Complete George Best' will help settle. Known primarily for his rock nroll lifestyle after his football career had finished, this book attempts to shed more light on his football career which was, after all, the source of his fame. Taking in every first class match George played for Manchester United, Northern Ireland and Fulham and a lengthy analysis of his later career in America, 'The Complete George Best' traces a career that caught light in the mid-sixties and burned brightly for the next 7 seasons. Many claimed that Best was the pre-eminent player in the world during this period, his performance against Benfica in Lisbon, when he inspired United to a 5-1 win widely regarded as the turning point for the Ulsterman, after which life was never quite the same as first the birds and then the booze followed fame into Bests life.
Best's career was inextricably linked with the fortunes of Manchester United in the 60s and Matt Busby's quest for the European Cup following the tragedy of the Munich Air disaster. United's run to the European Cup Final of 1968 saw Best a marked man. By this stage his talent was well known and George came to life in the semi-final against Real Madrid, scoring in the first leg and setting up an unlikely winner for Bill Foulkes in the second. The final will always be remembered for Best's brilliant goal just minutes into extra time when he found space on the left and skinned the last man before rounding the 'keeper. Most people regard the European triumph as the beginning of the end. In hindsight, and with medals the sole measure of a career's worth, then it probably was, yet Best was good enough to thrill crowds well into the next decade with famous performances such as his double hat-trick against Northampton on a muddy pitch in 1970 and a famous hat-trick against Southampton wearing a yellow away kit. Sadly, alcoholism robbed us of the best of George but most players would kill for a career record that read 639 appearances, 229 goals.
This book is ideal both as a work of reference and a detailed insight into the great man's career. Darren Phillips has painstakingly pieced together every game and goal scored by Best from his first team debut against West Bromwich Albion in September 1963.