When I saw the tears in Busbys eyes I realised the depth

first_img 49 Comments ‘When I saw the tears in Busby’s eyes, I realised the depth of their relationship and what George turned away’ Inside ‘George Best: All By Himself,’ an extraordinary, sobering look at the life and times of George Best. Short URL Feb 18th 2017, 7:10 AM “It’s incredible that everyone has that affection, even though they still know that’s what he did. I think part of his charm was just that. He could just smile and everyone forgave him. And he clearly knew that’s the effect he has so he could get away with it.“He’s obviously done that from childhood. He’s obviously had that childhood where he was the first born, he could be a little bit cheeky, his mam would tell him off and then he’d smile and then he’d be forgiven.”Perhaps the finest part of the documentary is how it depicts Best’s relationship with Matt Busby. The Manchester United manager brought him over from Belfast as a shy, timid 15-year-old and soon regarded him as a surrogate son.The won the European Cup together in 1968, ten years after the United boss lost his “Busby Babes” killed in the Munich disaster of 1958. But by 1974, even this father figure had enough. At 27, Best was on his way out of Old Trafford, his life torn apart by his rampant alcoholism and womanising.“The depth of relationship with Matt Busby and George suprised me. I knew they had a father-son relationship, but I didn’t realise it was that deep a father-son relationship.“One piece of archive that really struck me was when Best walks out of Man United the final time. It’s 1974 and it’s all over. It’s barely been six years since Wembley ’68. He’s finished. He can’t even kick a ball anymore. He’s gone, he’s finished.“The tears in Matt Busby’s eyes, it’s a really close-up interview. It was shot on film and it’s restored in the film. That’s when you see the tears in the eyes. That moment is when I realised the depth of the relationship and what George had turned away.“And also that the father has failed the son, as well as the son has failed the father. That moment really shocked me.” Matt Busby’s emotional interview during the documentary Source: George Best: All By HimselfThere’s no judgement from Gordon in this movie. He doesn’t ask us to choose between the darkness and light of Best. We shouldn’t have to. He lays out the story of the first real superstar in football, whose rise to global fame sent his world spinning to unimaginable heights and horrendous depths.“He was the first pop superstar in football. I’ve always heard that story. I didn’t actually know what it means, but I kind of do now. Having seen all that he went through, you realise this is something that very few boys who’ve left home at 15 would be able to cope with. Certainly not when there’s no blueprint for it. Because there hasn’t been anyone before. So you understand what happened and why.“I’ve got a lot more empathy for him but equally I’m just as frustrated as everyone else that threw that talent away. I’d have loved to have that talent but there’s nothing to say I wouldn’t have thrown it all away if I’d had that talent as he did.“I’ve not been in his position so I can’t judge him but I can try and understand him. That’s really what I got from making the film. Just able to understand the context and what he’d faced, that no-one else on earth had faced before in terms of the media pressure and the constant onslaught. Source: Popperfoto/Getty Images“He was totally ill-equipped to handle it, as were Man United. As was everyone that was chasing him. No-one knew what to do because no-one had every had to ever do it before.“That’s the big thing. You look at Ronaldo and Messi now, they’ve got a massive entourage all around them that’s stopping you getting anywhere near them.”There’s a sense in which this entire story, in addition to all the other things it is, it’s a story of a guy who’s trying to escape a blackness in his soul. But it’s important also to consider what role society played in Best’s downfall.Search his name and the first phrase Google suggests is ‘George Best quotes.’ A wide range of his witty one-liners have been doing the rounds for years.“In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life.”“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”“I’ve stopped drinking, but only while I’m asleep.”You wonder if we encouraged his behaviour and cheered him on. Did society collectively help create him? Did we indulge him?“Completely,” agrees Gordon. “When I first heard the George Best chant I thought it was hilarious. ‘When I die and they lay me to rest and I go on the piss with Georgie Best.’ It’s hilarious until you think about it.“Then when you think about it, actually that’s a really, really poor chant in very poor taste. The whole, ‘I used to go missing all the time, Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom,’ all that, they’re great stories. Source: Adam McKola/YouTube“He’s got some great one-liners. But the comedy deflects away from what he became. I think we as an audience, it’s easy for us to deal with how we dealt with George Best. To laugh it off and enjoy those one-liners. But actually beneath it, he did throw it all away. He’d be in his early 70s now. He could still be regaling people with great stories of the old days. But he didn’t and it’s his choice.“Angie makes a great line in the film: ‘Remember me for my football was his deflection for what he’d become.”Gordon tells one final story, which sums up the seismic impact Best had on Manchester United, even decades after he had left the club.“You’ll never get another footballer coming from nowhere and not being protected like that. But equally, it’s a warning sign for other people.“George Best went to Old Trafford once to interview Alex Ferguson and asked him direct, ‘What would you have done with a player like me?’“And Ferguson said, ‘Well I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but we use you as the example to our young players of what not to do.’“He had his effect long after he finished. Not in a good way for him, but hopefully in a good way for someone like Beckham to come and take advantage of what was there and the experience that Man United as a club have had.”For an hour and a half, you’ll be trapped on George Best’s rollercoaster ride. Enthralled by it, horrified by it, and unsure of who to blame.****Best ADIFF Screening – Saturday 18th February, 8.45pm at Cineworld, followed by Q&A with director Dan Gordon and producer Trevor Birney, hosted by RTÉ broadcaster George HamiltonTickets €11, available here: http://www.diff.ie/festival/film/bestBest (Cert 12a) open in Irish cinemas on Friday 24th February.Former Shamrock Rovers striker returns from Canada to join DundalkEx-Ireland boss Trapattoni aiming to make international football return DAN GORDON, THE director of George Best: All By Himself, recalls an exchange with some fans outside of the movie’s recent premiere in London.The mood was optimistic. It made him uneasy.“They were massive George Best fans and were telling me, ‘I’m really looking forward to it, there’s never been a player like him. He’s my hero, I can’t wait to see it.’“And I’m thinking, we tell far more than just the football here, are you going to be okay with that?“I think you’re being unfair to him if you only go with the one side. It’s such a layered story, the only way to do it justice is to do all sides,” Gordon tells The42.It’s impossible to get fully formed an idea of who this man was unless you acknowledge all of his darkness too. But he also had this charming, intelligent and extremely likeable aspect to his personality.“It’s the classic flawed-genius, maverick, tortured aritist thing. I couldn’t ever get anyone to say that on the film though, but that’s what comes to mind.“I want people to take away the full story. Not to be judgemental on the dark side, to understand where that came from. But equally not just to glamourise this amazing footballer and pop superstar because it’s so much more layered than that.”“It’s a story that begins with leaving Belfast, barely a boy, and as a life it ends far too short.“But you see he did things in a very short lifetime that most of us probably will never do in a very, very long lifetime. It’s a story that’s layered enough to get the full-scale of what he faced and how he tried and failed to deal with it.”It’s been 11 years since Best died, and this documentary is an uncompromising, raw and cinematic look at the rise and fall of one of the greatest footballers of all-time who, almost 50 years on from that glorious night he lifted the European Cup at Wembley, continues to fascinate.Gordon is an award-winning director who is best known for his 2014 film on the Hillsborough disaster. He takes a look at Best’s tragic tale, which has been well-documented, with fresh eyes.What is it about this story that hasn’t been told before?“Actually, there’s a colossus of things that have never been done before, certainly not on screen and definitely not on the cinema screen.“What I wanted to do was to only interview people that knew him and knew him well. They had to be really affected by George and his story.”While there are absentees, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law (both in poor health), and Calum Best, the film boasts an impressive list of the key figures in his life.“Calum is doing his own documentary and didn’t want to clash as such with it. That was fine. The way the film was constructed there wasn’t a great deal for Calum to add because the bulk of the story happens before he’s born and the end almost comes as he’s born. In that respect it wasn’t critical for the film to have Calum in it.“I’d have loved to have sat down and interviewed him because I think his own personal story is a tragic story of neglect by a father and always yearning to have his father in his life.“I read Calum’s book and what he wrote really stuck with me for quite a long time. The Calum story is quite a different story to what I was trying to tell about George. In terms of what we’d have been looking to get out of Calum, I don’t think we’d have done him justice in the film because it’s a story about George.” Source: Colorsport/REX/ShutterstockWe do hear stories from a cast of characters who knew him the best, from former teammates like Paddy Crerand, to journalists such as Hugh McIlvanney who colourfully describes Best as having “feet as sensitive as a pick-pocket’s hands,” and the agent who sold the horrific photo of Best on his deathbed to the News of the World.Gordon continues: “It was trying to get not just their story but also their perspective with the distance at the time was ten years since George’s death, to sort of be a little bit more reflective and maybe deeper than they’d been before.”Of course, his former wives, Angie Best and Alex Best, play prominent roles, as does an early girlfriend, Jackie Glass, who’s now a Buddhist nun living in Edinburgh.“The dark elements were quite difficult to talk with people. Some of the interviewees have been in therapy and they’ve spoken about these things before. Some haven’t.“You’re very conscious you don’t want to take people into dark places they don’t want to go in themselves. Also I was trying to get them expanding into what happens to people when they get off the rails. Not just the person, but everyone else around them.”The three women help give the greatest insight into the multiple layers of Best’s complex personality – the good and the bad. The film doesn’t shy away from his darkness, and his ex-lovers speak candidly about the havoc his drinking wreaked on their lives. Source: George Best: All By HimselfThe opening scene is a poignant one that sets the tone for the movie. Angie Best is in her car, taking their one-year-old son Calum for a check-up on a wet and miserable night. Through the torrential rain, she makes out helpless soul staggering up the middle of the road.“This poor man is all hunched over and soaking wet,” she says. “I think oh my God, that poor homeless tramp and then I realise…it’s my husband. Drunk as a skunk, walking down the road, soaking wet.”Gordon explains his left-field choice for the beginning of the movie: “The other option is something like, here are George Best’s great goals and loads of eulogies of what he threw away. I think that would be a classic way to start a film like this. I actually wanted it to be completely different and far more cinematic and to really make you sit up and go,’ Oh what am I watching?’“That was the reason why we started with that story. It’s a great story in itself but at the beggining of the film you’re not expecting that about George Best. What we were trying to do was set the tone for the film with that story.” Source: MirrorpixHe comes across as this charming, likeable person for the most part of the film, but that’s all the more disturbing when you witness what he’s capable of.The movie starts on the night Angie knew her marriage was over, and realised she was left to raise her son all alone. She takes an interesting view on his alcoholism. “It’s not a disease, it’s a choice – disease doesn’t give you a choice,” she tells the camera.Later in the movie, Alex describes the chilling scenes of domestic abuse, and the multiple times he raised his hands to her.Despite all his demons and the fact it was those who were closest to him he ultimately hurt the most, Best’s loved ones retained a remarkable affection for him. After it all, they clearly still loved him.“Which feels incredulous when you’re hearing that testimony,” continues Gordon.“Whether that was just letting people down to the domestic violence and the really dark stuff. You’re hearing the testimony and you’re going, ‘How could you forgive that?’ All levels of being let down. How could you forgive that?“All he had to do by and large was sober up, flash a smile and flick his eyes and everyone had gone again. You can see that in the funeral scenes – everyone’s forgiven him. Everyone’s forgiven that he’s thrown his life away. Ultimately they go, ‘Well he’s lived life the way he wants to live it, he’s died early and he did it his way.’ By Kevin O’Briencenter_img Share Tweet Email http://the42.ie/3246024 24,174 Views Saturday 18 Feb 2017, 7:10 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img

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