George Best – Blessed: Book Review

18 04 2010

In today’s world we see sports stars releasing books before they have even finished their playing career. Fernando Torres, Liverpool and Spain striker, last year released his first autobiography at the grand old age of 24. Oh what a gracious read that is. The problem with today’s sports stars is they are under so much pressure from their agents to get their stories out, they feel obliged to release information quickly because they have such an audience they feel the requirement to feed.
I recently just read George Best – Blessed, the autobiography of arguably the greatest footballer to be produced from the British Isles. Unlike these up and coming youngsters who drag on about how they would play football after school and that made them fantastic, Best starts the book off in a gruelling way, a way not only to attract the readers, but to give you a warning of how this will not be a happy read.

He talks about how he struggled with his alcoholic problems and how it gives you the mentality that you can’t stop, that you need a drink to prevent the withdrawal symptoms. A doctor told him alcohol is “like a tap, you can turn it on or off”. How did Best respond to this? “The problem is once it was turned on, the tap, I leave it running”.

Simply The Best

Simply The Best

It’s intriguing reading about someone’s childhood post war. Where it was financially tough, and as you would expect from Ireland, they only had potatoes to eat. He goes on to describe cunning ways in which he would obtain money. Collecting money from people who had paper deliveries, and saying he had no change so he could pocket a sixpence. How he would go to sweet shops and break some of the biscuits because at closure time they would be given to the youngsters free.

There is interesting dialogue of his youth. How he didn’t fit in at his secondary school because they played rugby, and how because of religion he would get bullied, meaning he had to time it correctly to sprint to the bus to escape these people.
Modern day celebrities are constantly under public scrutiny. They can’t leave their homes to go to a club without being paraded by paparazzi. However Best unravels stories from his playing days about how easy it was, how he would go to places like London after games. It’s interesting hearing him say how he was lucky, without the media fanatics in his days it meant he could sleep with women without stories being sold off in the papers.

Blessed is a book which will interest all football fans as it unravels stories of a player who became the first football ‘celebrity’. He explains his relationships between players and how motivation deteriorated at such a young age. It’s a book which actually has a story and something interesting for the reader, unlike autobiographies in today’s world released by players who haven’t retired. Footballers of this generation, take note.

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28 04 2010
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