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By ESPN Staff

George Best: Genius, Maverick, Legend

The man credited with turning regular footballers into 'superstars' is also seen as one of the most talented players ever to have graced the pitch.

George Best may have had his demons, but there is no questioning the talent that he possessed with a ball at his feet and anyone who has never seen Best play will get a kick out of George Best: Genius, Maverick, Legend.

You are treated to a showreel of his greatest moments with Manchester United, starting with his performance against Benfica where he scored twice in a 5-1 win in the 1968 European Cup and finishing with his fall from grace in 1974, when he walked out on the club.

Certainly there is no shortage of Best's best footage. But while the DVD shows plenty of his skills on the pitch, we also get a cheeky look at his off-field antics, including his foray into advertising from 'Fore' aftershave ('Always the Best for Georgie') and the infamous, not to mention personally embarrassing 'Cookstown' sausages ad ('The best family sausages').

With so much to talk about outside of the game, it is a benefit that the main focus remains on the football. There is some stunning and familiar footage of Best snaking past Ron 'Chopper' Harris and his incredible lob over three players and Pat Jennings from seven yards out is breathtaking to watch, even if you've seen it before.

With good interviews from former team-mates (who have no doubt built a career talking about him), the DVD also includes time with Best himself, and his father. From the scout Bob Bishop, who discovered a 15-year-old Best playing for Cregagh Boys' Club claiming: 'I've found a genius', to some of the game's greats waxing lyrical about his skills; the insight from the people who knew him best lends the film an air of credibility.

However, where the DVD falls down is in the rest of Best's life. There is little suggestion (bar a small Manchester United logo on the packaging) that it contains nothing but his career at Old Trafford. Granted this may have been at the peak of his powers, but there is so much more to his story.

Completely ignored is his decent into alcoholism, his time in the United States or the rest of his career post-1974.

While these parts of his life may not have something that many people who look back at him care to remember, they are important nonetheless and it is odd that a DVD claiming to give an 'in-depth look at the life of the phenomenon', has no place for them.

The extras let the side down a little too, with some fairly vacuous comments from his then-wife Alex, and George's own dated comments on the 'current' United team (remembering this DVD was created in 2001). Best's Top 50 goals make up some ground, but the overall impression is that you're left wanting more.

All the same, a Manchester United fan, or even a football fan who has not seen Best in action before, will get a lot from this DVD. There is a lot more to Best's remarkable life and ultimately tragic death, but this will certainly get you on the right road to finding out more about one of the game's greats.


  • Any comments? Email Jon Carter