The late footballing legend George Best will be remembered by the respected broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson for the launch of Parkinson’s new book George Best: A Memoir at a launch event at the National Concert Hall in Dublin in May.
Parkinson will, alongside his son and co-author Mike, remember his relationship with George Best, whom he first met as a whip thin, Belfast boy with film star looks and a footballing talent that dazzled the world for a generation.
50 years after he was named European Footballer of the Year, Parkinson will reveal his thoughts and reflections on why a man who seemingly had everything tragically decided to throw it all away.
As part of the evening, father and son will also look back on the life and career of Sir Michael (Parky) Parkinson himself, whose incredible career spanned decades and saw him interview over 2,000 of the most important cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries in an inimitably familiar and intimate style.
Among his most popular interviews were those he shared with his great friend George Best, whose best footballing years came with Manchester United. Best was plucked from the obscurity of Belfast’s Cregagh estate at the age of 15, and despite a shaky start he went on to score 179 goals from 470 appearances over 11 years, helping to lift Manchester United’s first European Cup in 1968 in a team that included Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.
Just as football made him a star, Best’s life was also characterised by his lavish lifestyle, his difficult relationships and a propensity for self-destruction. Often dubbed ‘the fifth Beatle’, Best was arguably the first footballing megastar, and his dabbling in the fashion industry and other businesses was certainly ahead of its time, if ill-advised.
By the time he passed away in 2005, Best had lived a life of many guises. Once a star with the world at his feet, it seemed at times that his troubles had become the main feature of his life. Despite it all, football fans across the world are forever thankful for the footage, the quick wit and the incredible legacy of George Best, the Belfast Boy.
Michael Parkinson said: “He was quick, two-footed, beautifully balanced. He could hit long and short passes with equal precision, was swift and fearless in the tackle and he reintroduced the verb ‘to dribble’. He was as imaginative and whimsical in midfield as he was economical and deadly given a chance at goal.”