Confession time; George Best is somewhat of a hero in these parts. Not for the drinking or the self-destruction it wrought, not for the devil may care attitude to later life and the excess, but for what he did with a ball at his feet. There is now more than one generation for whom Best was an alcoholic occasional football pundit and a myriad of books that focus on his life away from the game - forget the good and concentrate on the bad and the ugly. This is criminal, he was a footballing genius deserving of the word in a world that now uses it all too casually.
Now many will see this book, perhaps, as unnecessary. Type in 'George Best books' on a popular shopping website named after a river, and you'll see on the first two pages of results there are 15 separate books on his life, his drinking, his career and his various tantrums away from the game. Thing is you need to ignore all that, Duncan Hamilton has now written the definitive text on the subject.
A brilliantly written book about such a compelling subject should be a tap-in but to take stories we've heard before, tell them in such a way as to feel like virgin territory and leave you with a sense of both joy that we had Best the player for any length of time and heartbreak it wasn't for longer, is masterful. What Hamilton does over various other books I've read on the subject is show how much Best loved the game and the joy he took in its simplicity and grace. Everyone knows and will tell you Best was an addict, what this book does is show you his first addiction was football.
Even if, like me, you go into it thinking you'll have read it all before there is a ridiculous amount of new ground covered here. At times it's as much a portrait of those in Best's life as it is of the man himself. There's only one George Best as the chant goes, there's now only one George Best book as well.
You can buy a copy of 'Immortal' here & frankly, IBWM can't recommend that you do highly enough.