ESPN Films will debut the 30 for 30 documentary, “George Best: All by Himself,” Thursday, July 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN leading into the Manchester United vs Manchester City game. Directed by BAFTA award-winning director Daniel Gordon (Hillsborough), the film recounts the tale of the beloved but bedeviled superstar George Best.
He was one of the best soccer players of all time; a handsome, charismatic lad from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who worked wonders with the ball and thrilled Great Britain. But George Best was also the lead in a Shakespearean tragedy fueled by drink and excess and depression. This 30 for 30 film tells his story through evocative footage and testimony by those who knew him at his best—and at his worst.
There’s a lot of ground to cover – from his electric debut with Manchester United at the age of 17, through the glory years that brought ManU the 1968 European Cup, to his adventures in the North American Soccer League. “George Best: All by Himself” will make viewers understand why an estimated quarter million people lined the route of his funeral cortege in 2005.
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“I wanted to make a film that dug beneath the surface of the caricature of ‘Britain’s First Pop Star Soccer Player’ and tell a tale of emotional depth that takes us on George’s rollercoaster journey of a life,” said director Daniel Gordon. “This is a cautionary tale. It is a story of addiction and what can happen to someone who has so much at such a young age, who reaches unimaginable heights—and then hits the ‘self-destruct’ button throughout the rest of his descent to rock bottom.”
The film will begin at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN, with the Manchester United vs. Manchester City game, held at NRG Stadium in Houston, immediately following (9:30 pm ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes).