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Sod This, I'm Off to Marbella - George Best [Paperback]

John Roberts
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 July 2010
It was 1972. Footballers werent supposed to bugger off to Spain in the middle of the season. George Best did. The man who followed him was John Roberts, a newspaper reporter who was given the task of shadowing Best during the most turbulent seasons of his Manchester United career. Roberts was the first journalist to be told by Best over a steak dinner in a Manchester pub that he wanted to leave United because the team wasn t good enough. Sod This I m Off To Marbella paints a unique picture of the game s biggest character between 1971-1973 revealing the pressures Best faced from the press and how the public failed to come to terms with his unprecedented fall from grace.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Trinity Mirror Sport Media (15 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906802416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906802417
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 726,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
John Roberts worked for decades as a senior sports writer on a variety of Britain's major newspapers: the great old Express when it was still revered, the Guardian, the Mail and the Independent, latterly as the tennis correspondent. He continues to contribute columns to the sportingintelligence website (which I edit, an interest I gladly declare because Roberts' work speaks for itself).
His books include the many-times reprinted The Team That Wouldn't Die (about the Munich air disaster), ghosted autobiographies of Bill Shankly (also recently updated and reprinted) and Kevin Keegan, and the official history of Everton.
'Sod This' is written with an insight and authority that only comes with having lived at the heart of the story: Roberts was George Best's 'ghost' for his Express columns during a period of turmoil for the player and the club. As such he spent days, months, years in Best's company. He saw first-hand the pressures of life as 'El Beatle', and what happened when those pressures became too much.
One fascinating section in this book tells the story of the day that Best became so annoyed at some criticism (and death threats), that he hand-wrote his own column that week. The original pages of writing are printed. That column went in the paper verbatim.
Sections of 'Sod This' were used contemporaneously in an early 70s book about Best's initial fall from grace. That was, in effect, a book that Manchester United banned at the time, and as such escaped the attentions of the vast majority of fans. The re-telling of the story now, with all the fresh perspective of knowing how Best subsequently lived - and died - only adds to the sum of our knowledge.
A lot of books, and a lot of nonsense, have been written about Best. This one takes you inside his life in the early 1970s, inside his house, inside his relationships, inside an era. Written by someone who was there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Title 19 Jan 2011
I dont usually do reviews, in fact this is my first one but this one needs a public health warning. This book's title, picture and blurb suggests it is all about a short period of time in the early 70's when George Best went off to Marbella mid-season and the author accompanied him. One hopes for a book full of interesting (and salacious?) stories. It has none of that. In fact it is a pedestrian and dated, albeit quite touching in places, narrative of this journalist's relationship with George Best throughout his career. The book has been re-titled and given a new 'sexier' cover. Anything vaguely interesting is glossed over. The actual trip to Marbella is covered in about one page and there is no detail at all - as the author didnt go with him! He claims it couldn't be published because it was so controversial at the time. My view is that it wasn't published because it was too dull.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Irresistible 7 May 2011
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I enjoyed this book , as it was written at the time, so gives the familer story insight rather than "Misty Eyed" nostalgia.I'm a Spurs supporter, but loved watching George Best play football. In the '60's and '70's, he was the first Utd player you looked for in any photos. I read his Shoot column, I watched his Soccer Skills programme, never quite managed them myself, but , I'm sure I was not alone in that !
I bought his prophetic " Where Do I Go From Here? " first autobiography in 1980. I love the title of this new book, but as we all know the sad end to his life, there is a restrained view to the Best life Style Legend that we grew up with .
I've lived and worked in Cheshire ( and N.Ireland ) for 20 years, so know all the places in this book . Its written almost as a Diary from 1971 to 1973, two of the most turbulent and transitional periods in George Bests life . Underneath all the Talent , and the hype, is a man . Surrounded by lots of people , but ultimately lonely .
At this stage of his career, he was being criticised by the media ,for his life style . He was often frustrated , which comes out on the field , when he is being chopped from behind , interestingly , he forsees a time when this will become
out lawed, which it has . He is being banned for retaliating , and not being able to do the one thing he loves most, playing football .
Underneath that , he envies Dennis Laws family life . A Bottle of Expensive Champagne arrives from Ringo Starr and Marc Bolan to cheer him up, when he is getting pelters from the World , which he appreciates.
Its the inside human story that makes this different , from all the other books on George Best .
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic read but offers nothing terribly new. 31 July 2010
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This publication is primarily John Roberts' 1973 book ' Fall of a superstar ' with a different title. It nicely incorporates the beginning of George Best's problems at Old Trafford and follows the downfall of both United and George circa 1972. For older United fans then the book offers nothing terribly new but for those not knowing yet wanting to read a little about George's early problems then it is a nicely paced and nostalgic read. For further reading about Best, I would strongly recommend his own autobiography ' Blessed ' and the soon to be released ' When George came to Edinburgh ' book written by John Neil Munro. This is the fascinating story of George's brief though eventful career at Hibernian in his twilight playing years.
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