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Calum to accept award for George Best, the father he put the boot into

By Claire McNeilly

Published 19/09/2015

Calum Best
Calum Best
Best's sister Barbara
Calum Best with his famous dad at George’s testimonial at Windsor Park

Calum Best may have lacerated his late father George in a recently published book, but he is still planning to accept a posthumous award on behalf of the Northern Ireland football legend.

George, who died almost 10 years ago at the age of 59, will be honoured for his Outstanding Contribution to Sport in Britain at the 2015 Irish Post Awards, hosted by Eamonn Holmes.

The awards mark the contribution of Irish people to British society.

Calum's decision to accept the award at the London Hilton on Park Lane on October 23 is unlikely to endear him to the rest of the Best family. They are still smarting from the 34-year-old's controversial book Second Best: My Dad And Me, which they believe denigrated the troubled Man United maestro's memory.

Calum argued that his book was a warts-and-all appraisal of what it's like to be the child of an alcohol-dependent father, citing incidents such as George hitting him and accusing him of having an affair with the former European Footballer of the Year's much younger second wife, Alex.

The part-time model and television presenter also recalled a night when a drunk George climbed into his bed, mistook his long blond hair for that of a woman, and kissed him.

And there were other anecdotes about alcoholic binges and prostitutes. The book's publication upset Best's sister Barbara and her husband Norman McNarry, who pointed out that Calum was only a baby when George split with his mother Angie in 1982, and that he hadn't actually been brought up by the fallen football superstar, but had lived "a life of privilege in a large mansion in California".

They added that father and son had not spent a huge amount of time together prior to George's death from liver failure in November 2005, and questioned the timing of the publication of the book, nearly a decade later.

But Calum, who has owned up to alcohol problems of his own, insisted that he idolised his famous Belfast-born father, adding: "I don't tell these stories to put my dad down, I tell these stories to explain what happened in my life with him.

"In many selfish ways it's because I want people to know the journey I went through, maybe show the reasons for some of the things I did, and reasons for the things he did."

Among the 2015 Irish Post recipients announced to date are Brian and Luke Comer of the Comer Group, who will receive an award for their Outstanding Contribution to Business in Britain.

Other awards on the night include the Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Contribution to the Film & Television Industry, Company of the Year and The Irish Post Community Award.

Last year the Outstanding Contribution to Sport in Britain Award was given to Liam Brady, the former midfielder for Arsenal, Juventus and the Republic of Ireland.

Acclaimed actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers received the Legend Award.

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