Calum Best: My dad punched me in drunken rage
The son of football legend George Best has told how his father punched him to the floor and roared “you are not mine” during a drunken rage.
Former model and reality TV star Calum (28) said speaking openly about his dad's violent alcohol-fuelled past was one of the hardest things he ever did.
He was speaking during a special BBC documentary for Children in Need where he shared some of his darkest memories about the iconic Northern Ireland and Manchester United star who he knew simply as “dad”.
Calum decided to make the ‘Brought Up By Booze’ film so that other children of alcoholic parents could find comfort and help.
Speaking yesterday on BBC Radio Ulster, he told how his father turned on him after he flew in from the USA to visit him.
Calum said: “I was aged about 15 or 16 and I showed up as he went on a massive bender. I was waiting for him to come in and when he got home he was completely wrecked and started yelling: ‘You are not my son — you are not mine’.
“He then grabbed me by the throat and gave me a solid hit to the head which knocked me to the floor. I started crying and he started yelling again.”
Calum said the man he knew in private when he had been drinking was so different to the sporting legend the public knew.
He added: “I loved him because he is my father, but when he had been drinking he became somebody else — when the demon drink was inside him he turned into someone completely different because I knew when he was sober he would never do anything bad to me.
“What affected me the most was knowing that my father had the potential to be a really great father figure. In the morning when he was sober he was such a loving, kind and generous person.
“However, after being in the pub he would turn into something else and that is when those horrible events would happen.”
Calum revealed that he almost followed his father into allowing booze to take over his life following the death of the football icon in 2005.
He added: “When dad died I gave up hope and I started drinking heavily, but I thought I cannot follow this downward spiral because I know where it ends.
“I am not taking away from George Best the footballer and I will always be proud to be my dad's son.
“I loved my father to bits and I am so proud that he is remembered for his football, but behind closed doors he wasn't George Best to me — he was dad, and my dad had an alcohol problem.”