Hard Tackles and Dirty Baths: The Inside Story of Football's Golden Era
George Best.

Sir Alex Ferguson recently described George Best as unquestionably the greatest footballer of all time. There is much poignancy in the timing of his latest book.

This is Best's pitch-level account of his rise and fall in the 60s and early 70s. But (despite the title) those seeking the sex and scandal stories that fuelled his autobiography will be sorely disappointed here.

Best evokes a Boy's Own world of muddy pitches, holey socks and striker heroics that is so wholesome it borders on parody, and he is blunt and bitter in his condemnation of the celebrity-obsessed 'global business' and media circus of today's game.

In fact, Best seems determined to play down his own colourful legend and instead recounts with wide-eyed wonder his first encounters with such heroes as Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Moore, and Denis Law, who is sketched with particular affection.

This is clearly Best's love-letter to the Beautiful Game, and to his own youth with unashamed basking in nostalgia.

In the book's gloomier and most affecting moments, Best paints himself as a cautionary figures the first and costliest casualty of the celebrity juggernaut that ripped through football in the 70s.

Kieran Grant