Best’s wife ‘upset’ over drinking

GEORGE BEST was tonight back in the pub where he was said to have begun drinking again less than a year after his life-saving liver transplant.

The former Manchester United football star was thought to have arrived back at the Chequers Hotel in Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, at around midday - but appeared only to be sipping mineral water.

His 30-year-old wife Alex had earlier been described as being “absolutely furious” with the pub for reportedly serving her husband alcohol.

The landlord of the Chequers, Mark Noble Campbell, described her comments as “a bit out of order” but said the brewery which owned the pub, Young’s, would not be making an official statement until tomorrow.

And he denied that Best, 57, had stayed the night at the pub. The soccer legend was said to have left the Chequers, where he is a regular, after last orders last night.

But it was unclear whether he had returned to the picturesque brick and flint cottage he shares with his wife in nearby Upper Gatton.

His agent, Phil Hughes, said Alex was not angry with her husband, but was “very, very upset” that he had begun drinking again.

Best had been drinking again for about a week and he appeared to have a new bunch of friends who had “not been helping him”, Mr Hughes said. He had earlier insisted Best was “very remorseful” and had acknowledged that he needed help with his latest battle with alcohol.

“We need him to get help but it is only George who can help himself,” he said.

“He is not a stupid person. This has happened for whatever reason, we do not know. We need him to settle down and face facts.”

Mr Hughes said Alex and George had spoken since reports of his drinking had emerged and that she had vowed to stand by him.

He said it was a mystery as to why Best had started drinking again and he denied there was anything wrong which could have prompted him to return to alcohol.

Mr Hughes said Alex was devoted to helping her husband overcome his condition.

“She is not angry, she feels very sorry for George because it is just a horrible condition, he has been fighting it for three years now,” said Mr Hughes.

“She, (Alex) has devoted her life, the best part of it, to George. It is very upsetting for her. Absolutely everybody who loves George will support him to try and help him.”

Alex emerged from their home only briefly this morning, wearing a white vest top and mini skirt, but she declined to speak to waiting reporters.

Best also declined to be interviewed. The star seemed relaxed and happy as he chatted to a small group of children and friends, even pausing to sign autographs.

He was arrested by Surrey Police on Saturday on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm after an incident in the Chequers, reportedly involving a newspaper photographer.

But Best and a 31-year-old man also arrested at 5.30pm were released without charge. He was back in the pub by 10pm.

Last year Best pledged that he had abandoned drink forever after undergoing a liver transplant when he was said to have only weeks left to live.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox