“Is it my fault?” Calum Best opens up to charity about his relationship with alcoholic father in unseen footage
A previously-unseen video shows troubled Calum Best break down as he tells for the first time how he suffered ‘deep, dark issues’ because of his legendary dad’s alcoholism.
In a brutally honest interview, tearful Calum reveals that the footballing superstar would only be sober enough to talk to him for just TWO HOURS a day.
And he says he grew up thinking HE was to blame for the drink problems which ultimately drove his father to an early grave.
The heartfelt 20-minute footage is thought to be the first time the 34-year-old ever spoke publicly about life with Manchester United great George.
It shows Calum talking with the CEO of a charity that helps children whose parents are alcoholics. Calum has since become a patron of the organisation.
During the chat, which has only just come to light, he say as a youngster he would blame himself for his father’s frequent benders, convincing himself he’d driven George to do it.
He adds that while millions of people see his father as a legend, in his eyes his father will always be an alcoholic who left him with “deep, dark issues”.
Calum said: “I always used to think to myself [is it my fault]?
“I tried to learn to blame it on the booze. I tried to say that’s the darkness thing, that’s like the heroin addict, alcoholic.
“But then I’d sometimes be annoyed and think, why didn’t my old man, if he loved me enough, why didn’t he stop drinking? Was I not worth it?
“That always got to me because I always thought, Jesus, is it my fault? Am I driving my dad to drink?
“My mum luckily enough, was there to reassure me, no, it’s the alcohol, the alcohol takes over like a demon.”
Calum‘s father, George, often referred to as the greatest footballer to play for Northern Ireland, spent the bulk of his career at his first club, Manchester United.
But Best, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, quickly became known for his extravagant celebrity lifestyle and his love of women and alcohol.
He struggled with alcoholism for the majority of his adult life, which saw him steal money from a woman’s handbag to fund a drinking session.
Best was also caught drink driving twice and served three months in prison for drink driving, assaulting a police officer and failing to answer bail.
It’s for this reason Calum says he doesn’t see his father as a “legend” that millions of others do.
He said: “As much of a great person as he was […] I had a father who was an alcoholic, who was never there for me and it affects me in the long term.
“I have some deep, dark issues now because of not having my dad around.
“I was always thinking ‘why doesn’t he love me?’.
“I would come from the US to the UK and people would say ‘oh no he’s been talking about you coming for ages, he can’t wait to see you’ and then I would show up and he’d go on a bender.
“He would go on a serious bender and then some bad things would happen and I would think ‘ah Jesus, well did I just drive him to drink even harder?’.
“That’s what I find too is that you just want to have someone there who can say ‘I’m there with you and I’m dealing with the same thing.
“I hear every day ‘you’re father’s a legend’, and sometimes I say to people listen, I don’t say actually, I just say ‘thank you very much’.
“But sometimes people forget that for me personally, they forget he’s still my dad and he’s still someone I had to deal with as an alcoholic.”
The revelations were made during a conversation with Hilary Henriques, the CEO of charity National Association of Children of Alcoholics (NACOA), in 2008.
The charity, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, provide information, advice and support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking.
Following his conversation with Hilary, Calum became a patron for the charity, raising the profile of the work they do to support those affected by alcoholism.
He added: “I would have, maybe two hours in a day, where I could find my dad, when it was before, or maybe after one or two drinks before it started going down a dark round.
“During those one or two hours then we could get along, then obviously it would get.. the booze.
“He was a lovely person in so many ways but when the alcohol started he started screwing people over, he would do really bad things.
“Then to avoid facing those facts, facing the fact that he’s got a boy that he didn’t raise and he was never there for, that’s why he’d go on the benders when I would go around.”
Following his father’s death in 2005, Calum faced his own battled with drink and drugs.
He told Hilary: “Recently, when my old man passed I fell off the rails pretty hard, it affected me massively – especially because it was such a public thing.
“I fell off so hard. I just lost my old man that I was searching for a father figure for so long and then it was too late.
“Now I’m just kind of putting it all into terms.
“I start catching myself now ‘oh Calum, you’re drinking quite a bit’.
“So then I think ‘am I in denial?’ and then I say ‘oh no, I don’t wake up and crave a drink, I just like to go out and enjoy myself sometimes’.”