When O'Farrell finally had a private talk with Best he emerged saying, "I think he is a lonely boy, a very lonely boy." But then he dropped his ax. He fined Best two weeks' pay, ordered him to train with the regular team in the morning and with juniors every afternoon for a week and told him he must forfeit his day off for five weeks. He then cut at the root of Best's life, demanding that he move out of his house and back into digs with Mrs. Fullaway. All single players are required to live in boardinghouses, but Best had been an exception.
A headline in one of the next day's papers read, BEST MUST LEAVE HOME. Another said, THE BEST SENTENCE. Beneath it was an article by Mrs. Fullaway entitled I've Kept the Room Ready...For My Little Boy Lodger. "Don't feel sorry for the wee boy," says Pat Crerand, George's closest friend on United. "What he needs is a good kick in the arse. If Georgie keeps going on he will not last much longer than another two or three years. He has not got the same respect for football that he once had." Says another, "George needs help. He's got to find out who his friends are. People are getting famous just by being seen with him. There are too many people saying, 'Come on, George, have one more for the road.' " Dave Sadler, who once lived with Best in digs, says, "Sure, I lived with him, but I don't know him. I've not scratched the surface of him." The beauty queen Best had been seeing during his absence from United could only say, "How can he court me now?"
The question is surely of small concern these days to Best, who has become, to the stranger studying him, a curious, incomprehensible little man, instead of the cardboard figure revealing only a mania for girls and nocturnal wanderlust. Now there are glimpses of a hidden self, a self whipped by the compulsions of his youth and times, a Black Irish insistence on self-destruction. To the student of Best, they indicate much more than a caricature—and a future that could find him done in by his image. The race with his facade has left him lonely and confused, a small animal caught in a headlight. "My life controls me," he complains. "But I want to be in control of my life." Maybe that is what he was saying the day a girl he had been seeing stopped by to pick him up. He was gone, leaving only a note on his door. It read: "Nobody knows my name."