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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February 2004, 10:54 GMT
Best banned for drink driving
George Best arriving at the Court
Magistrates called Best 's behaviour "irresponsible and unacceptable"
The former Northern Ireland international footballer, George Best, has pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge at Wimbledon Magistrates Court.

On Monday, 57-year-old Best was fined 1,500, banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to pay costs of 55.

The ex-Manchester United and Bournemouth star was stopped by police on the A3 in Merton in the early hours of Friday.

He spent about five hours in police custody before being charged.

Magistrate Sally Marley told Best: "We have taken into account your guilty plea but you were nearly two and a half times the legal limit and you were very close to being given a community penalty.

"It was irresponsible and unacceptable behaviour."

Family argument

Best, who was voted European Footballer of the Year during his brief career, agreed in court to attend drink-driving rehabilitation lessons.

If he completes the course, which costs about 150, he could have his ban reduced by up to five months.

The court heard he had driven after drinking following a row in a restaurant with his son Calum.

In the three decades since his career ended, Best has suffered from a well-publicised drink problem.

In July 2002, he underwent a life-saving liver transplant operation, vowing at the time to give up alcohol.

Monday's court hearing was told Best had been trying to drive himself to a health farm when he was stopped, having realised he needed to resolve his problems.

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