THE life story of the great George Best told through the eyes of his closest friend has been immortalised in print thanks to a father-of-two from Ramsbottom.

At the height of Best’s fame, in Manchester, in the 1960s and 70s, his pal Malcolm ‘Waggy’ Wagner was with him every step of the way.

Tom Page, an engineer from Ramsbottom, has convinced Malcolm, dubbed ‘the man behind the champagne fountain’, to tell his story.

The book, ‘George Best and Me’, has been co-written by Tony and Malcolm and the pair say it is as much about the swinging 60s as it is about the ‘Belfast Boy’ who lit up Old Trafford with his wing wizardry by day and painted the town red by night.

Tom, who lives in Ramsbottom with his wife Jenny, said he met Malcolm a number of years ago.

He said: “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be writing a book about George Best and Malcolm Wagner.

"They were two of the biggest icons around in the 60s.

“I never thought I would get the inside story from the man George Best totally trusted.

“We’ve tried to produce something we’re both truely proud.”

Malcolm, who was lead singer in The Whirlwinds alongside future 10cc frontman Graham Gouldman, met Best in the 60s.

Having enjoyed success with his Village Barber hairdressers, he went into business with Best to open the Slack Alice nightclub, Manchester, in 1973, and has owned restaurants in the city including Oscars, on the site of the old Waldorf Hotel.

Before he retired he also owned the Grant Arms Hotel, in Market Place, Ramsbottom, in the early 90s.

In the book Malcolm reveals the story behind Best’s retirement from football, when the pair fled to Majorca.

He also describes how they evaded the Mafia by holing up in a millionaire’s Palm Springs mansion.

He said: “There are some funny bits and some sad bits.

“It’s been very emotional and cathartic but I have enjoyed every minute and I couldn’t be happier with the finished article.”

The pair will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones store, in the Trafford Centre, Manchester from 12.30pm on Saturday November 13 and at WHSmith, in the centre, at 7.30pm on Friday, November 26.

The book has been published by Empire and will be released on Monday.