George Best Profile

George Best

Ge­orge Best, born Bel­fast, North­ern Ire­land, May 22, 1946. Ge­orge Best was in all prob­ab­il­ity the finest foot­baller ever to be born. A hurt­ling flank­man wi­th ex­cep­tion­al tal­ent and skills, he sig­ned his fir­st pro­fes­sion­al con­tract wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted in May 1963 at the age of sev­en­teen and from there he went on to be­come a vi­tal mem­ber of one of the greatest te­ams ever as­sembled and proved to be such a foot­balling great that the sup­port­ers of the club sin­cerely be­lieved that their idol nev­er could be replaced.

At Man­chester Uni­ted, Ge­orge Best would ap­pear in a te­am which con­tained wor­ld class pro­fes­sion­als such as Bob­by Charl­ton, Pad­dy Cre­rand, Bill Foulk­es, Da­vid Herd, De­nis Law, Da­vid Sad­ler, and Nob­by Sti­les. A cre­at­ive and in­dus­tri­ous per­former, Best was al­ways pre­pared to play the right ball in­stead of just hoof­ing it every­where and al­though he was ori­gin­ally a wing­er, the pre­co­ciously tal­en­ted youth ul­ti­mately de­veloped in­to an in­cred­ible pro­duct­ive and ver­sat­ile play­er who could eas­ily op­er­ate up front­line or in the middle of the park if need­ed. Whi­le wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted, the vastly cel­eb­rated crowd puller won the Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­on­ship title in 1964-65 and 1966-67 re­spect­ively, and then the coveted UEFA Euro­pean Cup when his si­de de­feated twice win­ners Ben­fica in the fi­nal in May 1968. He would go on to play well over 400 mat­ches for Man­chester Uni­ted and his name will al­ways be in­ex­tric­ably linked to the club where he spent the ma­jor­ity of his pro­fes­sion­al ca­reer be­fore he left Old Traf­ford in Jan­uary 1974. He also col­lec­ted 37 full caps for North­ern Ire­land be­tween 1964 and 1967, but he nev­er rea­ched a ma­jor in­ter­na­tion­al tour­na­ment wi­th his country.

Ge­orge Best was the eld­est of six chil­dren in a work­ing-class Free Pres­by­teri­an fam­ily in Creragh, East Bel­fast. His fath­er, Dick­ie, was a shipyard work­er at Har­land and Wolff, whi­le his moth­er, Anne, wor­ked on the pro­duc­tion line of the Gal­la­her To­bacco Fact­ory. Best, who­se fath­er used to be a mem­ber of The Or­ange Or­der, grew up sup­port­ing Ir­ish Lea­gue out­fit Glentor­an and wanted to play for The Glens as a boy, but he was turned down by the Prot­est­ant club be­cause they be­lieved that he was far too small to make the grade. He was ev­entually dis­covered by now le­gendary Man­chester United´s North­ern Ire­land scout Bob Bish­op, who had a very sharp eye for spot­ting young and emer­ging tal­ent, at the age of fif­teen and ar­rived at The Cliff Train­ing Gro­und in Man­chester on tri­al in the warm sum­mer of 1961 along wi­th fel­low North­ern Ire­land na­tive Eric Mc­M­ordie. The im­mensely gif­ted young­ster soon be­came home­sick and went back to North­ern Ire­land af­ter on­ly two days, but re­turned and spent two years as an am­a­teur play­er whi­le work­ing as a clerk for the Man­chester Ship Canal Com­pany and then as an elec­tri­cian for a loc­al busi­ness owned by a Uni­ted sup­port­er be­fore he was offered his fir­st pro­fes­sion­al con­tract by the club on his 17th  birth­day on the 22th of May 1963.

The Bel­fast Boy was at long last han­ded his much an­ti­cip­ated and well de­served seni­or de­but for FA Cup hold­ers Man­chester Uni­ted by long-serving boss Matt Busby in a 1-0 win ag­ainst West Brom­wich Al­bion at Old Traf­ford on the 14th of Septem­ber 1963 and re­gistered his fir­st goal for the si­de in a 5-1 ho­me crush­ing of Burn­ley on the 28th of Dec­ember. For­mer Ar­senal for­ward Da­vid Herd han­ded Man­chester Uni­ted an early 1-0 lead af­ter el­ev­en min­utes be­fore Gra­ham Moore sco­red a sec­ond goal make it 2-0 in the 25th min­ute. And as the fix­ture wore on, Best ad­ded a third when he fired an un­stoppable shot from the edge of the box pa­st Burn­ley goal­keeper Ad­am Black­law and in­to the net wi­th sev­en min­utes left of the fir­st ha­lf. Fol­low­ing the in­ter­val, Moore and Herd com­pleted their braces in the 68th and 70th min­utes re­spect­ively, whi­le Andy Loch­head notched up a late con­sol­a­tion goal for the vis­it­ors in the 87th min­ute. Af­ter scor­ing in a 4-1 suc­cess over West Brom­wich at The Haw­thorns on the 18th of Jan­uary 1964, Best net­ted in a 4-0 FA Cup Fifth Ro­und win ag­ainst Third Di­vi­sion Barns­ley at Oak­well on the 15th of Feb­ruary be­fore hit­ting a brace either si­de of the break in a 5-0 tri­umph ag­ainst Bol­ton Wan­derers at Old Traf­ford four days la­ter. Now well es­tab­lished in the fir­st te­am, he sco­red the last goal of a 3-3 FA Cup Quart­er-Fi­nal draw wi­th Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Sun­der­land at Old Traf­ford on Leap Day and fin­ished the 1963-64 sea­son hav­ing sco­red six goals in fir­st te­am 26 appearances.

His fir­st goal of the 1964-65 cam­paign ar­rived in a fine 3-1 vic­tory over FA Cup win­ners West Ham Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford on the 2nd of Septem­ber, in what was Man­chester United´s fir­st win of the new sea­son. John Con­nelly gave the hosts the up­per hand as the out­side for­ward launched a fierce shot pa­st away goal­keeper Jim Stan­den and in­to the net af­ter on­ly a min­ute of play, but an own goal by Sti­les gif­ted the vis­it­ing te­am an equal­iser just four min­utes la­ter. Man­chester Uni­ted fou­ght on and re­gained the lead wi­th a goal from Law on 28 min­utes and when Best be­at Stan­den in the 53rd min­ute the ga­me was bey­ond reach for the vis­it­ors. Af­ter scor­ing ag­ainst West Ham, Best net­ted the open­ing goal in a 2-1 suc­cess ag­ainst Ever­ton at Old Traf­ford on the 16th of Septem­ber and a fort­night la­ter he also hit the open­er in a 2-0 win over Fir­st Di­vi­sion lead­ers Chel­sea at Stam­ford Bridge which took Man­chester Uni­ted up to sec­ond po­s­i­tion, a mere two points be­hind the West Lon­doners. On the 27th of Oct­ober, Best fou­nd the net in a 6-1 Inter-Cit­ies Fair Cup Fir­st Ro­und Sec­ond Leg vic­tory ag­ainst Swedish Cham­pi­ons Djur­garden of Stock­holm at Old Traf­ford and was one of the main prot­ag­on­ists in Man­chester United´s 2-0 tri­umph over Liver­pool at An­field three days af­ter that, a res­ult that push­ed them to the top of the stand­ings. Af­ter net­ting a goal in a 6-1 Inter-Cit­ies Fair Cup Sec­ond Ro­und Fir­st Leg win ag­ainst Ger­man Bundes­liga Bor­us­sia Dort­mund at West­falen­stadi­on on the 11th of Nov­ember, he was on the score­sheet in a 3-0 drub­bing of loc­al rivals Black­burn Rov­ers be­fore a 50,000 crowd at Old Traf­ford ten days la­ter and then re­gistered the win­ner in a 1-0 tri­umph over Shef­field Uni­ted at Bramall Lane on Box­ing Day which en­sured Man­chester Uni­ted re­mained at the very top of the Lea­gue Di­vi­sion One table.

On the 9th of Jan­uary, Ge­orge Best star­ted the new year by scor­ing a goal in Man­chester United´s 2-1 FA Cup Third Ro­und win over Fourth Di­vi­sion Chester City at Old Traf­ford. The Seals, who had de­feated Third Di­vi­sion Barns­ley 5-2 at Oak­well in the pre­vi­ous ro­und, took a shock lead when for­mer Pre­ston North End and Bris­tol Rov­ers wing­er Jim­my Humes be­at Uni­ted goal­keeper Pat Dun­ne wi­th a diving head­er in the ninth min­ute, but goals from Best and Liver­pool born Al­bert Kin­sey in the 56th and 59th min­utes saw Man­chester Uni­ted emerge vic­tori­ous in the end. Best got back on the scor­ing track as he notched an early open­er in 3-2 suc­cess ag­ainst Burn­ley at Old Traf­ford on the 13th of Feb­ruary and was also among the goal scorers in a pal­pit­at­ing 5-3 FA Cup Quart­er-Fi­nal tri­umph over fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion club Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at Mo­lineux Grounds on the 10th of Mar­ch. And af­ter net­ting one of the goals in a 4-0 ho­me trash­ing of Lea­gue Cup fi­nal­ists Chel­sea on the 13th of Mar­ch, he re­gistered a brace either si­de of ha­lf-time in a 4-2 away win ag­ainst bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Birm­ing­ham City on the 19th of April and grabbed a goal in a 3-1 vic­tory at ho­me to Ar­senal the fol­low­ing week. Man­chester Uni­ted had shown a re­mark­able con­sist­ency since Christ­mas and des­pite suf­fer­ing a 2–1 de­feat at the hands of As­ton Vil­la at Vil­la Park on the 28th of April, they were crow­ned cham­pi­ons for the sixth time in their his­tory on goal av­er­age ahead of Leeds. In total, Best amassed a cred­it­able 14 goals in 59 mat­ches in all com­pet­i­tions for Man­chester Uni­ted that cam­paign and his fa­me kept on growing.

Best opened his scor­ing ac­count of the 1965-66 sea­son wi­th a late goal in a 4-2 loss ag­ainst Not­ting­ham For­est at City Gro­und on the 24th Au­gust and high­lighted his form by hit­ting a double in a 6-0 Euro­pean Cup Pre­lim­in­ary Ro­und Sec­ond Leg vic­tory ag­ainst Finnish Cham­pi­ons HJK Hel­sinki at Old Traf­ford on the 6th of Oct­ober. Show­ing plenty of aptitude for goals, he hit a single in a 2-0 win over FA Cup hold­ers Liver­pool at Old Traf­ford three days la­ter and an­oth­er goal in a com­pre­hens­ive 5-0 vic­tory ag­ainst fel­low middle-of-the-ta­ble out­fit Lei­cester City at Fil­bert Street on the 13th of Nov­ember. Fol­low­ing the ini­tial skir­mishes, Con­nelly gave Man­chester Uni­ted, who were wear­ing an all-white kit for the fix­ture, the up­per hand as the pacey and tricky wing­er con­ver­ted a slick pass from Herd on el­ev­en min­utes be­fore the pro­vider fou­nd the back of the net him­self wi­th a long-dis­tance rock­et a min­ute pa­st the hour-ma­rk to double the lead for the vis­it­ors. And wi­th about a min­ute left of the fir­st ha­lf, Herd re­cor­ded his sec­ond goal of the mat­ch when he head­ed a per­fectly de­livered cross from Best pa­st ho­me goal­keeper Gor­don Banks and in­to the bot­tom left cor­ner of the net to make it 3-0 to Man­chester Uni­ted. Af­ter the re­start of play, Charl­ton hit the fourth goal of the day as he fired the ball in­to the net via the bar in the 70th min­ute of the meet­ing, and a mere three min­utes la­ter Best roun­ded off the scor­ing wi­th a won­der­ful in­di­vidu­al ef­fort to seal an em­phat­ic away win over Lei­cester. On the 20th of Nov­ember, he fou­nd the tar­get twice in a 3-1 suc­cess over Shef­field Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford and re­peated the feat wi­th an­oth­er brace in a clo­se 3-2 tri­umph ag­ainst Sun­der­land at Roker Park on the 11th of Dec­ember. He was back on the score­sheet wi­th a fir­st-ha­lf goal in a busi­ness-like 3-0 vic­tory at ho­me to Ever­ton on the 15th of Dec­ember and played an im­port­ant part in a 5-1 ho­me route of Tot­ten­ham a mere three days later.

East Bel­fast’s most fam­ous son bro­ught his form in­to the new year of 1966 by net­ting in a 1-1 ho­me draw wi­th Sun­der­land on the 8th of Jan­uary. A fort­night la­ter, he re­gistered a fir­st-ha­lf brace in a 5-2 FA Cup Third Ro­und win over Der­by Coun­ty at Base­ball Gro­und and then sco­red a sec­ond-ha­lf goal in a 4-2 FA Cup Fifth Ro­und vic­tory ag­ainst Wolver­hampton at Mo­lineux on the 5th of Mar­ch. Even tho­ugh he al­ready had made a name for him­self, his re­al break­through on the con­tin­ent­al scene ar­rived in the mem­or­able 5-1 Euro­pean Cup Quart­er-Fi­nal Sec­ond Leg tri­umph ag­ainst Por­tuguese Primeira Liga gi­ants Ben­fica at the Sta­dium of Lights in Lis­bon four days la­ter when he sco­red an­oth­er brace. In front of a bois­ter­ous 75,000 strong ho­me crowd, Best put the Eng­lish Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­ons two goals up with­in the fir­st twelve min­utes of the mid­week fix­ture, whi­le Con­nelly, Cre­rand, and Charl­ton all net­ted a goal each to bring the Old Traf­ford club´s tally to five. Best re­turned to Man­chester as a hero, but un­for­tu­nately his sea­son was shortened when he sus­tained a knee in­jury fol­low­ing a heavy chal­lenge dur­ing a closely fou­ght 1-1 FA Cup Quart­er-Fi­nal draw ag­ainst Pre­ston North End at Deep­dale on the 26th of Mar­ch. The med­ic­al staff at Man­chester Uni­ted claimed it was light lig­a­ment dam­age, but Best was not con­vinced about the treat­ment he was get­ting at Old Traf­ford and he secretly saw Glentor­an and North­ern Ire­land physio­ther­ap­ist Bob­by Mc­Gregor who suc­cess­fully dealt wi­th the in­jury prob­lem. Des­pite his in­jury break, Best nev­er­the­less re­cor­ded 17 goals in 43 ap­pear­ances in all com­pet­i­tions for Man­chester Uni­ted dur­ing the 1965-66 cam­paign, but the club failed to win any ma­jor honours.

Man­chester Uni­ted, who had dis­pensed wi­th the ser­vices of John Con­nelly and Wil­fred Tranter dur­ing the sum­mer months, began the 1966-67 sea­son in ex­cel­lent style wi­th a 5-3 vic­tory over West Brom­wich Al­bion at Old Traf­ford on the 20th of Au­gust, wi­th Law re­gis­ter­ing a brace and Best, Herd, and Sti­les pro­du­cing a goal each for the hosts. Best, who­se knee was back to full strength, sco­red his sec­ond goal in a week as he hit a sec­ond-ha­lf con­sol­a­tion in a 3-1 de­feat to Leeds Uni­ted at El­land Road on the 27th of Au­gust and showed his worth by set­ting up two goals in a 3-2 win ag­ainst slow starters New­castle Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford on the 3rd of Septem­ber. An ex­cru­ci­at­ing 5-1 Lea­gue Cup Sec­ond Ro­und loss to fel­low Di­vi­sion One si­de Black­pool at Bloom­field Road on the 14th Septem­ber was soon brushed off by a 1-0 vic­tory over Man­chester City at Old Traf­ford three days la­ter, but Best had to wait un­til Guy Fawke´s Day for his next goal in a ruth­less 3-1 win ag­ainst Fir­st Di­vi­sion lead­ers Chel­sea at Stam­ford Bridge. The fire­works star­ted when Man­chester Uni­ted left-wing­er John As­ton took ad­vant­age of a rare blun­der by Chel­sea and Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­al goal­keeper Pe­ter Bonetti to put the vis­it­ors in­to the lead wi­th some five min­utes re­maining of the fir­st ha­lf. And eight­een min­utes in­to the sec­ond ha­lf, Best proved his weight in gold for his te­am as the twenty-year-old soc­cer wiz­ard un­leashed a tre­mend­ous shot that left Bonetti wi­th ab­so­lutely no chan­ce to save. As the ha­lf mo­ved on, John Hollins re­duced the de­fi­cit for The Pen­sion­ers in the 73rd min­ute, but As­ton re­stored Man­chester United´s two goal ad­vant­age a mere three min­utes la­ter to com­plete his double. On the 30th of Nov­ember, Best was on tar­get ag­ain in a 2-1 vic­tory over Lei­cester City at Fil­bert Street and then struck twice in a bat­tling 2-2 draw ag­ainst de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Liver­pool at Old Traf­ford on the 10th of Dec­ember, tak­ing his goal tally to six goals.

Man­chester Uni­ted had now mo­ved in­to a high­er gear and fol­low­ing a goal­less, but event­ful, draw to Leeds Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford on New Year´s Eve, the club entered Jan­uary sit­ting top of the pile wi­th 33 points won from 24 ga­mes, two points above sec­ond pla­ced Liver­pool and three ahead of Not­ting­ham For­est in third spot. On the 28th of Jan­uary, Man­chester Uni­ted be­at fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion si­de Sto­ke City by 2-0 at ho­me in the third ro­und of the FA Cup, but were knock­ed out in the next sta­ge af­ter suf­fer­ing a 2-1 ho­me de­feat ag­ainst Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Nor­wich City on the 18th of Feb­ruary. Re­fus­ing to be down­hearted, Best qui­ckly put the dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion of the loss to The Ca­nar­ies be­hind him and help­ed Man­chester Uni­ted to an ab­so­lutely stun­ning 4-0 tri­umph ag­ainst base­ment dwell­ers Black­pool at Old Traf­ford the fol­low­ing week. Best, who was all over the pitch in every mat­ch he played, had a goal dis­al­lowed in a 1-1 draw to Ar­senal at High­bury on the 3rd of Mar­ch, but sco­red in a pul­sating 2-2 draw wi­th Ful­ham watched by an at­tend­ance of more than 47,000 people at Craven Cot­tage on East­er Monday and was on tar­get ag­ain in a no-non­sense 3-0 tri­umph over West Ham Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford on April Fool´s Day. On the 29th of April, he joi­ned fel­low for­wards As­ton and Law on the score­sheet in an­oth­er 3-0 win, this time ag­ainst re­leg­a­tion wor­ried As­ton Vil­la at Old Traf­ford, and sev­en days la­ter he grabbed his tenth and fi­nal goal of the sea­son in a dom­in­ant 6-1 ham­mer­ing of West Ham at an over­crowded Boleyn Gro­und in East Lon­don, a res­ult that clin­ched the Di­vi­sion One title for Man­chester Uni­ted. And not on­ly was Best ever pre­sent in the si­de, he was the main at­trac­tion on the field.

Man­chester Uni­ted came ag­on­isingly clo­se to win­ning the title ag­ain the fol­low­ing year, los­ing out to their old foes Man­chester City by just two points. Best had his fir­st goal of the 1967-68 cam­paign in a 1-1 draw wi­th Shef­field Wed­nesday at Hills­bor­ough on the 16th of Septem­ber and pro­ceeded to score a brace either si­de of the in­ter­val in a 3-1 de­feat of Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at Old Traf­ford the fol­low­ing week. On the 25th of Oct­ober, he was among the goal scorers in a 4-0 route of Cov­entry City at Old Traf­ford and four days la­ter he hit a con­sol­a­tion goal in 3-1 loss to Not­ting­ham For­est at City Gro­und. On the 4th of Nov­ember, he played a vi­tal part in the win­ning goal in a 1-0 vic­tory over Sto­ke City at Old Traf­ford as his shot was par­ried in­to the path of Charl­ton who ef­fort­lessly put the ball in­to the net at the fir­st at­tempt, and a week la­ter he re­cor­ded a fir­st-ha­lf brace in a 2-1 beat­ing of Liver­pool at An­field. Best opened the scor­ing as he be­at Tom­my Law­rence wi­th a head­er from a cor­ner by John As­ton in the 18th min­ute and ad­ded a sec­ond goal five min­utes be­fore the break when he took ad­vant­age of a mis­judge­ment by the goal­keeper to eas­ily steer the ball in­to the net. Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­al Ro­ger Hunt pulled one back for the hosts in the 83 min­ute, but his goal came too late and the vis­it­ing si­de held on for the points. Wi­th his form still in­tact, his goal scor­ing ex­ploits con­tin­ued in a 2-1 Euro­pean Cup Sec­ond Ro­und Sec­ond Leg win over Yugo­slavian Cham­pi­ons FK Sa­ra­jevo at Old Traf­ford on the 29th of Nov­ember as he net­ted the de­cider in the 63rd min­ute of a mat­ch that fea­tured plenty of fouls com­mit­ted by The Ma­roon-Whi­tes. Wi­th the sea­son ap­proach­ing ha­lf-way, he hit a brace in a 2-1 vic­tory at ho­me to West Brom­wich on the 2nd of Dec­ember and re­cor­ded an­oth­er two goals in a 4-0 ho­me hu­mi­li­ation of Wolver­hampton on Box­ing Day. Af­ter beat­ing Wol­ves, Man­chester Uni­ted were now top­ping the top-flight ta­ble wi­th 33 points, three more than Liver­pool and Man­chester City who were sec­ond and third re­spect­ively, where­as at the oth­er end of the stand­ings Ful­ham, Shef­field Uni­ted, and Cov­entry City were all fight­ing to avoid relegation.

A goal in a 3-1 win ag­ainst West Ham Uni­ted at ho­me on the 6th of Jan­uary was fol­lowed by a brace either si­de of the ha­lf-time break in a 4-2 ho­me vic­tory over Shef­field Wed­nesday a fort­night la­ter. Then, on the last day of the month, Best was among the  goal scorers in an ac­tion-packed and en­thralling 2-2 FA Cup Third Ro­und draw ag­ainst hold­ers Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in front of a bump­er crowd of more than 63,000 on­look­ers at Old Traf­ford. Af­ter re­cently sig­ned for­ward Mar­tin Chivers had giv­en Tot­ten­ham the up­per hand in the sec­ond min­ute, Best soon lev­elled the score for Man­chester Uni­ted wi­th an out-of-this-wor­ld ef­fort a couple of min­utes la­ter. Fol­low­ing the in­ter­val, Charl­ton han­ded Uni­ted the ad­vant­age for the fir­st time in the mat­ch wi­th sev­en­teen min­utes re­maining, on­ly for Chivers to equal­ise for Spurs in the very last min­ute of the third ro­und tie. Man­chester Uni­ted were nar­rowly beaten 1-0 by Tot­ten­ham in the re­play at Old Traf­ford four days la­ter, but they qui­ckly re­deemed them­selves as they edged out The Li­ly­whites by a 2-1 sco­reline in a Fir­st Di­vi­sion fix­ture at White Hart Lane on the 3rd of Feb­ruary thanks to goals from Best and Charl­ton in the 18th and 88th min­utes re­spect­ively. On the 17th of Feb­ruary, Best net­ted a con­sol­a­tion in a 2-1 loss ag­ainst a well-struc­tured Burn­ley te­am at Turf Moor and car­ried his form by hit­ting one of the goals in a 2-0 de­feat of Lea­gue Cup fi­nal­ists Ar­senal at High­bury the fol­low­ing week, wi­th his goal com­ing in the 56th min­ute when he be­at a string of de­fenders be­fore un­leash­ing a fe­ro­cious shot bey­ond the grasp of ex-Burn­ley and Liver­pool cus­todi­an Jim Fur­nell and in­to the net. And wi­th that vic­tory, Man­chester Uni­ted in­creased their lead at the top of the Fir­st Di­vi­sion to three points over sec­ond pla­ced Leeds Uni­ted. Mean­while, at the oth­er end of the stand­ings, Ful­ham lan­guished at the foot of the ta­ble af­ter suf­fer­ing a 2-1 loss at the hands of West Brom­wich at The Hawthorns.

The goals kept on flow­ing and he re­gistered a goal in a 3-1 ho­me de­feat to fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion title con­tenders Man­chester City on the 27th of Mar­ch and grabbed him­self an­oth­er in a 2-1 loss ag­ainst Liver­pool, who were also chas­ing the title, on ho­me soil on the 6th of April. Cheered on by a 63,000-strong crowd, Di­vi­sion One lead­ers Man­chester Uni­ted opened the scor­ing when Best re­ceived a beau­ti­ful pass de­livered by Charl­ton and then com­posedly pla­ced the ball pa­st the ad­van­cing Law­rence and in­to the goal wi­th just two min­utes played. Not los­ing their fight­ing spir­it, the away te­am re­spon­ded im­me­di­ately as Ron Yeats and Hunt fou­nd the net in the ninth and sev­en­teenth min­utes re­spect­ively and the hosts nev­er re­covered from that. The res­ult at Old Traf­ford meant Man­chester Uni­ted tumbled down to sec­ond po­s­i­tion in the top-flight stand­ings, where­as Liver­pool re­tained their fourth place. As the month pro­gressed, Best earned him­self a fir­st-ha­lf brace in a 4-0 de­moli­tion of Ful­ham, who were on their way to re­leg­a­tion, at Craven Cot­tage on Good Fri­day and got the equal­iser in a 2-2 draw wi­th South­ampton at The Dell on East­er Sat­urday. He struck ag­ain in a 3-0 tri­umph at ho­me to Ful­ham on East­er Monday and put in a vali­ant ef­fort in the 1-0 win ag­ainst Shef­field Uni­ted on ho­me gro­und five days la­ter des­pite a strained leg muscle. On the 24th of April, he re­gistered the win­ner in a 1-0 Euro­pean Cup Semi-Fi­nal Fir­st Leg vic­tory over La Liga´s Re­al Mad­rid at Old Traf­ford where he be­at Span­ish in­ter­na­tion­al goal­keeper An­tonio Betan­cort wi­th an awe­some left-footed shot from in­side the 18-yard area in the 36th min­ute of the tie. His scor­ing touch re­mained and he ended the sea­son wi­th a mag­ni­fi­cent tally of 32 goals in 53 ap­pear­ances in all com­pet­i­tions for Man­chester Uni­ted, in­clud­ing a goal in the un­for­get­table 4-1 tri­umph ag­ainst Por­tuguese Cham­pi­ons Ben­fica in the Euro­pean Cup Fi­nal at Wemb­ley Sta­dium on the 29th of May.

At Wemb­ley that night, Man­chester Uni­ted would be play­ing the kind of foot­ball oth­er te­ams could on­ly dream about. Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­al Bob­by Charl­ton pro­vided Uni­ted wi­th the lead af­ter 53 min­utes of en­ter­tain­ing ac­tion when he head­ed a cross de­livered by Sad­ler pa­st Jose Hen­rique and in­to the net, but Por­tugal mid­fielder Jai­me Graca ma­naged to equal­ise for Ben­fica as he be­at Al­ex Step­ney from clo­se ran­ge in the 75th min­ute. Man­chester Uni­ted ev­entually won the en­thralling con­test in North Lon­don by a three goal mar­gin cour­tesy of a goal each from Best, Bri­an Kidd, and Charl­ton in ex­tra time, be­com­ing the fir­st Eng­lish club ever to win the trophy. As well as hit­ting one of the goals ag­ainst The Eagles of Lis­bon, Geor­gie also fin­ished as top goal scor­er in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion, and the nat­ur­al born en­ter­tain­er was de­servedly voted bo­th Eng­lish and Euro­pean Play­er of the Year in 1968. Best, who was no longer the in­tro­vert and mod­est per­son he used to be when he fir­st ar­rived at Uni­ted eight years earli­er, was now ready to take on more re­spons­ib­il­ity and aired his am­bi­tion to be­come cap­tain of the club, but Busby re­fused on ac­count of him be­ing far too young.

The 1968-69 cam­paign proved to be some­thing of an anti-cli­max, wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted fin­ish­ing a me­diocre el­ev­enth in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble and be­ing knock­ed out of the FA Cup in the quart­er-fi­nals by Ever­ton. In the Euro­pean Cup, Man­chester Uni­ted suf­fered a 2-1 ag­greg­ate de­feat in the semi-fi­nals ag­ainst even­tu­al win­ners AC Mil­an, a te­am well-known for seek­ing to win mat­ches be­cause of re­l­at­ively un­ortho­dox meth­ods, and in the In­ter­con­tin­ent­al Cup they lost to Copa Liber­ta­dores win­ners Estu­di­antes de La Plata by the same ag­greg­ate score. Man­chester Uni­ted, who had a fully fit fir­st te­am squad at their dis­pos­al, ini­ti­ated the sea­son by beat­ing a strong and power­ful Ever­ton si­de 2-1 be­fore a sell-out at­tend­ance of  61,000 spec­tat­ors at Old Traf­ford on the 10th of Au­gust thro­ugh fir­st-ha­lf goals from Best and Charl­ton, but then hit an in­con­sist­ent patch of form, pick­ing up on­ly three points in their next four ga­mes. La­ter that month, Scot­land in­ter­na­tion­al Wil­lie Mor­gan joi­ned Man­chester Uni­ted from near­by Burn­ley, a club widely known for selling their best play­ers, for a re­cord trans­fer fee of £117,000 and the wing­er was presen­ted wi­th the icon­ic num­ber sev­en shirt which un­til then had be­en worn by Best. Mor­gan was with­out the shad­ow of a doubt a highly tal­en­ted play­er, but he was not one of a kind as Best was and any com­par­is­on to the lat­ter would have be­en grossly un­fair. Af­ter ma­king the score­sheet in a dra­mat­ic and sur­pris­ing 5-4 de­feat to Shef­field Wed­nesday at Hills­bor­ough on the 31st of Au­gust, Best con­tin­ued to stand head and shoulders above the rest and sco­red him­self his fir­st brace of the cam­paign in a 3-1 win over fel­low mid-ta­blers New­castle Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford on the 21st of Septem­ber, bring­ing his tally to four goals. On the 5th of Oct­ober, The Troubles broke out in North­ern Ireland.

Best in­spired Man­chester Uni­ted to an as­ton­ish­ing two-goal come­back in a whirl­wind 2-2 draw ag­ainst Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at White Hart Lane on the 9th of Oct­ober, but missed the ag­on­ising 2-0 loss to title chal­lengers Liver­pool at An­field three days la­ter be­cause of in­jury. On the 16th of the same month, he re­ceived his march­ing or­ders for the fir­st time in his ro­und ball ca­reer in a bru­tal 1-1 In­ter­con­tin­ent­al Cup Sec­ond Leg draw wi­th Os­valdo Zubeldía´s Estu­di­antes de La Plata si­de at Old Traf­ford where Mor­gan ma­naged to score a late equal­iser af­ter Ju­an Ra­mon Ver­on, the fath­er of Ju­an Se­basti­an Ver­on, had giv­en The Rat Stab­bers an early ad­vant­age. In mit­ig­a­tion, Best had be­en de­lib­er­ately pro­voked sev­er­al times by Jose Hugo Med­ina and he fi­nally re­tali­ated by punch­ing the de­fender in the face wi­th the res­ult that bo­th were sent off. Geor­gie soon got back on the scor­ing trail as he re­cor­ded a fir­st-ha­lf goal in Man­chester United´s eye­brow-rais­ing 2-1 de­feat to South­ampton at Old Traf­ford on the fol­low­ing Sat­urday, and sev­en days la­ter he notched up a double in a re­deem­ing 3-2 tri­umph ag­ainst freshly pro­moted Queens Park Ran­gers wit­nessed by a sell-out crowd of 31,000 people at Shepherd´s Bush. Man­chester Uni­ted ex­per­i­enced a slight slump in form, tho­ugh, and the away vic­tory over The Hoops in West Lon­don was fol­lowed by four con­sec­ut­ive draws ag­ainst Leeds Uni­ted, Sun­der­land, Ips­wich To­wn, and Sto­ke City re­spect­ively, leav­ing the club sit­ting in 15th po­s­i­tion in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion stand­ings wi­th a mere eight­een points col­lec­ted from nine­teen mat­ches played. On the 30th of Nov­ember, Geor­gie re-fou­nd his scor­ing touch, how­ever, as he ac­com­pan­ied Law on the score­sheet in a routine 2-0 vic­tory over Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at Old Traf­ford where he re­gistered the fir­st goal of the af­ter­noon wi­th a ter­rif­ic low shot that sped pa­st vis­it­ing cus­todi­an Phil Par­kes four­teen min­utes in­to the sec­ond period.

Wi­th the New Year barely un­der­way, Best was taken off wi­th an ankle in­jury in the 70th min­ute of Man­chester United´s 3-1 FA Cup Third Ro­und win over Fourth Di­vi­sion Ex­eter City at St Ja­mes Park on the 4th of Jan­uary. Af­ter get­ting back to fit­ness, he sco­red the last goal in a re­as­sur­ing 4-1 win ag­ainst Sun­der­land at Old Traf­ford on the 19th of Jan­uary, but Man­chester Uni­ted still fou­nd them­selves in the wrong ha­lf of the ta­ble wi­th 24 points from 26 fix­tures. He main­tained his scor­ing form as he notched a cru­cial goal in a 2-2 draw wi­th Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Birm­ing­ham City in an FA Cup Fifth Ro­und fix­ture at a full packed St Andrew´s on the 8th of Feb­ruary be­fore net­ting ag­ain in a 2-2 draw to Wolver­hampton at Mo­lineux sev­en days la­ter. On the 26th of Feb­ruary, he fou­nd the tar­get twice in an Euro­pean Cup Quart­er-Fi­nal Fir­st Leg 3-0 tri­umph ag­ainst Aus­tri­an Cham­pi­ons Rap­id Vi­enna on ho­me gro­und and an­oth­er brace came dur­ing a 8-1 ho­me maul­ing of ta­ble prop­pers Queens Park Ran­gers on the 19th of Mar­ch. Dur­ing a one-sided af­fair, Man­chester Uni­ted edged them­selves ahead when Wil­lie Mor­gan be­at Queens Park Ran­gers goal­keeper Alan Sprat­ley on the ha­lf-hour ma­rk. Uni­ted car­ried on at­tack­ing fol­low­ing the re­start and Best sco­red a su­perb goal to make it 2-0 two min­utes in­to the sec­ond ha­lf. Rod­ney Marsh ma­naged to peg one back for the vis­it­ors two min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk, but the hosts re­gained their two goal lead when Best re­gistered his sec­ond goal of the day some five min­utes la­ter. Mor­gan then made it 4-1 on 75 min­utes be­fore Nob­by Sti­les ad­ded a fifth goal in the 85th min­ute. Wi­th four min­utes re­maining on the watch, Mor­gan com­pleted his hat-trick and wi­th fur­ther goals from Bri­an Kidd and John As­ton in the 88th and 89th min­utes re­spect­ively Man­chester Uni­ted fin­ished 8-1 winners.

Best, who was still a young man in his early twen­ties at the time, would con­tin­ue to de­liv­er con­sist­ently qual­ity per­form­ances in an in­creas­ingly out­dated and age­ing Man­chester Uni­ted te­am who­se best days ap­peared to be be­hind them. Af­ter re­gis­ter­ing the on­ly goal in a sweet 1-0 re­venge vic­tory over Shef­field Wed­nesday at Old Traf­ford on the 22nd of Mar­ch, the free flow­ing for­ward also hit the win­ner in an equally nar­row 1-0 tri­umph ag­ainst lowly pla­ced Not­ting­ham For­est at City Gro­und nine days la­ter; this time from the pen­alty spot af­ter Kidd had be­en fouled in the box by Welsh in­ter­na­tion­al Terry Hen­nessey five min­utes in­to the sec­ond ha­lf. The away win over For­est mo­ved Man­chester Uni­ted up to tenth po­s­i­tion in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble, but Best still had some un­fin­ished busi­ness to take care of be­fore the sea­son was com­pleted and five more goals would come, in­clud­ing a sec­ond-ha­lf brace in a 2-1 tri­umph ag­ainst FA Cup hold­ers West Brom­wich at Old Traf­ford on the 2nd of April. And even tho­ugh the 1968-69 term ended in me­diocrity, he ma­naged to clock up 22 goals in 55 ap­pear­ances in all com­pet­i­tions for Man­chester Uni­ted, eight shy of top scor­er De­nis Law. And as soon as the cam­paign was over and done wi­th, Best packed his bags and went on a well-earned hol­i­day in sunny Ma­jorca wi­th up-and-com­ing 19-year-old act­ress Susan Ge­orge to soak up the good things in life.

Fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of Wilf McGuin­ness as the new man­ager in the sum­mer of 1969, Best would go on to be a con­stant source of goals for Man­chester Uni­ted dur­ing the 1969-70 sea­son in which the club fin­ished eighth in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion stand­ings. McGuin­ness, a for­mer mid­field play­er wi­th Uni­ted, would take over a fir­st te­am squad that in­cluded a num­ber of in­ter­na­tion­als, but there were sev­er­al dark clouds on the ho­ri­zon. Des­pite hav­ing a good te­am on pa­per, Man­chester Uni­ted ex­per­i­enced a shaky start wi­th three de­feats in their fir­st four fix­tures, in­clud­ing a hu­mi­li­at­ing 4-1 de­feat ag­ainst South­ampton at Old Traf­ford on the 16th of Au­gust and an equally hum­bling 3-0 loss to Ever­ton at Good­ison Park three days la­ter. Scot­land in­ter­na­tion­al Ian Ure, who had yet to reach his thirties, was im­me­di­ately bro­ught in from Ar­senal by McGuin­ness for a trans­fer fee of ar­ound £80,000 in or­der to strengthen the leaky Man­chester Uni­ted de­fence and the club slowly but surely star­ted to climb up the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble. Af­ter net­ting the open­er in a 3-1 tri­umph ag­ainst Sun­der­land at Old Traf­ford on the 30th of Au­gust, Best un­der­lined his form by grabbing him­self brace in an en­thralling 2-2 draw to de­fend­ing Foot­ball Lea­gue Cham­pi­ons Leeds Uni­ted at El­land Road on the 6th Septem­ber and then hit an­oth­er double in a 3-1 vic­tory over Shef­field Wed­nesday at Hills­bor­ough el­ev­en days later.

Main­tain­ing his pro­lif­ic scor­ing form, Best notched him­self a goal in a 2-2 draw wi­th Ar­senal at High­bury on the 20th of Septem­ber and fou­nd the tar­get in a 2-0 Lea­gue Cup Third Ro­und win ag­ainst Fourth Di­vi­sion Wrex­ham on ho­me soil three days af­ter that, be­fore net­ting his third brace of the cam­paign in a high-class 5-2 ho­me vic­tory over West Ham Uni­ted on the last week­end of the month. Man­chester Uni­ted were two goals up thanks to head­ed goals from Fran­cis Burns and Ge­orge Best in the 5th and 12th min­utes re­spect­ively be­fore West Ham re­duced the ar­rears when a flag-kick taken by Ber­muda in­ter­na­tion­al Clyde Best, one of the fir­st black play­ers in Eng­lish foot­ball, was con­ver­ted by Wor­ld Cup win­ner Ge­off Hurst four­teen min­utes la­ter. Man­chester Uni­ted began the sec­ond ha­lf on the front foot and re­gained their two goal ad­vant­age when Charl­ton power­ed a low hard shot from in­side the eight­een-yard area pa­st West Ham and Scot­land cus­todi­an Bob­by Fer­guson and in­to the bot­tom right-hand cor­ner of the net six min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk. Ron Greenwood´s boys re­fused to hang their heads and gave them­selves some re­newed hope as Hurst nod­ded a per­fectly de­livered cross from Clyde Best in­to the net mo­ments la­ter, but Man­chester Uni­ted once ag­ain re­stored their two goal lead when Ge­orge Best cooly head­ed ho­me from clo­se ran­ge in the 82nd min­ute, whi­le Kidd roun­ded off the scor­ing wi­th four min­utes to go at Old Traf­ford. Geor­gie con­tin­ued his ex­cep­tion­al form and sco­red in four ga­mes in a row; a 3-0 away tri­umph over South­ampton on the 8th of Oct­ober, a 2-1 ho­me win ag­ainst Ips­wich To­wn three days la­ter, a 1-1 draw wi­th Not­ting­ham For­est on ho­me soil the fol­low­ing week­end, and a 1-0 Lea­gue Cup Fourth Ro­und Re­play vic­tory at ho­me to fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion si­de Burn­ley two days afterwards.

On the 7th of Feb­ruary, Best sco­red a re­cord break­ing six goals in a stun­ning 8-2 tri­umph ag­ainst Third Di­vi­sion op­pos­i­tion Northamp­ton To­wn in an FA Cup Fifth Ro­und en­counter at Coun­ty Gro­und, which was his fir­st ga­me af­ter serving a sus­pen­sion for cri­ti­cising Wolver­hampton ref­er­ee Jack Tay­lor dur­ing the 2-1 Lea­gue Cup Semi-Fi­nal Fir­st Leg de­feat to even­tu­al win­ners Man­chester City at Maine Road a couple of months earli­er. The Cob­blers, led by man­ager Dave Bowen, had pre­vi­ously knock­ed out South­ern Lea­gue Wey­mouth, Fourth Di­vi­sion Ex­eter City, South­ern Lea­gue Brent­wood To­wn, and fel­low Third Di­vi­sion te­am Tran­mere Rov­ers, where­as Man­chester Uni­ted had seen off Fir­st Di­vi­sion col­leagues Ips­wich To­wn and Man­chester City. On a pitch which re­sembled a mud bath, Northamp­ton de­fen­ded well ini­tially and it was­n’t un­til the 27th min­ute of the con­test that the red-shir­ted vis­it­ors ev­entually haul­ed them­selves in­to the lead when Best fou­nd the tar­get wi­th a head­er from a right-sided cross de­livered by Kidd. The Fir­st Di­vi­sion club were firm­ly on top af­ter that and their ad­vant­age was doubled nine min­utes la­ter as Best latched on to a smart thro­ugh pass by Sad­ler and roun­ded shot stop­per Kim Book, the bro­ther of Man­chester City de­fender To­ny Book, to place the ball in­to the far bot­tom cor­ner of the empty net. No more goals were pro­duced be­fore the ha­lf-time break, but Northampton´s de­fens­ive short­com­ings would be bru­tally ex­posed by Man­chester Uni­ted in the sec­ond period.

Fol­low­ing the in­ter­mis­sion, Best com­pleted his tre­ble in the 51st min­ute as he ham­mered the ball in­to the goal from a few yards out af­ter a scramble in­side the six-yard area. Northamp­ton could have re­duced the de­fi­cit when they were awar­ded a pen­alty shortly af­ter­wards, but Frank Rank­more struck his spot-kick ag­ainst the up­right, and in­stead Man­chester Uni­ted in­creased their lead thro­ugh Best who net­ted his fourth goal of the af­ter­noon by head­ing an­oth­er cross from Kidd in­to the net a couple of min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk. Pro­vider then turned goal scor­er as Kidd con­ver­ted a cor­ner from the left si­de taken by Mor­gan in the 69th min­ute be­fore Best made it 6-0 to Man­chester Uni­ted wi­th a calm and com­posed fin­ish three min­utes af­ter­wards. The goals kept on com­ing as the mat­ch rolled on and Kidd ad­ded a sev­enth goal for the vis­it­ing te­am in the 78th min­ute of pro­ceed­ings af­ter Book had par­ried a low shot from Mor­gan. Dixie McNeil, who had joi­ned Northamp­ton from South­ern Lea­gue Corby To­wn for trans­fer fee of ar­ound £5,000 in the sum­mer of 1969, pulled one back for the hosts a few mo­ments la­ter, but wi­th four min­utes re­maining on the watch Best once ag­ain fou­nd the net af­ter re­ceiv­ing a pin-point square pass from Cre­rand. Then, dur­ing the clos­ing sta­ges of the one sided-af­fair, a cross by Northamp­ton fa­vour­ite John Fair­broth­er fou­nd strik­ing part­ner Frank Large who be­at Step­ney wi­th a clo­se-ran­ge head­er, ma­king the fi­nal sco­reline read 8-2 in the fa­vour of the gu­ests. Scor­ing a double hat-trick either si­de of the in­ter­val, Best once more proved his di­vine skills and in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of his in­cred­ible per­form­ance at Coun­ty Gro­und, he re­ceived an in­vit­a­tion to Num­ber Ten Down­ing Street to meet Prime Min­is­ter Har­old Wil­son, who was him­self an ar­dent foot­ball fan, for a private con­ver­sa­tion. Af­ter thor­oughly out­classing Northamp­ton, Man­chester Uni­ted went on to over­come Sec­ond Di­vi­sion out­fit Middles­brough in the quart­er-fi­nals, but were la­ter elim­in­ated by double-chas­ing Leeds in the semi-finals.

Af­ter find­ing the net in a lively 3-3 ho­me draw ag­ainst Burn­ley on the 17th of Mar­ch, Best carved his name in­to the score­sheet ag­ain wi­th a late goal in a 7-0 ho­me dis­mant­ling of West Brom­wich on the 8th of April. West Brom had a lot of good play­ers, in­clud­ing the likes of Jeff Astle, To­ny Bro­wn, Asa Hart­ford, Alistair Robert­son, and Co­lin Sug­gett, but they nev­er really stood a fair chan­ce ag­ainst a red-hot Man­chester Uni­ted te­am. The hosts, urged on by the ho­me crowd, for­ced them­selves in front thanks to a well-pla­ced head­er from the of­ten un­der­rated John Fitz­patrick in the very fir­st min­ute of play and doubled their lead thro­ugh Charl­ton four­teen min­utes la­ter. Man­chester Uni­ted then had their third goal when Alan Gowl­ing be­at West Brom cus­todi­an John Os­borne four min­utes pa­st the ha­lf-hour ma­rk and in­creased their ad­vant­age fur­ther wi­th goals by Fitz­patrick, Charl­ton, and Gowl­ing in the 59th, 66th, and 76th min­utes of ac­tion re­spect­ively. And wi­th less than ten min­utes re­maining of nor­mal time, Best re­gistered the fi­nal goal of the day wi­th an un­stoppable ef­fort to se­cure a sump­tu­ous 7-0 tri­umph over The Throstles. Not rest­ing on his laurels, Best net­ted Man­chester United´s fir­st goal in a 2-2 draw ag­ainst ev­entually re­leg­ated Shef­field Wed­nesday at Old Traf­ford the fol­low­ing week and ended the cam­paign as the club´s top scor­er wi­th a total of 23 goals in 53 appearances.

The Troubles in North­ern Ire­land es­cal­ated dur­ing the sum­mer of 1970, but every­day life had to go on nev­er­the­less. On the 5th of Au­gust 1970, Ge­orge Best be­came the fir­st ever play­er in the wor­ld to score in a pen­alty shoot-out when he be­at Hull City goal­keeper Ian MacK­ech­nie, for­merly wi­th Ar­senal and South­end Uni­ted, from the spot in the Wat­ney Mann In­vit­a­tion Cup Semi-Fi­nal be­fore 34,000 spec­tat­ors at Booth­ferry Park. The Sec­ond Di­vi­sion club pro­pelled them­selves in­to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a spec­tac­u­lar vol­leyed goal by loc­al hero Chris Chilton in the 11th min­ute of the pre-sea­son clash be­fore De­nis Law equal­ised for Man­chester Uni­ted wi­th a head­er from a Wil­lie Mor­gan cross on 77 min­utes to force the tie in­to ex­tra-time. But wi­th no more goals in the ad­di­tion­al 30 min­utes, the world´s fir­st shoot-out was put in­to op­er­a­tion. Best stepped up to ex­ecute the fir­st pen­alty, pla­cing the ball on the spot be­fore dis­patch­ing it pa­st MacK­ech­nie to put Uni­ted in front. The next five pen­al­ties were also con­ver­ted, but then Law saw his pen­alty ef­fort saved by the Hull goal­keeper. The City sup­port­ers were qui­ckly bro­ught down to earth, tho­ugh, when Ken Wag­staff, a £40,000 sign­ing from Mans­field To­wn, missed on the fourth at­tempt for The Ti­gers and Mor­gan sent the sub­sequent pen­alty-kick in­to the net. In front of a 34,000 crowd, MacK­ech­nie walked up to take Hull´s fifth pen­alty, on­ly to watch his shot strike the cross­bar to en­sure that it all ended 4-3 in the fa­vour of Man­chester United.

Best also sco­red in the 4-1 Wat­ney Cup Fi­nal de­feat ag­ainst Der­by Coun­ty at Base­ball Gro­und on the 8th of Au­gust. Der­by, who had knock­ed out Shef­field Uni­ted in the semi-fi­nals wi­th a fir­st-ha­lf goal from John McGov­ern, went in­to a 1-0 lead in the 18th min­ute of the fi­nal as a free-kick from cap­tain Dave Mac­kay struck right post and fell to Roy Mc­Far­land who ham­mered the ball high in­to the roof of net from clo­se ran­ge. Coun­ty con­tin­ued to push them­selves for­ward and had their sec­ond goal just five min­utes la­ter thro­ugh an au­da­cious and cheeky back-heel ef­fort by ex-Not­ting­ham For­est wing­er Alan Hin­ton. Man­chester Uni­ted fou­nd a way back in­to pro­ceed­ings in the 32nd min­ute when Best took ad­vant­age of a loose ball in­side the 18-yard box and ef­fort­lessly slot­ted it low pa­st Leslie Green and in­to the back of the goal to re­duce the ar­rears for the away te­am, but Der­by re­stored their two-goal ad­vant­age three min­utes la­ter cour­tesy of a fierce head­er from Alan Durb­an. Fol­low­ing the in­ter­mis­sion, the white shirts car­ried on at­tack­ing and got their fourth goal of the day in the 73rd min­ute when Mac­kay ham­mered a power­ful free-kick thro­ugh the Man­chester Uni­ted wall bey­ond the reach of Step­ney and in­to the left bot­tom left-hand cor­ner of the net to seal a 4-1 vic­tory on ho­me soil.

Man­chester Uni­ted got off to a rather slow start to the 1970-71 cam­paign, win­ning on­ly one of their five open­ing ga­mes and scor­ing just three goals in the pro­cess. As the cam­paign un­fol­ded, Best ended his own per­son­al scor­ing drought by bag­ging a goal in a spir­ited 2-0 tri­umph over de­fend­ing Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­ons Ever­ton at Old Traf­ford on the 2nd of Septem­ber and ad­ded an­oth­er one to his tally when he net­ted in a 3-1 Lea­gue Cup Sec­ond Ro­und vic­tory ag­ainst Fourth Di­vi­sion min­nows Alder­shot at a sell-out Re­cre­ation Gro­und a week la­ter. On the 12th of Septem­ber, he sco­red a com­posed open­er in Man­chester United´s 2-0 tri­umph over Cov­entry City on ho­me turf and a fort­night af­ter that he was on the score­sheet ag­ain in a some­what un­sat­is­fact­ory 1-1 ho­me draw wi­th Fir­st Di­vi­sion new­comers Black­pool who were on the back foot from the start and spent most of the ninety min­utes de­fend­ing their goal line. And as the au­tumn wore on, Best hit the win­ner for Man­chester Uni­ted in an en­ergy-sap­ping 2-1 Lea­gue Cup Fourth Ro­und vic­tory over FA Cup hold­ers Chel­sea in front of a mid­week crowd of 48,000 people at Old Traf­ford on the 28th of Oct­ober and he was a driv­ing force in a hard-earned 2-1 tri­umph ag­ainst Not­ting­ham For­est at City Gro­und on the 14th of November.

On the 28th of Nov­ember, Best pro­duced a goal in a 1-1 draw ag­ainst fel­low mid-ta­blers Hud­dersfield To­wn at Old Traf­ford and a week la­ter he re­gistered his 100th Foot­ball Lea­gue goal for Man­chester Uni­ted when he sco­red in a 2-2 draw wi­th third po­si­tioned Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at White Hart Lane where a bump­er crowd of more than 55,000 ex­cited spec­tat­ors had braved the freez­ing cold weath­er to watch the high-pro­file ga­me. As the sea­son ap­proached the halfway point, Geor­gie de­livered a fine per­form­ance in the tense 1-1 Lea­gue Cup Semi-Fi­nal Fir­st Leg draw ag­ainst Third Di­vi­sion club As­ton Vil­la at Old Traf­ford on the 16th of Dec­ember, and he put on an equally good show in the bit­ter 2-1 de­feat in the re­turn meet­ing at Vil­la Park the day be­fore Christ­mas Eve. The 3-2 ag­greg­ate de­feat ag­ainst Vil­la was no doubt a harsh pill to swal­low for McGuin­ness who was al­ready un­der severe pres­sure from the Uni­ted board be­cause of the club’s mid-ta­ble stand­ing. Wi­th the year wind­ing down, how­ever, Best grabbed him­self an op­por­tun­ist­ic clo­se-ran­ge goal in a grip­ping 4-4 draw to Bri­an Clough´s Der­by Coun­ty at a snow covered Base­ball Gro­und on Box­ing Day, but the high-scor­ing res­ult led to more ques­tions than an­swers and it be­came quite evid­ent that McGuin­ness had to go.

Now, as the cal­en­dar pa­ge turned from 1970 to 1971, Best was fined 250 pounds and giv­en a six week sus­pen­ded sen­tence by the FA Dis­cip­lin­ary Com­mit­tee af­ter re­ceiv­ing three cau­tions in twelve months. On the 5th of Jan­uary, he re­gistered a last min­ute con­sol­a­tion goal in a 2-1 FA Cup Third Ro­und Re­play de­feat ag­ainst Sec­ond Di­vi­sion out­fit Middles­brough at Ayre­some Park, but was then sus­pen­ded by in­ter­im man­ager Sir Matt Busby for two weeks af­ter fail­ing to turn up for Man­chester United´s Fir­st Di­vi­sion fix­ture wi­th old ad­versar­ies Chel­sea at Stam­ford Bridge on the 9th of Jan­uary. As the story went, Best had ar­rived late in Lon­don due to a missed train, but in­stead of join­ing his team­mates at the Rus­sel Square Hotel, he de­cided to spend the week­end wi­th his act­ress girl­friend Sinead Cu­s­ack, the daugh­ter of act­or Cyril Cu­s­ack, at her apart­ment on Noel Road in Is­ling­ton, which res­ul­ted in the couple be­ing be­sieged by a horde of pho­to­graph­ers and re­port­ers for sev­er­al days. Best la­ter said that he was deeply sorry for bring­ing Cu­s­ack, who had be­en ex­pect­ing a quiet and re­lax­ing week­end, in­to a situ­ation where she would be­come a pris­on­er in her own home.

There were talks of Best want­ing to quit Man­chester Uni­ted in or­der to sign wi­th one of the top clubs on the con­tin­ent, but noth­ing ma­ter­i­al­ised and things re­mained the same. On the 6th of Feb­ruary, he sco­red wi­th a de­light­ful lob in a 2-1 win over Lea­gue Cup fi­nal­ists Tot­ten­ham at Old Traf­ford and was one of the goal­scorers in an un­ne­ces­sary  4-3 de­feat ag­ainst West Brom­wich at The Haw­thorns on the 6th of Mar­ch. Back in scor­ing mood, he was on the score­sheet along­side De­nis Law in a 2-0 vic­tory over Not­ting­ham For­est at Old Traf­ford on the 13th of Mar­ch and main­tained his con­sist­ency as he re­gistered a fir­st-ha­lf brace in a 2-1 tri­umph ag­ainst Sto­ke City at Vic­tor­ia Gro­und the fol­low­ing week. On the 3rd of April, he ad­ded to his ac­count in a 2-1 de­feat to lowly pla­ced West Ham at Up­ton Park and con­tin­ued that form for the rest of the sea­son, fin­ish­ing wi­th 21 goals in 48 ap­pear­ances in all com­pet­i­tions. But des­pite his good goal scor­ing re­cord, Man­chester Uni­ted once ag­ain ended up eighth in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble and the club did­n’t do es­pe­cially well in the cups either, wi­th sur­prise exits to Middles­brough and As­ton Vil­la in the FA Cup and Lea­gue Cup.

Af­ter the ex­pec­ted resig­na­tion of Sir Matt in June 1971, Man­chester Uni­ted hired Lei­cester City man­ager Frank O´Farrell as the new head coach at Old Traf­ford. Dur­ing the sum­mer, mid­fielder Nob­by Sti­les had left the club to join Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Middles­brough for the com­par­at­ively mod­est fee of £20,000, whi­le de­fender Ian Ure had gone to Scot­tish Sec­ond Di­vi­sion St Mir­ren on a free trans­fer. On the last day of Ju­ly, Best net­ted a late con­sol­a­tion goal for Man­chester Uni­ted by slot­ting the ball ho­me from the spot in a shock 2-1 Wat­ney Cup Fir­st Ro­und de­feat to Third Di­vi­sion Hal­i­fax To­wn at The Shay where Bill Atkins and Bob Wal­lace sco­red the goals for The Shay­men, wi­th the lat­ter con­vert­ing a pen­alty-kick. Man­chester Uni­ted began their 1971-72 Fir­st Di­vi­sion cam­paign, which was their 27th con­sec­ut­ive sea­son in the top tier of Eng­lish foot­ball, wi­th a bat­tling 2-2 draw ag­ainst an ag­gress­ive and strong Der­by te­am at Base­ball Gro­und on the 14th of Au­gust, wi­th Best be­ing a con­stant men­ace and threat to the opposition´s de­fence through­out bo­th halves. Much to the dis­pleas­ure of O´Farrell, he was dis­missed for the fir­st time in a do­mest­ic ga­me when he was con­tro­ver­sially sent off for al­legedly verbally ab­us­ing of­fi­cial Nor­man Bur­ten­shaw of Great Yar­mouth dur­ing a 3-2 tri­umph over Euro­pean Cup Win­ners´ Cup hold­ers Chel­sea at Stam­ford Bridge on the 18th of Au­gust; wi­th the res­ult that the sea­soned ref­er­ee, who had be­en knock­ed down un­con­scious by furi­ous Mill­wall sup­port­ers at The Den, a gro­und known for its in­tim­id­at­ing at­mo­sphere, af­ter a Di­vi­sion Two ga­me there on the 14th of Oct­ober 1967, re­ceived death threats from angry Man­chester Uni­ted fans in the days fol­low­ing the epis­ode. In the sub­sequent hear­ing, Best said that it all had be­en a mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween him and Bur­ten­shaw, some­thing which was backed up by Wil­lie Mor­gan, and he es­caped fur­ther cen­sure from the Foot­ball As­so­ci­ation. Now, the fact which re­mained was that he had lost his tem­per in the heat of the mo­ment and the rest was conjecture.

Des­pite hav­ing a foot prob­lem, Best re­gistered his fir­st top-flight goals of the term in a com­mand­ing 3-1 ho­me win ag­ainst West Brom­wich on the 23rd of Au­gust and net­ted ag­ain in a de­flat­ing 1-1 draw to Wolver­hampton away five days la­ter be­fore hit­ting the win­ner in a 1-0 vic­tory at ho­me ag­ainst Ips­wich To­wn on the fir­st Sat­urday of Septem­ber; the goal com­ing dir­ectly from a cor­ner-kick two min­utes ahead of the break. He bag­ged an­oth­er brace in a 3-1 Lea­gue Cup Sec­ond Ro­und win over Ips­wich at Port­man Road on the 7th of Septem­ber and re­gistered a hat-trick in a 4-2 tri­umph ag­ainst West Ham Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford on the 18th of the same month. In front of a 53,000 strong crowd, Man­chester Uni­ted dom­in­ated from the out­set and de­servedly went ahead ag­ainst The Ham­mers when a right-hand cor­ner from Charl­ton was nod­ded on to Ge­orge Best who­se clo­se-ran­ge head­er left away goal­keeper Bob­by Fer­guson com­pletely help­less. West Ham ma­naged to level the score mo­ments la­ter as Clyde Best power­fully head­ed ho­me a per­fectly de­livered cross from the right flank by East Ham born de­fender John Mc­Dow­ell, on­ly for Ge­orge Best to re­store the lead for the hosts wi­th a sub­lime ac­ro­bat­ic goal a mere two min­utes be­fore the break. Af­ter the re­sump­tion, The Irons equal­ised for a sec­ond time as Tre­vor Brook­ing be­at Step­ney wi­th a pre­cise low ef­fort from the edge of the pen­alty area early in the sec­ond pe­riod, but Man­chester Uni­ted came back even strong­er and re­gained the ad­vant­age shortly af­ter­wards thanks to Charl­ton who un­leashed a low left-footed shot un­der the diving Fer­guson and in­to the goal be­fore Best com­pleted his hat-trick wi­th an in­cred­ible in­di­vidu­al ef­fort late in the ga­me to make it 4-2. The two points gain­ed mo­ved Man­chester Uni­ted up to sec­ond in the ta­ble on four­teen points, two points be­hind Shef­field Uni­ted who won their ga­me ag­ainst Lei­cester City at Fil­bert Street by a 1-0 score.

And, al­though he didn´t find the net, he was noth­ing but out­stand­ing in the 2-2 draw to Liver­pool at An­field sev­en days la­ter, spec­tac­u­larly set­ting up sec­ond-ha­lf goals for strik­ing part­ners De­nis Law and Bob­by Charl­ton. On the 2nd of Oct­ober, he net­ted one his finest goals for Man­chester Uni­ted in a 2-0 tri­umph ag­ainst new­ly pro­moted and ta­ble-top­pers Shef­field Uni­ted, watched by a crowd of more than 51,000 people at Old Traf­ford. The hosts, who were with­out the in­jured Law, were on the back foot early on but kept the vis­it­ing si­de at bay be­fore the ha­lf-time break. Man­chester Uni­ted came back a lot strong­er in the sec­ond pe­riod and wi­th sev­en min­utes re­maining of nor­mal time, Best broke the dead­lock af­ter a mag­ni­fi­cent in­di­vidu­al ef­fort which saw him be­at five be­wildered rivals and place the ball pa­st away goal­keeper John Hope and in­to the net via the far post. And to ro­und off the scor­ing, Alan Gowl­ing doubled the ad­vant­age for the ho­me si­de in the 86th min­ute when he fou­nd the back of the net by head­ing an ac­cur­ate cross from Kidd in­to the bot­tom right cor­ner of the goal to com­plete a 2-0 ho­me vic­tory. Best then sco­red the de­cis­ive goal in a 1-0 win over fel­low early pace­set­ters Der­by Coun­ty at Old Traf­ford a week la­ter when he be­at vis­it­ing shot stop­per Co­lin Boulton wi­th a stun­ning strike sev­en min­utes in­to the sec­ond ha­lf, a goal which took the club to the very top of the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble. He also hit the win­ner in a tense 1-0 vic­tory ag­ainst New­castle Uni­ted at St Ja­mes´ Park on the Sat­urday that fol­lowed and ad­ded fur­ther to his tally as he re­gistered a con­sol­a­tion goal in a nail-bit­ing 2-1 Lea­gue Cup Fourth Ro­und Sec­ond Re­play de­feat to Sto­ke City at Vic­tor­ia Gro­und on the 15th of November.

Wi­th the sea­son well un­der way, Best sco­red a hat-trick ag­ain in a 5-2 de­moli­tion of South­ampton at The Dell on the last Sat­urday of Nov­ember. In front of a lively crowd of 30,000 people, Best gave Man­chester Uni­ted the lead when he head­ed a neatly de­livered cross from Kidd pa­st South­ampton goal­keeper Eric Mar­tin and in­to the net in the sev­enth min­ute, and wi­th the fir­st ha­lf ap­proach­ing its con­clu­sion fel­low North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al Sam­my Mc­Ilroy net­ted a sec­ond goal on 43 min­utes to give the vis­it­ors a com­fort­able 2-0 ad­vant­age at the break. Fol­low­ing the in­ter­val, Best com­pleted his tre­ble wi­th two bril­liant fin­ishes in the 47th and 58th min­utes re­spect­ively be­fore Ron Dav­ies ma­naged to re­duce the de­fi­cit for South­ampton a min­ute la­ter. The mat­ch was not over yet, tho­ugh, and Jim­my Gab­riel ad­ded a sec­ond goal for So­ton shortly af­ter­wards, on­ly for Kidd to make it 5-2 in United´s fa­vour wi­th six min­utes left on the so­uth coast. The res­ult saw Man­chester Uni­ted pro­gress to 30 points, con­sol­id­at­ing the top spot in the stand­ings. At the op­pos­ite end of the ta­ble, mean­while, Crys­tal Pal­ace were sit­ting rock bot­tom wi­th a paltry ten points to show for their efforts.

Then, seem­ingly out of the blue, Best suf­fered a drastic loss of form mid­way thro­ugh the cam­paign and he per­formed well be­low par in a dis­mal 3-0 de­feat to an av­er­age West Ham Uni­ted te­am at Boleyn Gro­und on New Year´s Day. And things went from bad to worse the fol­low­ing week as the some­times mer­cur­i­al play­er failed to re­port for train­ing at The Cliff and was sub­sequently dropped by O´Farrell for the 3-1 de­feat ag­ainst an in­form Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at Old Traf­ford on the 8th of Jan­uary. A few days af­ter the in­cid­ent, the press bro­ught to light that he had spent the week pri­or to the ho­me fix­ture wi­th Wolver­hampton in the com­pany of reign­ing Miss Great Bri­tain Car­o­lyn Moore, whom he had be­en in­tro­duced to at Blinkers nightclub in Man­chester the pre­vi­ous month. He re­ceived a two-week fine of £400 on his re­turn and ev­entually got back to his goal scor­ing ways as he tar­geted twice in a 4-1 FA Cup Third Ro­und Re­play vic­tory over poor South­ampton at Old Traf­ford on the 19th of Jan­uary. And as the winter mo­ved on, Best seemed to have fou­nd his old self and he was on the score­sheet along­side Mor­gan and Charl­ton in a 3-0 FA Cup Fifth Ro­und Re­play win ag­ainst Fir­st Di­vi­sion pro­mo­tion hunters Middles­brough at a jam-packed Ayre­some Park on the 29th of Feb­ruary af­ter the two sides had played out a tight goal­less draw at Old Traf­ford at the fir­st time of ask­ing. On the same day, Ab­er­deen de­fender Mar­tin Bu­chan was sig­ned by O’­Far­rell for a trans­fer fee of £120,000 and shortly af­ter­wards the sought-af­ter Ian Storey-Moore ar­rived from Not­ting­ham For­est in a re­cord-break­ing £225,000 deal.

Wi­th the com­ing of spring, Man­chester Uni­ted, who still had a chan­ce of qual­i­fy­ing for the UEFA Cup, ma­naged to end a sev­en-mat­ch los­ing streak in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion, in­clud­ing a cata­stroph­ic 5-1 de­feat to Leeds at El­land Road, by draw­ing 0-0 ag­ainst Ever­ton on the 8th of Mar­ch, a ga­me watched at Old Traf­ford by on­ly 38,000 spec­tat­ors. On the 11th of Mar­ch, Best hit the open­er in a 2-0 tri­umph at ho­me to re­leg­a­tion can­did­ates Hud­dersfield and, des­pite the fact he did­n’t score, he was in­stru­ment­al in a re­sound­ing 4-0 ho­me win over Crys­tal Pal­ace two weeks la­ter. On the 18th of Mar­ch, he sco­red a late equal­iser in a 1-1 draw ag­ainst new­ly crow­ned Lea­gue Cup win­ners Sto­ke at Old Traf­ford in the quart­er-fi­nals of the FA Cup and a con­sol­a­tion in the 2-1 re­play de­feat at Vic­tor­ia Gro­und on the 22nd of that month. Wi­th the 1971-72 cam­paign en­ter­ing its fi­nal weeks, he sco­red a bril­liant goal in a 3-2 vic­tory over Cov­entry at High­field Road on the 1st of April and roun­ded off his sea­son wi­th a con­ver­ted pen­alty in a 3-0 re­venge tri­umph ag­ainst Sto­ke at Old Traf­ford on the pen­ul­tim­ate day of the month. All in all, Best hit 26 goals in 53 ap­pear­ances to fin­ish as Man­chester United´s top scor­er once more, but his con­tri­bu­tion was not enough to take the club in­to the UEFA Cup. Now, as it turned out, Der­by won the Fir­st Di­vi­sion wi­th 58 points, one point above Leeds, Liver­pool, and Man­chester City, six points ahead of Ar­senal, sev­en points clear of Spurs, and ten points more than Chel­sea and Uni­ted. Down at the oth­er end of the ta­ble, Hud­dersfield fin­ished bot­tom wi­th 25 points, the same as Not­ting­ham Forest.

There were ru­mours of Ge­orge Best leav­ing Man­chester Uni­ted dur­ing the sum­mer of 1972, but noth­ing came out of it and the key play­er of the te­am re­por­ted back to pre-sea­son train­ing in Man­chester on the 10th of Ju­ly af­ter a pro­longed hol­i­day in Mar­bella in Spain. As for sum­mer trans­fers, Fran­cis Burns, John As­ton, and Alan Gowl­ing had be­en shipped out to South­ampton, Luton To­wn, and Hud­dersfield To­wn re­spect­ively with­out the club sign­ing any re­place­ments, even tho­ugh they had the fin­an­cial power to plunge in­to the mar­ket. It re­mained a fact, how­ever, that the fir­st-te­am squad con­sisted mostly of either play­ers who were pa­st their prime, or in­ex­per­i­enced young­sters who were not good enough or am­bi­tious enough in the fir­st place. By far the most ser­i­ous prob­lem was a lack of depth in the squad and sub­sequent over-de­pend­ence on a few play­ers and the club would ex­per­i­ence an ab­so­lutely dis­astrous start to the 1972-73 cam­paign. On the open­ing day, Man­chester Uni­ted suc­cumbed to a 2-1 de­feat at the hands of Ips­wich To­wn at Old Traf­ford and then suf­fered a 2-0 loss to Liver­pool at An­field on the 15th of Au­gust be­fore they lost by the ex­act same score ag­ainst Ever­ton at Good­ison Park four days la­ter; res­ults which bro­ught them to the very bot­tom of the table.

Wi­th the alarm bells ringing, Man­chester Uni­ted pulled them­selves to­geth­er and their fir­st point of the sea­son came in a com­pet­it­ive 1-1 draw ag­ainst Lei­cester City at Old Traf­ford on the 23rd of Au­gust, wi­th Best equal­ising from the pen­alty spot four min­utes ahead of the in­ter­val af­ter for­mer Hud­dersfield To­wn front­man Frank Wor­thing­ton had giv­en The Fil­berts the up­per hand in the 26th min­ute. Ap­pear­ing to be back to his nor­mal stand­ard, Best totally dom­in­ated pro­ceed­ings in a 2-2 draw wi­th West Ham Uni­ted at Boleyn Gro­und on the 2nd of Septem­ber where he sco­red the open­ing goal wi­th ten min­utes gone on the clock and then had a shot that came off a de­fender and fell kindly to Storey-Moore to drive ho­me in the 80th min­ute. On the 12th of Septem­ber, he re­gistered a sec­ond-ha­lf brace in a 3-1 Lea­gue Cup Sec­ond Ro­und win at ho­me to Di­vi­sion Two out­fit Ox­ford Uni­ted and was the chief ar­chi­tect be­hind a dom­in­ant 3-0 ho­me suc­cess over reign­ing Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­ons Der­by on the 23rd of that month. Man­chester Uni­ted began fe­ro­ciously and came clo­se to tak­ing an early lead thro­ugh ex-Man­chester City stri­ker Ron­ald “Wyn” Dav­ies, who­se dan­ger­ous head­er went nar­rowly over the vis­it­ing cross bar. The ho­me te­am kept up the at­tack­ing pres­sure and broke the de­fens­ive dead­lock three min­utes pa­st the ha­lf-hour ma­rk when a su­perb high ball from Best fou­nd Storey-Moore who head­ed ho­me from in­side the eight­een-yard area. Spurred on by an in­spired Best, the hosts con­tin­ued their of­fens­ive play af­ter the re­sump­tion and had their sec­ond goal six min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk as Dav­ies took ad­vant­age of some ter­rible de­fend­ing by the vis­it­ors to fire the ball pa­st away cus­todi­an Co­lin Boulton and in­to the net. Man­chester Uni­ted dic­tated the ga­me from there and ad­ded a third goal in the 81st min­ute of play when Best sent an ex­cel­lent thro­ugh ball to Mor­gan who net­ted wi­th a low shot to seal a 3-0 victory.

Des­pite of the win ag­ainst The Rams, which could have be­en even more com­pre­hens­ive, Man­chester Uni­ted re­mained in the re­leg­a­tion zone wi­th 6 points from 10 ga­mes. And wi­th the sea­son un­fold­ing, Best failed to live up to his usu­al high stand­ards and as a sub­sequent res­ult the te­am as a who­le suf­fered be­cause of it. Man­chester Uni­ted, who now seemed con­tent just to join in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion party rather than or­ches­trate it, would struggle ag­ainst less­er te­ams and a string of poor res­ults fol­lowed, in­clud­ing an un­in­spired 1-0 loss to Shef­field Uni­ted at Bramall Lane on the 30th of Septem­ber. As the au­tumn pro­gressed, Best sco­red a pen­alty goal in 2-2 draw ag­ainst West Brom­wich Al­bion at The Haw­thorns on the 7th of Oct­ober, but missed from the spot in an un­ac­cept­able 2-1 Lea­gue Cup Third Ro­und Re­play de­feat to Third Di­vi­sion Bris­tol Rov­ers at Old Traf­ford four days la­ter. He a played a vi­tal role in a 1-0 win over Birm­ing­ham City at Old Traf­ford on the 14th of the same month and made an as­sist a 2-1 de­feat ag­ainst New­castle Uni­ted at St Ja­mes´ Park the fol­low­ing week. Af­ter a drab and dour fir­st ha­lf, New­castle pulled them­selves in­to the lead thanks to a goal by Terry Hi­b­bitt, the older bro­ther of Ken­ny Hi­b­bitt, sev­en min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk and ad­ded a sec­ond thro­ugh John Tu­dor in the 77th min­ute. The vis­it­ing si­de ev­entually woke up and re­duced the ar­rears when Best set up Charl­ton to find the net sev­en min­utes la­ter, but the goal came too late and it ended wi­th a win for the hosts. Evid­ently, Man­chester Uni­ted struggled for long peri­ods at Gal­lowg­ate and the lacklustre de­feat clearly showed that they had work to do bo­th de­fens­ively and of­fens­ively if they were to pro­gress up the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble. Then, fol­low­ing a dread­ful 4-1 de­feat to Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at Old Traf­ford on the 28th of Oct­ober, Best re­dis­covered his strik­ing touch as he notched Man­chester United´s fir­st goal dur­ing an en­cour­aging 2-2 draw ag­ainst fel­low re­leg­a­tion zone dwell­ers Lei­cester City at Fil­bert Street on the 4th of November.

Man­chester Uni­ted ma­naged to be­at Fir­st Di­vi­sion title chasers Liver­pool by a 2-0 score at Old Traf­ford on the 11th of Nov­ember thanks to goals by Wyn Dav­ies and for­mer Bourne­mouth ace Ted Mac­Dou­gall in the 44th and 53rd min­utes re­spect­ively, but then came a crush­ing 3-0 de­feat ag­ainst Man­chester City at Maine Road a week la­ter. And as for Best, who had be­en an in­teg­ral con­stitu­ent in one of the greatest sides ever seen on a foot­ball field, he now seemed to have lost his ap­pet­ite and pas­sion for the ga­me, and the some­times broody and moody en­ter­tain­er would be­come more and more frus­trated un­der the tot­ter­ing lead­er­ship of O´Farrell. To add to the prob­lems at the free-fall­ing club, Best was sus­pen­ded and then pla­ced on the trans­fer list by the highly-strung man­ager for dis­cip­lin­ary reas­ons, on­ly to be giv­en an­oth­er chan­ce shortly af­ter­wards. Af­ter beat­ing South­ampton 2-1 at Old Traf­ford on the 25th of Nov­ember, Man­chester Uni­ted won their fir­st away fix­ture of the cam­paign when they de­feated freshly pro­moted Nor­wich City 2-0 at Car­row Road on the 2nd of Dec­ember, a mat­ch in which Best did not ap­pear, but as the days grew dark­er and Christ­mas ap­proached, O´Farrell had in­creas­ing dif­fi­culty in get­ting play­ers to com­mit them­selves and there was little or no im­prove­ment in res­ults or style des­pite of his ex­ploits in the trans­fer mar­ket. On the 9th of Dec­ember, Man­chester Uni­ted suc­cumbed to a sick­en­ing 2-0 loss at the hands of a rather lim­ited and me­diocre Sto­ke City si­de at Old Traf­ford where their weak­nesses were fully ex­posed and the writ­ing would soon be on the wall. And fol­low­ing a de­mor­al­ising and dam­aging 5-0 de­feat ag­ainst fel­low re­leg­a­tion strug­glers Crys­tal Pal­ace at Sel­hurst Park sev­en days la­ter, Tom­my Doc­herty took over the ma­na­geri­al reigns at Old Traf­ford right in the middle of the sea­son. In the mean­time, Best had al­ready left Man­chester Uni­ted, stat­ing he wanted to retire.

Best, who still had the abil­ity to at­tract wide­spread at­ten­tion and large crowds, made a long-awaited come­back for the 1973-74 cam­paign, but at the fag end of his Man­chester Uni­ted ca­reer it was ap­par­ent for all to see that he had gone com­pletely over the top, drink­ing and ram­bling to ex­cess. Docherty´s Uni­ted had star­ted the sea­son wi­th two vic­tor­ies in their fir­st three fix­tures, but this was fol­lowed by five de­feats in their next eight ga­mes and the club were sit­ting in eight­eenth place in the top-flight ta­ble wi­th on­ly eight points won from el­ev­en mat­ches, just one point above the dreaded drop zone. The Ul­ster­man, who had re­por­ted for train­ing on the 10th of Septem­ber, put in a reas­on­able per­form­ance ag­ainst fel­low re­leg­a­tion bat­tle­rs Birm­ing­ham City in a 1-0 win watched by a crowd of near­ly 50,000 on­look­ers at Old Traf­ford on the 20th of Oct­ober and sco­red his fir­st com­pet­it­ive goal in a year in the 2-1 de­feat to Lea­gue Cup hold­ers Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur be­fore an at­tend­ance of over 42,000 people at White Hart Lane on the 10th of Nov­ember. Alas, as the weeks went by and winter ap­proached, Man­chester Uni­ted con­tin­ued to show an in­ab­il­ity to handle the pres­sure of their situ­ation and sev­er­al roller coast­er per­form­ances were to fol­low. And al­though Geor­gie was on tar­get ag­ain in a tight and un­for­tu­nate 3-2 loss ag­ainst an op­por­tun­ist­ic Cov­entry City si­de at Old Traf­ford on the 15th of Dec­ember, his play­ing form star­ted to dip and he be­came more and more er­rat­ic by the day. And des­pite of the fact that the foot­baller turned rock and roll star still could put on a good enough show to keep the Man­chester Uni­ted sup­port­ers ex­cited and en­gaged, an in­ev­it­able per­son­al tragedy was about to ar­rive at his very doorstep.

Doc­herty and Best had nu­mer­ous deep per­son­al­ity con­flicts wi­th each oth­er as time went on and the rest­less and way­ward play­boy play­er would make his swan song ap­pear­ance for Man­chester Uni­ted at the age of on­ly twenty-sev­en in an em­bar­rass­ing 3-0 de­feat at the hands of Fir­st Di­vi­sion new boys Queens Park Ran­gers in front of an at­tend­ance of over 32,000 people at Loftus Road in West Lon­don on New Year’s Day 1974. For­mer Man­chester Uni­ted for­ward Don Givens pro­vided Queens Park Ran­gers wi­th a 1-0 lead in the 17th min­ute of the tussle, and some fif­teen min­utes la­ter his equally pro­lif­ic strik­ing part­ner Stan Bowles made it 2-0 to the hosts wi­th a head­er from a cor­ner-kick. Ran­gers con­tin­ued to dom­in­ate fol­low­ing the break and had yet an­oth­er goal when Bowles fired a su­perb angled shot pa­st Step­ney five min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk to give The Hoops a sol­id 3-0 ad­vant­age. Best had a few ef­forts as the sec­ond pe­riod wore on, but failed to trouble Phil Par­kes in the Ran­gers goal. And when ref­er­ee Derek Nip­pard of Bourne­mouth blew his whistle for full time, his Man­chester Uni­ted days would be over for good af­ter la­bour­ing thro­ugh 12 Fir­st Di­vi­sion ap­pear­ances fol­low­ing his come­back. On the 3rd of Jan­uary, he failed to turn up for train­ing at The Cliff and was con­sequently dropped for the FA Cup Third Ro­und en­counter ag­ainst Third Di­vi­sion si­de Ply­mouth Argyle at Old Traf­ford just two days la­ter. Then, in demon­stra­tion of his ma­na­geri­al mettle, The Doc han­ded Geor­gie the sack shortly af­ter­wards and the heart­broken play­er sub­sequently left his be­loved Man­chester Uni­ted af­ter hav­ing amassed a total of 179 goals in 470 fir­st te­am mat­ches for the once mighty foot­ball institution.

Af­ter leav­ing Man­chester Uni­ted in the dreary winter of 1974, Best had re­l­at­ively short spells at Na­tion­al Foot­ball Lea­gue club Jew­ish Guild of Jo­han­nes­burg, South­ern Lea­gue Di­vi­sion One North si­de Dun­stable To­wn, Fourth Di­vi­sion Stock­port Coun­ty, and Lea­gue of Ire­land te­am Cork Celt­ic. On the 20th of Feb­ruary 1976, he joi­ned North Amer­ic­an Soc­cer Lea­gue out­fit Los Angeles Aztecs, a club partly owned by Elton John, and was giv­en his com­pet­it­ive de­but in a 2-1 de­feat ag­ainst San Jose Earth­quakes at Spartan Sta­dium on the 17th of April. Los Angeles fin­ished the sea­son in third place of the Pa­cific Con­fer­ence South­ern Di­vi­sion, but were de­feated in the fir­st ro­und of the play­offs 2-0 by the Dal­las Tor­nado at Ownby Sta­dium on the 18th of Au­gust 1976. Dur­ing the 1976-77 and 1977-78 sea­sons, how­ever, Geor­gie en­joyed some­thing of a renais­sance wi­th Ernie Clay´s Ful­ham where he teamed up wi­th house­hold names like Les Bar­rett, Viv Busby, Jim­my Con­way, Rod­ney Marsh, and Bob­by Moore. Af­ter find­ing the back of the net in a 1-0 de­but win over Bris­tol Rov­ers wit­nessed by near­ly 22,000 spec­tat­ors at Craven Cot­tage on the 4th of Septem­ber 1976, he pro­ceeded to score an ab­so­lutely stun­ning long-dis­tance vol­ley in a 2-1 Lea­gue Cup Sec­ond Ro­und Re­play vic­tory ag­ainst Third Di­vi­sion out­fit Pe­ter­bor­ough Uni­ted at Lon­don Road on the 7th of Septem­ber and then put on a spec­tac­u­lar show in a 4-1 rout­ing of Sec­ond Di­vi­sion novices Here­ford Uni­ted at The Cot­tage on the 25th of the same month.

Ful­ham kept on win­ning mat­ches and were sit­ting sev­enth in the ta­ble in late Dec­ember wi­th 19 points gain­ed, five points adrift of the pro­mo­tion po­s­i­tions. But des­pite hav­ing big names in the si­de, they suf­fered a severe set­back in the sec­ond part of the sea­son and ended the 1976-77 cam­paign fin­ish­ing in sev­en­teenth place wi­th 35 points won, just one point above the drop zone. On the 20th of May 1977, Best went back to the Uni­ted States to ap­pear for Los Angeles Aztecs whom he help­ed reach the play­offs where they were de­feated by Seattle Sounders in the Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­on­ships. He then re-joi­ned Ful­ham for his sec­ond spell wi­th the club and look­ed to be en­joy­ing his foot­ball ag­ain, but ev­entually his re­la­tion­ship wi­th man­ager Bob­by Camp­bell, for­merly a mid­fielder wi­th Liver­pool, Ports­mouth, and Alder­shot, turned sour and his fi­nal out­ing for the te­am came on the 16th Nov­ember 1977 in a fren­et­ic 3-3 draw wi­th new­ly de­moted Sun­der­land at Craven Cot­tage where he sco­red one of the goals. All in all, he pro­duced ten goals in 47 ap­pear­ances for The Cot­tagers be­fore he re­turned to the Uni­ted States and Los Angeles Aztecs on a per­man­ent basis in late 1977.

Fol­low­ing 27 goals in 55 North Amer­ic­an Soc­cer Lea­gue out­ings for The Aztecs, Best then de­cided to join for­ces wi­th Fort Laud­er­dale Stri­kers where he hit six top-flight goals in 28 ga­mes un­der Ron New­man dur­ing the 1978 and 1979 sea­sons. On the 16th of Nov­ember 1979, he agreed to sign wi­th Scot­tish Pre­mier Di­vi­sion out­fit Hi­ber­ni­an, who were then ma­naged by for­mer Fam­ous Five for­ward Ed­die Turn­bull, and made his scor­ing de­but in a 2-1 de­feat to St Mir­ren in front of a bump­er crowd at Love Street eight days la­ter. He would go on to notch up three Pre­mier Di­vi­sion goals in 13 ap­pear­ances for The Hi­bees, but his night club life­style was tak­ing its toll and he left East­er Road for North Amer­ic­an Soc­cer Lea­gue San Jose Earth­quakes, then head coach­ed by for­mer Old Traf­ford team­mate Bill Foulk­es, at the back end of the 1979-80 cam­paign. Best, who had now rea­ched the age of 34, re­turned to Hi­ber­ni­an, how­ever, and made four Scot­tish Fir­st Di­vi­sion ap­pear­ances for the new­ly re­leg­ated si­de in the 1980-81 sea­son be­fore he de­cided to move back to the Uni­ted States to play for San Jose Earth­quakes for whom he sco­red a total of 21 goals in 56 out­ings dur­ing his two spells at Spartan Sta­dium. He would la­ter ap­pear for Hong Kong Fir­st Di­vi­sion te­ams Sea Bee and Hong Kong Ran­gers, Third Di­vi­sion AFC Bourne­mouth, Aus­trali­an Na­tion­al Soc­cer Lea­gue Bris­bane Li­ons, West Aus­trali­an State Soc­cer Lea­gue Os­borne Park Galeb, Al­li­ance Pre­mier Lea­gue Nun­eaton Bor­ough, and fi­nally North­ern Ire­land In­ter­me­di­ate Lea­gue To­ber­more Uni­ted where he fin­ished his high-pro­file act­ive play­ing ca­reer in 1984.

A North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al, Best was han­ded his highly an­ti­cip­ated seni­or de­but for the coun­try of his bir­th by man­ager Ber­tie Pea­cock, for­merly a de­fender at Col­eraine, Glentor­an, and Glas­gow Celt­ic, in a 3-2 Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship vic­tory ag­ainst Wales at Vetch Field in Swansea on the 15th of April 1964, and went on to col­lect 37 full caps for his home­land in the years to come. The lad from Cre­gagh Es­tate was a mem­ber of the North­ern Ire­land te­am which out­classed twice Wor­ld Cup win­ners Ur­uguay by a 3-0 mar­gin in a friendly fix­ture at Wind­sor Park then ter­raced on three sides, on the 29th April of  1964, and sco­red the fir­st of his nine goals for The Green and White Army when he notched up the open­er in a 2-1 Wor­ld Cup Quali­fier de­feat to Switzer­land at St­ade Olym­pique de la Pon­taise in the French speak­ing city of Lausanne on the 14th of Nov­ember the same year. He came up wi­th a late goal in a mor­ale-boost­ing 4-0 Wor­ld Cup Quali­fier win over the foot­balling min­nows of Al­bania at Wind­sor Park on the 7th of May 1965, and net­ted an­oth­er in a 3-2 Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship de­feat ag­ainst Scot­land at Hamp­den Park on the 25th of the same month, whi­le his greatest per­form­ance for his na­tion ar­rived in a 1-0 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Quali­fier win over The Tartan Ter­ri­ers in front of a stag­ger­ing crowd of 55,000 spec­tat­ors at Wind­sor Park on the 21st of Oct­ober 1967.

Play­ing the mat­ch of his life for North­ern Ire­land, the ul­ti­mate foot­balling geni­us, then aged 21 years, de­feated Bob­by Brown´s men single han­ded as he tor­men­ted the op­pos­i­tion’s de­fence through­out the ga­me in Bel­fast. The Scot­tish play­ers tried every trick in the book to stop him, but the Man­chester Uni­ted icon was full of youth­ful en­ergy and dom­in­ated pro­ceed­ings from the very start to the very fin­ish. And al­though the de­feat was nar­row, Scot­land, who fielded a te­am in­clud­ing Lis­bon Li­ons Tom­my Gem­mell, Bob­by Mur­doch, Ron­nie Simp­son, and Wil­lie Wal­lace, nev­er really stood a chan­ce ag­ainst a North­ern Ire­land si­de blessed wi­th the dan­ger­ous and in­form Best. The de­cis­ive and on­ly goal of the Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Quali­fier came in the 67th min­ute when Cov­entry City mid­fielder Da­vid Cle­m­ents took ad­vant­age of a poor clear­ance in­side the pen­alty box and mer­ci­lessly fired the ball pa­st Simp­son and in­to the bot­tom left cor­ner of the net. It cer­tainly was a day to re­mem­ber for the troubled people of North­ern Ire­land, but in­stead of cel­eb­rat­ing un­til the early hours, Best chose on this oc­ca­sion to spend the night wi­th his fam­ily at Bur­ren Way in the Cre­gagh Estate.

Best ad­ded yet an­oth­er in­ter­na­tion­al goal to his tally when he was on tar­get in North­ern Ireland´s fine 4-1 Wor­ld Cup Quali­fier vic­tory over Tur­key at Wind­sor Park on the 23rd Oct­ober 1968, a res­ult which gave them hope of reach­ing the Wor­ld Cup Fi­nals for the fir­st time since 1958. But North­ern Ire­land nev­er qual­i­fied for the fi­nals in Mex­ico and his frus­tra­tion of play­ing in a te­am go­ing nowhere came to the sur­face on the 18th of April 1970 when he was sent off for the fir­st time in his in­ter­na­tion­al ca­reer for spit­ting and throw­ing mud at Eng­lish ref­er­ee Eric Jen­nings dur­ing a 1-0 Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship de­feat to Scot­land at Wind­sor Park. On­ly three days la­ter, tho­ugh, he re­deemed him­self by scor­ing a won­der­ful in­di­vidu­al goal in a 3-1 Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship loss ag­ainst Eng­land at a packed Wemb­ley Sta­dium des­pite be­ing booed every time he touched the ball. The Three Li­ons haul­ed them­selves in­to an early lead when Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder Mar­tin Peters head­ed ho­me a cor­ner from the right by Bob­by Charl­ton, who was ma­king his 100th ap­pear­ance for his coun­try, af­ter six min­utes of play. North­ern Ire­land began the sec­ond pe­riod the bet­ter of the two sides as Best re­ceived a soar­ing long ball from Cle­m­ents and bril­liantly out­man­euvered Nob­by Sti­les be­fore un­leash­ing a ter­rif­ic low shot that flew pa­st a be­wildered Gor­don Banks and in­to the right bot­tom cor­ner of the net five min­utes fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion of ac­tion. But on­ly sev­en min­utes la­ter West Ham marks­man Ge­off Hurst re­stored the lead for Eng­land wi­th a de­flec­ted head­er from a cross de­livered by Ever­ton de­fender Keith New­ton and wi­th less than ten min­utes re­maining Charl­ton net­ted a third goal for the hosts to seal a 3-1 triumph.

On the 3rd of Feb­ruary 1971, he con­ver­ted from the pen­alty spot in a 3-0 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Quali­fier suc­cess ag­ainst the etern­al min­nows of Cyprus at The Pancyp­ri­an Gym­nast­ic As­so­ci­ation Sta­dium in Nico­sia, and re­gistered a hat-trick in a 5-0 win in the re­turn fix­ture at Wind­sor Park on the 21st of April. He prob­ably sco­red the strangest goal of his in­ter­na­tion­al ca­reer, how­ever, in a Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship en­counter wi­th Eng­land at Wind­sor Park on the 15th of May the same year when he flicked the ball away from Banks and head­ed it in­to the back of the net. To the great frus­tra­tion and an­ger of the ho­me sup­port­ers, the goal was dis­al­lowed by Scot­tish of­fi­cial Alistair Mack­en­zie and Alf Ramsey´s si­de ev­entually won the af­fair 1-0 thro­ugh a sec­ond-ha­lf goal by Leeds Uni­ted dan­ger­man Al­lan Clarke. Des­pite los­ing to The Three Li­ons in Bel­fast, Terry Neill´s North­ern Ire­land still ma­naged a sec­ond place in the Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship as Best in­spired his te­am-mates to a 1-0 vic­tory over Scot­land at Hamp­den Park where John Grieg of Glas­gow Ran­gers was un­lucky enough to put the ball in­to his own goal in the fir­st ha­lf, and then a 1-0 win ag­ainst Wales at Wind­sor Park, wi­th Lin­field mid­fielder Bry­an Ham­ilton hit­ting the win­ner for the green shirts in the 27th minute.

North­ern Ire­land was not ex­actly a bas­tion of peace and Geor­gie Best, who nev­er had any polit­ic­al am­bi­tions, was alarmed when a man wi­th an un­mis­tak­able Ir­ish ac­cent tele­phoned a na­tion­al news­pa­per in Lon­don and threat­ened to shoot him down in the au­tumn of 1971. Wi­th The Troubles in Ul­ster at their height, the threats were taken ser­i­ously due to his Ir­ish Prot­est­ant back­ground, and he was for­ced to with­draw tem­por­ar­ily from the North­ern Ire­land Squad. Then, in May 1972, Best failed to re­port to the North­ern Ire­land te­am for the Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship, and in­stead he went on hol­i­day to Mar­bella in Spain to cel­eb­rate his 26th birth­day. La­ter that year he was sent off for the sec­ond time in an in­ter­na­tion­al for kick­ing Loko­mot­iv Plovdi mid­fielder Hristo Boneva dur­ing a 3-0 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Qual­i­fy­ing de­feat to Bul­garia at Levski Sta­dium, named af­ter Bul­gari­an na­tion­al hero and re­volu­tion­ary Vasil Levski, on the 18th of Oct­ober, and as a con­sequence he was banned by FIFA for three ga­mes. On the 14th Nov­ember 1973, he was fi­nally back in ac­tion for North­ern Ire­land and had a de­cent ga­me over­all as the Ul­ster­men earned them­selves a highly re­spect­able a 1-1 draw ag­ainst Por­tugal in a Wor­ld Cup Quali­fier at Es­ta­dio Jose Al­valade, ho­me of Sport­ing Clube de Por­tugal, where Not­ting­ham For­est de­fender Liam O’Kane notched a sec­ond-ha­lf equal­iser for the vis­it­ors af­ter An­gola born Ben­fica stri­ker Rui Jordao had giv­en the Por­tuguese the lead in the fir­st pe­riod of the contest.

Fol­low­ing a three-year ab­sence, Best gave one of his finest per­form­ances for the North­ern Ire­land te­am in a 2-2 Wor­ld Cup Quali­fier draw ag­ainst the Neth­er­lands at Feyenoord´s De Kuip Sta­dium in Rot­ter­dam on the 13th of Oct­ober 1976. Dan­ny Blanchflower´s boys  went in­to an early lead when Chris Mc­Grath of Tot­ten­ham head­ed ho­me a right-sided cross de­livered by Sam­my Mc­Ilroy af­ter a mere four min­utes of ac­tion. Then, on­ly a few mo­ments la­ter in the ga­me, Best ri­diculed Jo­han Cruy­ff as he nut­megged the FC Bar­celona play­maker be­fore rais­ing his right arm in­to the air. Fol­low­ing the in­ter­val, the Dutch­men turned the ga­me ar­ound thro­ugh goals from Ajax sweep­er Ruud Krol and Cruy­ff in the 64th and 66th min­utes re­spect­ively, but wi­th the clock tick­ing down Blackpool´s Derek Spence, on as a sec­ond-ha­lf sub­sti­tute for fir­st-ha­lf goal scor­er Mc­Grath, ma­naged to equal­ise for the vis­it­ors from Ul­ster when he blas­ted in a re­bound from the ho­me goal­keeper from clo­se ran­ge wi­th a mere two min­utes re­maining of the tie. Tra­gic­ally, his foot­balling life was all too of­ten punc­tu­ated by prob­lems bo­th on and off the soc­cer pitch, and he would ap­pear in his fi­nal in­ter­na­tion­al mat­ch in a 1-0 Wor­ld Cup Quali­fier de­feat to the Neth­er­lands at Wind­sor Park on the 12th of Oct­ober 1977.

Ac­cord­ing to the es­teemed and highly re­spec­ted Sir Matt Busby, Ge­orge Best was blessed wi­th more in­di­vidu­al abil­ity and tal­ent than any oth­er foot­baller he had ever seen in his long and dis­tin­guished ma­na­geri­al ca­reer, and just like Seamus Hea­ney, Ire­land’s fir­st No­bel-win­ning poet since Wil­li­am But­ler Yeats, Best was ac­cep­ted by every­one on the Em­er­ald Isle, and the icon­ic Old Traf­ford fa­vour­ite was also the most pop­u­lar sports­man by far in the who­le of the coun­try, re­gard­less of polit­ics, re­li­gion, and eth­nic back­ground. Un­for­tu­nately, his mas­sive drink­ing prob­lems des­troyed his re­mark­able foot­ball ca­reer in the end. Ge­orge Best Play­ing Ca­reer: Man­chester Uni­ted, Jew­ish Guild, Dun­stable To­wn, Stock­port Coun­ty, Cork Celt­ic, Los Angeles Aztecs, Ful­ham, Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Laud­er­dale Stri­kers, Hi­ber­ni­an, San Jose Earth­quakes, Sea Bee, Hong Kong Ran­gers, AFC Bourne­mouth, Bris­bane Li­ons, Os­borne Park Galeb, Nun­eaton Bor­ough, To­ber­more Uni­ted. Play­ing Hon­ours: Eng­lish Foot­ball Lea­gue Fir­st Di­vi­sion 1965, 1967, UEFA Euro­pean Cup 1968.


George Best Quickfacts

Ge­orge Best was an in­aug­ur­al in­duct­ee in­to the Eng­lish Foot­ball Hall of Fa­me at the Na­tion­al Foot­ball Mu­seum in 2002 in re­cog­ni­tion of his unique tal­ent and con­tri­bu­tion to the beau­ti­ful game.


Manchester United Appearances

1963-64 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 1 West Brom­wich Al­bion 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Burn­ley 1
South­ampton 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Birm­ing­ham City 2
West Brom­wich Al­bion 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Bris­tol Rov­ers 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ar­senal 1
Lei­cester City 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Barns­ley 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Bol­ton Wan­derers 0
Black­burn Rov­ers 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Sport­ing Lis­boa 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Sun­der­land 3
Sun­der­land 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Sun­der­land 1
West Ham Uni­ted 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Sport­ing Lis­boa 5 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Chel­sea 1
Ful­ham 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2
Liver­pool 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 As­ton Vil­la 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Shef­field Uni­ted 1
Sto­ke City 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Not­ting­ham For­est 1

1964-65 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 2 West Brom­wich Al­bion 2
West Ham Uni­ted 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Lei­cester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 West Ham Uni­ted 1
Ful­ham 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Ever­ton 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Not­ting­ham For­est 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ever­ton 1
Sto­ke City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Djur­garden 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Chel­sea 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Burn­ley 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sun­der­land 0
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 7 As­ton Vil­la 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 6 Djur­garden 1
Liver­pool 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Shef­field Wed­nesday 0
Bor­us­sia Dort­mund 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 6
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Black­burn Rov­ers 0
Ar­senal 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Bor­us­sia Dort­mund 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Leeds Uni­ted 1
West Brom­wich Al­bion 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Birm­ing­ham City 1
Shef­field Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Shef­field Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Chester 1
Not­ting­ham For­est 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ever­ton 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 1
Sto­ke City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Ever­ton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Burn­ley 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Burn­ley 1
Sun­der­land 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Chel­sea 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Ful­ham 1
Shef­field Wed­nesday 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Black­pool 0
Leeds Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Leeds Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Black­burn Rov­ers 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Lei­cester City 0
Leeds Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Birm­ing­ham City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Liver­pool 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ar­senal 1
As­ton Vil­la 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Stras­bourg 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Stras­bourg 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Fer­encvaros 2
Fer­encvaros 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Fer­encvaros 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1

1965-66 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Liver­pool 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Shef­field Wed­nesday 0
Not­ting­ham For­est 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Northamp­ton To­wn 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Not­ting­ham For­est 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 1
New­castle Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Burn­ley 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 New­castle Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 6 HJK Hel­sinki 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Liver­pool 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 5 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Ful­ham 1
Black­pool 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Black­burn Rov­ers 2
Lei­cester City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
ASK Vor­warts Ber­lin 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Shef­field Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 ASK Vor­warts Ber­lin 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 West Ham Uni­ted 0
Sun­der­land 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ever­ton 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 West Brom­wich Al­bion 1
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sun­der­land 1
Leeds Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Ful­ham 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Der­by Coun­ty 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Shef­field Wed­nesday 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ben­fica 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 6 Northamp­ton To­wn 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Roth­er­ham Uni­ted 0
Roth­er­ham Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Sto­ke City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Burn­ley 2
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Ben­fica 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Chel­sea 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ar­senal 1
Pre­ston North End 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Lei­cester City 2
Par­tiz­an Bel­grade 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0

1966-67 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 5 West Brom­wich Al­bion 3
Ever­ton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Leeds Uni­ted 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ever­ton 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 New­castle Uni­ted 2
Sto­ke City 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Black­pool 5 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Man­chester City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Burn­ley 1
Not­ting­ham For­est 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Black­pool 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Chel­sea 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ar­senal 0
Chel­sea 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Shef­field Wed­nesday 0
South­ampton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Sun­der­land 0
Lei­cester City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
As­ton Vil­la 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Liver­pool 2
West Brom­wich Al­bion 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Shef­field Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Shef­field Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Leeds Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 0
Man­chester City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Sto­ke City 0
Burn­ley 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Not­ting­ham For­est 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Nor­wich City 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Black­pool 0
Ar­senal 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
New­castle Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Lei­cester City 2
Liver­pool 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Ful­ham 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ful­ham 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 West Ham Uni­ted 0
Shef­field Wed­nesday 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 South­ampton 0
Sun­der­land 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 As­ton Vil­la 1
West Ham Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 6
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Sto­ke City 0

1967-68 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 3
Ever­ton 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Lei­cester City 1
West Ham Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Sun­der­land 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Burn­ley 2
Shef­field Wed­nesday 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Hi­ber­ni­ans 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Hi­ber­ni­ans 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ar­senal 0
Shef­field Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Cov­entry City 0
Not­ting­ham For­est 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 0
Leeds Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Liver­pool 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
FK Sa­ra­jevo 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 South­ampton 2
Chel­sea 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 FK Sa­ra­jevo 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 West Brom­wich Al­bion 1
New­castle Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ever­ton 1
Lei­cester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 West Ham Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Shef­field Wed­nesday 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Burn­ley 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Ar­senal 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Gornik Za­b­rze 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Chel­sea 3
Gornik Za­b­rze 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Cov­entry City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Not­ting­ham For­est 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Man­chester City 3
Sto­ke City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Liver­pool 2
Ful­ham 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
South­ampton 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ful­ham 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Shef­field Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Re­al Mad­rid 0
West Brom­wich Al­bion 6 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 6 New­castle Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sun­der­land 2
Re­al Mad­rid 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Ben­fica 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 4

1968-69 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ever­ton 1
West Brom­wich Al­bion 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Cov­entry City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Chel­sea 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Shef­field Wed­nesday 5 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 West Ham Uni­ted 1
Burn­ley 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Wa­ter­ford 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 New­castle Uni­ted 1
Estu­di­antes de La Plata 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 7 Wa­ter­ford 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ar­senal 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Estu­di­antes de La Plata 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 South­ampton 2
Queens Park Ran­gers 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Leeds Uni­ted 0
Sun­der­land 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ips­wich To­wn 0
Sto­ke City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0
Lei­cester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Liver­pool 0
South­ampton 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Ar­senal 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Ex­eter City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Leeds Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Sun­der­land 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Wat­ford 1
Ips­wich To­wn 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Wat­ford 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Birm­ing­ham City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 6 Birm­ing­ham City 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Rap­id Wien 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ever­ton 1
Rap­id Wien 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Man­chester City 1
Ever­ton 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Chel­sea 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 8 Queens Park Ran­gers 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Shef­field Wed­nesday 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 1
West Ham Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 West Brom­wich Al­bion 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Not­ting­ham For­est 1
Cov­entry City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
New­castle Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Burn­ley 0
AC Mil­an 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 AC Mil­an 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Lei­cester City 2

1969-70 Sea­son:

Crys­tal Pal­ace 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ever­ton 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 South­ampton 4
Ever­ton 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 New­castle Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Sun­der­land 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Middles­brough 0
Leeds Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Liver­pool 0
Shef­field Wed­nesday 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Ar­senal 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Wrex­ham 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 West Ham Uni­ted 2
Der­by Coun­ty 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
South­ampton 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ips­wich To­wn 1
Burn­ley 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Not­ting­ham For­est 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Burn­ley 0
West Brom­wich Al­bion 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 1
Cov­entry City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Der­by Coun­ty 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester City 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Der­by Coun­ty 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Burn­ley 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Chel­sea 2
Liver­pool 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Man­chester City 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0
Sun­der­land 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Ips­wich To­wn 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Northamp­ton To­wn 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 8
Ips­wich To­wn 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Crys­tal Pal­ace 1
Middles­brough 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Middles­brough 1
Sto­ke City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Leeds Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Burn­ley 3
Chel­sea 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Leeds Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Leeds Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Man­chester City 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Cov­entry City 1
Not­ting­ham For­est 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 7 West Brom­wich Al­bion 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Wat­ford 0
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Shef­field Wed­nesday 2

1970-71 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Leeds Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Chel­sea 0
Ar­senal 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Burn­ley 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 West Ham Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ever­ton 0
Liver­pool 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Alder­shot 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Cov­entry City 0
lpswich To­wn 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Black­pool 1
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ports­mouth 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Crys­tal Pal­ace 1
Leeds Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 West Brom­wich Al­bion 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Chel­sea 1
New­castle Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Sto­ke City 2
Not­ting­ham For­est 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Crys­tal Pal­ace 2
South­ampton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Hud­dersfield To­wn 1
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Man­chester City 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 As­ton Vil­la 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ar­senal 3
As­ton Vil­la 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Der­by Coun­ty 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 4
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Middles­brough 0
Middles­brough 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Hud­dersfield To­wn 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 5 South­ampton 1
Ever­ton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 New­castle Uni­ted 0
West Brom­wich Al­bion 4 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Not­ting­ham For­est 0
Sto­ke City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
West Ham Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Der­by Coun­ty 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0
Cov­entry City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Crys­tal Pal­ace 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Liver­pool 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ips­wich To­wn 2
Black­pool 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester City 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 4

1971-72 Sea­son:

Der­by Coun­ty 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Chel­sea 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ar­senal 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 West Brom­wich Al­bion 1
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Ever­ton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ips­wich To­wn 0
Ips­wich To­wn 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Crys­tal Pal­ace 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 West Ham Uni­ted 2
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Shef­field Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Burn­ley 1
Hud­dersfield To­wn 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Der­by Coun­ty 0
Burn­ley 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
New­castle Uni­ted 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Leeds Uni­ted 1
Man­chester City 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Sto­ke City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 1
Sto­ke City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Lei­cester City 2
South­ampton 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 5
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Not­ting­ham For­est 2
Sto­ke City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Ips­wich To­wn 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Cov­entry City 2
West Ham Uni­ted 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
South­ampton 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Chel­sea 1
West Brom­wich Al­bion 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Pre­ston North End 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 New­castle Uni­ted 2
Leeds Uni­ted 5 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Middles­brough 0
Middles­brough 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ever­ton 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Hud­dersfield To­wn 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Sto­ke City 1
Sto­ke City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 4 Crys­tal Pal­ace 0
Cov­entry City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Liver­pool 3
Shef­field Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Lei­cester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Man­chester City 3
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 South­ampton 2
Ar­senal 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Sto­ke City 0

1972-73 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Ips­wich To­wn 2
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Ever­ton 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Lei­cester City 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Ar­senal 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Chel­sea 0
West Ham Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Ox­ford Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Cov­entry City 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Ox­ford Uni­ted 1
Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 3 Der­by Coun­ty 0
Shef­field Uni­ted 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Bris­tol Rov­ers 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
West Brom­wich Al­bion 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Bris­tol Rov­ers 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Birm­ing­ham City 0
New­castle Uni­ted 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 4
Lei­cester City 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Liver­pool 0
Man­chester City 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 South­ampton 1

1973-74 Sea­son:

Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Birm­ing­ham City 0
Burn­ley 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Chel­sea 2
Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1
New­castle Uni­ted 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Nor­wich City 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 0 South­ampton 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Cov­entry City 3
Liver­pool 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 0
Man­chester Uni­ted 1 Shef­field Uni­ted 2
Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Ips­wich To­wn 0
Queens Park Ran­gers 3 Man­chester Uni­ted 0

Total Ap­pear­ances: 361

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