George Best in His Own Words on His Career

My career highlights

In September 2001, George Best spoke to United Review, the club’s official match programme. In the interview he picked out some of the highlights of his playing career…

Football roots
“As a kid I used to follow Wolves, who were the great team of the Fifties, and I remember they had the first televised match under floodlights. Glentoran were my club in Belfast as my grandfather lived a stone’s throw from their ground. I was spotted by Bob Bishop, United’s scout in Northern Ireland and taken over to Old Trafford by Joe Armstrong.”

United debut
“It was against West Brom at Old Trafford in September 1963 – I had only signed professional in the May. I didn’t find out until an hour before kick-off that I was playing. We won 1-0 and David Sadler, who was my room-mate, scored the only goal. There was a crowd of 54,000 and it was a special day.”

First goal
“I had to wait until Christmas for my second match, which was against Burnley. The team lost 6-1 at Turf Moor on Boxing Day and I was brought in for the return two days later, which we won 5-1. I remember the sports paper at home in Belfast carried a photograph of the goal, which my family was very proud of.”

Favourite goal
“I scored a hat-trick against West Ham and the second was a beauty. I cut in, beating several players, following a short corner. I was off-balance and remember trying to stop myself falling and hitting it with my weaker left foot and it flew into the net.”

Most important goal
“They don’t come any bigger than scoring in the final of the European Cup, which I was lucky enough to do against Benfica at Wembley. But in terms of importance, the one against Real Madrid in the semi-final was probably more so. I scored again with my left as we beat the Spaniards 1-0 at Old Trafford and we then drew 3-3 in Madrid, so my goal effectively won us the game.”

Double hat-trick
“I once hit six against Northampton as we won 8-2 at the County Ground in an FA Cup tie. What made it even more special was that it was my first match back after suspension. Tony Book’s brother Kim was in goal and I met him some years later and he reminded me of the match. The most goals I scored in one season was 28, when I finished top scorer in the First Division.”

Personal awards
“The one that probably means more to me than any other was being named European Footballer of the Year in 1968 because in those days there were so many great players around. Even all these years later I am still winning trophies and awards, over 30 years since I stopped playing, which is nice.”

Toughest opponents
“Every team had one kicker you had to watch. We had Nobby Stiles, the type of player you had to have on your side. Nobody liked playing Leeds because they could all dish it out and their right-back Paul Reaney was probably the best defender I ever faced.”

Special moment
“The biggest game I played in was the European Cup final and what made it even more special was that it came 10 years after the Munich disaster. We had not only come back from that tragedy but won the biggest club competition.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s