Remembering George Best, Manchester United’s legendary No. 7

It is time to remember George Best – the most naturally gifted footballer Britain has ever produced.

George Best was born on 22 May 1946 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

He was just a skinny teenager, when he was spotted by Manchester United scout Bob Bishop, who famously sent a telegram to Matt Busby which read: “Boss, I think I’ve found you a genius”.

The talented youngster joined the club at age 15, and he made his first-division debut two years later, in 1963.

Best was an immediate sensation, showing his set of natural talents in front of the Old Trafford crowd.

The winger possessed everything – speed, balance, vision, and superb close control, while his ability to create chances and score from seemingly impossible situations was out of this world.

George Best formed a special partnership with Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, famously known by the name ‘The Holy Trinity’. They secured the Reds’ first title triumph since the pre-Munich era in 1965 and won the championship once again two years later.

His best season with the Busby Babes was in 1967-68. The winger helped Manchester United become the first English club to win the European Cup – a massive success on the 10th anniversary of the tragic Munich Air Disaster.

Best scored 32 goals for the club in all competitions, including one in the final against Benfica, giving the Reds a 2-1 extra-time lead en route to a 4-1 success at Wembley. He won the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year.

He finished the season as Manchester United’s top goalscorer, a position he retained over the next four campaigns.

Off the pitch however, Best battled his fair share of demons. He suffered from alcoholism for most of his adult life, leading to numerous controversies and, eventually, his death.

He even joked about it, saying: “In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life.”

But it wasn’t that funny, as his form dropped in the mid-1970s and the Belfast boy had to leave Old Trafford in 1974.

George Best played 361 games and scored 137 goals for the Busby Babes in the English First Division.

He holds the post-War record for the most goals by a United player in a single match – six versus Northampton Town, in an 8-2 FA Cup victory back in 1970.

Best was the first Old Trafford great to wear the iconic No. 7 shirt for the Red Devils and probably the man who raised its cult status.

We’ll finish the article with his own words about his legacy in the beautiful game – “They’ll forget all the rubbish when I’ve gone and they’ll remember the football. If only one person thinks I’m the best player in the world, that’s good enough for me.”