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10/09/2013 15:46, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Reds recall Best debut

Visit the George Best 50 years section 

Fifty years ago on Saturday, George Best made his Manchester United debut during a 1-0 win over West Brom at Old Trafford, the first of his 470 matches for the club.

Here, the men who knew him best, his team-mates, give a unique insight into the career of the Belfast Boy, as first featured in Inside United magazine…

Paddy Crerand
United’s No.4 against West Brom recalls an ice-cool debutant…
“The summer after his debut, in 1964, we were in Majorca and came across Graham Williams, the West Brom and Wales left-back who had marked George on his debut. Graham’s a lovely fella, a real nice guy. He’s funny, too. He asked me to introduce him to George because he had never seen him from the front! That sums up George’s impact: there he was, a kid making his debut, and he made that kind of impression on an international defender in his very first senior game.  George was terrific. I would think he was the best I played with. Just a truly great player.”

Harry Gregg
The Northern Irishman recalls a young Best nutmegging him in training…
“I went to The Cliff, where youngsters from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were having trials. I played in a five-a-side game against kids aged 14 and 15 years old – remember, before my injury, I'd been one of the best keepers in the world – and this skinny kid put the ball through my legs. I thought he'd slipped, but I was amazed when he did it again. I told him that if he did it for a third time I would break his neck! George had unbelievable ability, he was so gifted it was frightening.”

David Sadler
Also 17, Sadler had made his own debut a few weeks earlier…
“All of us who knew George knew he was an exceptional talent with a heart as big as a lion, though there was concern about his build. When it came to his debut, all eyes were on George and there was a fair buzz about the place as everybody was talking about United uncovering this good, young Irish player. If George was nervous, he certainly didn’t show it and it was not apparent in the build-up to kick-off. Nobby Stiles was pacing up and down while I was on and off the toilet because of nerves. However, with George, it was as though he was going for a stroll in the park rather than playing football in front of 50,000 at Old Trafford.”

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