09/09/2013 21:31
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Best's first season

Sir Matt later commented, "The atmosphere in the dressing room was a bit edgy but the boy Best sat in a corner reading the match programme! He was completely unconcerned! The match began and almost immediately the little whipper-snapper had taken it by the scruff of the neck and was cheekily beating his man as if he’d been in the First Division for years. From the moment he started to play in the first team, George Best had pulses racing."

'His man' on the day, the opposing defender he had to overcome, was West Brom’s Graham Williams. The uncompromising full-back introduced the new boy to the big time with a couple of hefty challenges and the Welshman later admitted: “I wanted to intimidate George and give him a tough time. I like to think I kept him quiet. But I could tell he was going to be one of the greats. That summer I bumped into him on holiday in Majorca. He said: ‘I’ve still got the marks from those tackles,’ and I told him it was nice to see his face, because after that first game all I ever saw was the back of his head disappearing up the field!”

In the second half, Best was moved to the opposite wing to escape Williams and finally got the chance to show his talent, even if it meant refusing to pass to any of his team-mates. “The way I played wasn’t appreciated by the likes of Bobby Charlton,” admitted Best.

“I was the new kid who was supposed to show a bit of deference and give him the ball, but every time I got it I wanted to beat a couple of players. The team would be screaming for the ball, but I was a greedy little urchin.”

United eventually won 1-0 with a goal from David Sadler, but Best was disappointed with his debut: “I felt a little bit deflated because I knew I could have done better.”

Busby had been impressed with his prodigy, but not enough to keep him in the first team, and Best was sent back to the reserve and youth teams. The move left him “a little bit worried… but I was sure I was good enough, so I

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