FEATURES

10/09/2013 13:10
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Opposition view

“George just wanted to play, he was in love with the game. We ended up on holiday in the same resort in Minorca one year. I was with my family, he was with some friends, and he liked nothing more than getting on the beach, getting a ball out and playing. He would play all day if you let him. He babysat my kids – he played with them on the beach, so my mother-in-law loved him! She treated him like a son.

“He always played with a smile. In matches, he’d go past you and, when the move was over, he’d be walking back and he’d smile at you as he went past – and that hurt more than him beating you! He was a lovely guy off the pitch, very shy. A lovely, gentle fella.

“People talk about great players from different eras and whether they would be as good today. George would be better in the modern game. He wouldn’t be getting clattered from behind, he would get more protection from referees and he'd be playing on truer surfaces, not the awful grounds we used to play on.”

Campbell Crawford
Another teenage debutant on the day, the young West Brom defender went head-to-head with Best when he switched wings.

“We had an injury, which meant Don Howe, the England full-back, went to wing-half and I came in at right-back for my debut at 19. 

“It was a big game to play in, the crowd at Old Trafford was very intimidating, 50,000 people there. I think they held the kick-off up to get everybody in.

“I’d seen George play a week or two before because he played in the Reserves against us, but we didn’t have any sense that he was going to be the big danger. I don’t remember Jimmy Hagan, the manager, talking about George before the game because he was just a young lad making his debut. 

“My job was marking Bobby Charlton, so that was enough for me to worry about before the game! I was a couple of years older than George and I knew how nervous I was before the match, so I assumed he’d be the same. 

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