Then, as he often did, Best summoned something special on cue. The ball broke to him in the centre of the pitch just inside Chelsea’s half, and from nowhere he accelerated devastatingly forward with at least two defenders in his wake.
Then, in that famous piece of film, Harris enters the screen from the right, dredging up some energy of his own and flying feet-first at Best, who is now 25 yards out. Best’s frame bends like a young tree in the wind as he somehow eludes Chopper’s lunge, regains his balance and goes on to score. Fabulous.
3) West Ham Utd 1 Manchester United 6
Football League Division one, 6 May 1967
Matt Busby’s side went to West Ham on the cusp of greatness. Having lost six matches by Boxing Day, been humbled in the League Cup by Blackpool and by Norwich City in the FA Cup, United had revived so completely that the Reds needed only to win this penultimate league fixture to secure the title. Busby had used just 14 players, too, and the ‘holy trinity’ of Best, Law and Charlton had been at the team's heart.
West Ham fielded three World Cup winners in Hurst, Moore and Peters, but they were brushed aside in an opening 30 minutes so giddily brilliant even Matt Busby didn’t realise the score at half-time! Indeed, Charlton had opened the scoring before a nervous Busby had emerged from the dressing room, and the manager assumed he was watching West Ham start the game as they kicked off after that first goal.
Pat Crerand then Bill Foulkes scored within the first 10 minutes, too, and Best completed the first-half carnage with a thrilling individual run and shot.
A Denis Law penalty and then a valedictory shot high into the net for the Scot’s second secured the points, the title and entry into the European Cup. It had been a magnificent display of team football by a side about to enter immortality.
2) Manchester United 4 Benfica 1
European Cup final, 29 May 1968
Part of Best’s greatness was his sense of theatre: on the biggest stage, he became the greatest star. In the match that everyone knew might ensure the legend of both Matt Busby and United, Best offered the night and the club one of its defining moments. The sight of him turning away from the Wembley goal having flashed the ball home in the first half of extra-time has become one of the best-known images in the