Once there, we played Benfica in the first game and it was quite a tasty affair. The year before, in 1966, United had beaten Benfica 5-1 in Lisbon at the Stadium of Light – I hadn’t joined the club at that stage – and the Portuguese side didn’t like that. It was the first defeat they’d ever suffered at home in Europe [their record was W18 D1 before Matt Busby’s side visited] and George Best had been crowned El Beatle on that trip. Benfica really got the hump with that. So when it came to this friendly in Los Angeles it was more like a grudge match. We lost 3-1 and there was a lot of crowd trouble. At one point, there were a load of police and fans on the pitch. It was unfortunate, but we got our own revenge a year later when we beat Benfica at Wembley in the European Cup final.
We spent a few days in Los Angeles – we stayed on Wilshere Boulevard – before we travelled to San Francisco. In fact, it was a week before our second game, against Dundee United. So in San Francisco we visited the sights – we went to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz – and we also spent some time with a few supporters clubs.
It wasn’t a holiday, though. We stuck to a strict regime and trained hard, even though we’d just finished a long season. Our trainer, Jack Crompton, had us out on the pitch every day. There was no question of us relaxing or losing fitness. Even then, everybody wanted to beat Manchester United, so we wanted to stay in top shape. We had little outings here and there, but it definitely wasn’t a holiday.