George Best

Defining Moments

George Best was a prolific goal scorer, using his unique style to fly past defenders. Best used more than just speed and agility, however. He was a courageous player, boldly attacking the net and never backing away from a challenge. Whenever he stepped on the pitch, he displayed “bravery and daring…in an era when vicious, dirty play was openly tolerated.”[1]

European Cup Quarter Final March 9, 1966

In this match against Benfica, Best scored two goals in the first 12 minutes of play. He went on to lead the team to a 5-1 victory over the Portuguese team, the first time the team had been beaten at home. After this match, the Portuguese press nicknamed Best ‘El Beatle,’ for his pop star look and wild lifestyle.[2]

FA Cup February 7, 1970

This was Best’s first match back after serving a six week suspension, which had resulted from him throwing mud at a referee who had disagreed with him. In this game against Northampton, Best more than made up for his six week absence by scoring an astounding six goals. The film of this game shows Best’s characteristic blinding speed and ability to find the goal. For his sixth goal, Best dribbled down the pitch, stopped the ball on the goal-line, and saluted the Manchester fans before he finally rolled the ball into the net, displaying his classic bravado.[3]

George scores 6 against Northampton Town

Home Internationals May 15, 1971

This match was one of the many appearances George Best made for the Northern Ireland team. It was against England, a match that must have had a great deal of tension, due to the violent conflict that existed between the two groups of people. In this match, Best showed his boldness and trickiness in an act rarely seen in football. As seen in the video, Best actually intercepted the ball as goalie, Gordon Banks, was attempting to drop-kick it for a clear. The goal was disallowed for foul play, and Northern Ireland lost the match, but his ‘goal’ showcased his daring and cunning style of play. It also showcased the fun-loving and somewhat rebellious aspect of his life.[4]

George Best disallowed goal

World Cup Qualifier 1976

In this match, Northern Ireland drew Holland, led by one of the all time best, Johan Cruyff. As he entered the stadium, Best stopped to receive a red rose from an adoring female fan. The Orange were at the height of their game, having just lost in the final of the 1974 World Cup and destined to make it to the final of the 1978 Cup. Five minutes into the game, Best got his first touch. Instead of heading straight to the goal, however, he dribbled across the field, dodging several Dutchmen and running straight for Cruyff. When he finally reached Cruyff, Best dribbled the ball in between Cruyff’s legs, and then raised his fist in the air after he had collected the ball on the other side. Best showed his superiority on the pitch, embarrassing one of the greatest defenders of all time in a daring, albeit futile, move.[5]

[1] Holden, J. (2005, October 30).  Forget the women and the wine—he was simply the Best. The Sunday Express. Retrieved from





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