Black Country Bugle
George Best in the Black Country
GEORGE Best (19462005) was arguably the most famous, if not the most talented footballer of his generation.
His sublime skills on the football pitch drew thousands of admirers every time he took the field, while his good looks and lifestyle brought further fame and notoriety.
As a young lad growing up in Cregagh, east Belfast, Best’s favourite team was Wolverhampton Wanders, then in their full pomp under Stan Cullis, dominating English football and taking on the best teams in Europe. Wolves’ Peter Broadbent was a particular inspiration to
Best, but it was Cullis’s rival, Matt Busby that signed the gifted youngster to Manchester United.
These pictures were taken 50 years ago and show George Best playing against his childhood favourites.
By the early 1970s the stars of Busby, United and George Best were all on the wane but they could still prove stubborn opposition. Wolves played United at Old Trafford on April 12, 1971. The Wolves team was: Phil Parkes, Bernard Shaw, Derek Parkin, John Mcalle, Frank Munro, Mike Bailey, Kenny Hibbitt, Jim Mccalliog, Dave Wagstaffe, Hugh Curran, Bobby Gould and Michael o’grady (sub).
Facing them were: Alex Stepney, Pat Crerand, Tony Dunne, Paul Edwards, Francis Burns, Willie Morgan, Bobby Charlton, Nobby Styles, Alan Gowling, George Best, Denis Law and Brian Kidd (sub).
The game ended in a 1-0 win for United, thanks to Alan Gowling’s goal, but the result did not reflect the relative strengths of the two clubs at the time.
Wolves finished the 1970-71 season in fourth place, qualifying for next season’s UEFA Cup, while United ended in eighth place and three seasons later they were relegated from the top flight.