From wonderkid to world-beater: George Best's first five seasons in photographs

11. Back to the day job

12 Apr 1966: Straight from Heathrow to a match the next day at Stamford Bridge. We assume George got a nice early night, but United lost 2-0, with Bobby Tambling scoring in the first minute and George Graham in the fifth.

It was only United's second league defeat since that October bruising at White Hart Lane (the other loss being at leaders Liverpool), but it started a run of just two wins in nine league games as the champions' thoughts turned towards Europe. 

That run wasn't helped by Best carrying an injury – caused, predictably, by a bad tackle. On 26 March he got his knee twisted in an FA Cup quarter-final at Preston, forcing him out of the next two games; although United's staff insisted it was light enough for him to continue, he covertly consulted the Glentoran physio, who painfully readjusted his ligaments.

He played in heavy strapping for the loss at Partizan Belgrade on 13 April but missed the remaining 10 games; United won just four (including that insufficient home victory against Partizan), losing in the FA Cup semi-final to eventual winners Everton and finishing fourth in the league.


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