Wonderkid to world-beater: George Best's first five seasons in photographs
16. Chicken run champions
6 May 1967: Pat Crerand heads United's second goal at West Ham, watched by Best (in the background) but not by Bobby Charlton (jumping back-to-back with Crerand), while Hammers Peter Bennett and John Bond look on. In the background is West Ham's East Stand, aka the 'Chicken Run', two years before it was knocked down and rebuilt.
Table-topping United's nearest challengers were Nottingham Forest, under Johnny Carey (who would have played far more than 350 games for United had he not been off fighting the Second World War for most of his twenties). After going unbeaten in 18 league matches since Christmas (including 10 wins), United had arrived in east London needing a draw to seal the title.
Instead of playing for a draw – against a side containing the three iconic World Cup winners Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, not to mention a young Harry Redknapp – United tore into their hosts. Best, Crerand, Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes put the visitors 4-0 up by twenty past three. West Ham pulled a goal back through John Charles – not the Welshman who played for Leeds and Juventus, but the pioneering black full-back – only for a Denis Law double to make United champions with a flourish.
17. Bringing the trophy home
13 May 1967: Busby holds the League Championship trophy aloft as he and his players parade it around Old Trafford. In the background is the Scoreboard End, opposite the Stretford End and yet to be developed with the modern cantilever stand the club had already erected on the north side of the stadium; it would be extended round to the east in 1973, but the section of stand visible here survived until 1985.
The players are (l-r): Denis Law, Bill Foulkes, John Aston, Shay Brennan, David Sadler, Bobby Charlton, Alex Stepney, Busby, Jimmy Ryan, Tony Dunne, Pat Crerand, George Best.
18. Can we do this every year?
13 My 1967: United players Denis Law, Nobby Stiles, Shay Brennan, Jimmy Ryan, George Best, Bill Foulkes and Bobby Charlton celebrate winning the league with a bottle of beer in the plunge bath after the match.
It was the club's second league triumph in three seasons, but it would become a millstone for a generation as United would not be champions again for 26 years.
An ever-present, Best contributed 10 goals to the cause. For the next five seasons he would be the club's leading scorer in the league, but it says much for the strength of United's team in 1966/67 that he was outranked by Charlton (12 league goals), David Herd (16) and Law (23).
But with Herd having broken his leg, Best was now to be more heavily relied upon for goals.
19. A very good year
1 Jun 1967: Well-dressed Best relaxes in his boutique, on the day The Beatles released Sgt Pepper to kick off the "Summer of Love".
We won't go into George's adventures in that close season.
20. Best on wheels
1 July 1967: Best in his motor, parked worryingly close to a wall.