On the tenth anniversary of the death of George Best, former United winger Willie Morgan looks back on their time playing together.
Willie signed for United in the summer of 1968 and played on the opposite wing to George for the next few years: “George was a great player and it’s very sad what happened to him in the end. Unlike a lot of what is reported in the press we actually got on very well and we remained friends all the way through.
“He was a great player in a great team, a fantastic team coached by the best manager of all time Sir Matt Busby.”
Morgan and Best were a full-backs nightmare and Willie reveals how the two men would try to confuse defences as well as the player George hated playing against the most: “Occasionally when we played together we used to swap wings, if one of us was having a bit of a bad time. He hated playing against Paul Reaney at Leeds United so when we played Leeds I would swap over because I didn’t mind Reaney, but George couldn’t beat him for love or money.
“There was also a guy who played for Newcastle at left back, he was pretty average but I couldn’t beat him. No matter where I went he ran into me so we used to swap over then as well.
“We had some good times playing together and those days were great, playing in a great team with great players and a great manager. The supporters were just unbelievable, the Stretford End then was just to die for. They were all working class lads like the players were, it was brilliant. Happy memories.”
Ten years since his friend and former teammate passed away, Willie is still coming to terms with the death of arguably the greatest player of all time and wonders if things would have turned out differently if George had taken up his chosen hobby, golf: “It still doesn’t seem real, George went off to live in London and most of the United lads stayed in the north so we didn’t see a great deal of him in the later years. To me, it doesn’t seem like he’s gone at all it just feels like he’s still living in London.
“I always say his one downfall was that he didn’t play golf because I think if he had he’d still be around. It was a saving grace for most of the players because once you’d finished training at dinner time it was a long day so most of us played as it kept us sane but George never did.
“George was very quiet and there’s so much rubbish been written about him, absolute garbage. He was a very, very nice guy and a great player.”