The Eagles left the field to a chorus of incessant boos at half-time, however, for the small pocket of United fans stuck so high up in the corner of one of the huge stands, things could not have been better, with their beloved team on the verge of the European Cup semi-finals yet again.
Even Shay Brennan putting through his own goal could not rouse the Portuguese support, and two further goals from Paddy Crerand and Charlton secured a crushing 8-3 aggregate victory, which sent ripples throughout Europe. There was no doubting the fact that United’s demolition of the two-time winners would go down as one of the greatest-ever attacking displays by a team away from home in European competition and it was the dazzling skills of the Belfast Boy, and not Eusebio, that caught the eye. For George and his United teammates, the agony and despair experienced in Lisbon two years prior had been well and truly exorcised.
Emotions ran high and, after the final whistle, a fan ran on to the pitch with a knife and made his way towards George. Thankfully, he was brought to ground before he could get anywhere near our two-goal hero, but afterwards it was discovered that he had only intended to claim a lock of George’s hair.
As the team touched down at Manchester Airport the next day, the attention was focused on one player. The 19-year old who was born in east Belfast stepped off the plane looking like a movie star. He was wearing a black leather jacket, dark sunglasses and a souvenir sombrero covered his long black hair.
The Portuguese media quickly dubbed him El Beatle, in a nod to the stratospherically popular Merseyside band. It was a moniker which the English press instantly adopted. The world was now literally at Best’s feet.