George Best’s return to English football in the late summer of 1976 caused a sensation. The fact that he was signing for Second Division Fulham was something of a surprise. There was no doubt that the mercurial Northern Ireland winger was not the player that mesmerised defenders and crowds alike during his glorious decade at Manchester United – he was undoubtedly slower and shorn of game time – but he had lost none of the characteristic swagger.

Best certainly brought the crowds back to Craven Cottage. More than 21,000 fans packed into Fulham’s historic home to see him make his first appearance for the club in a Second Division meeting with Bristol Rovers. The home side certainly had some star quality, with England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore at the heart of the defence, and Rodney Marsh, who had also returned from America, beginning a second spell at the club. It took Best just 77 seconds to steal the show, scoring the only goal of a game and making a dream start to his spell in south west London.

Best’s Fulham career was short and sweet. There were moments of magic – like a glorious 30-yard volley against Peterborough United in the League Cup and when he tackled Marsh during a victory over Hereford – and madness, such as his sending off at Southampton that sparked the beginning of the end and the fines that followed his absences from training. He did return from a spell out of the side to inspire a fine 3-1 win against Chelsea to ease Fulham’s relegation worries, but headed back to the United States after a fitful third season with the club.