On a cold day in January 1964, after a difficult spell for Manchester United, three players strode out onto the pitch at West Brom as part of the starting XI for the very first time.
What came next was nearly a full decade of fantastic football from those who became Manchester United’s Holy Trinity.
Today, 47 years since all three players last scored in the same match, we take a look at some of the best moments of Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best and the effect the three had on footballing history.
The Arrival of The Holy Trinity – 1963
In 1963, Manchester United was still recovering from the emotional trauma of the Munich air disaster in which 8 players out of 17 were killed, as well as 15 other members of team staff, sports journalists and flight crew.
Manager Matt Busby was determined to pull players out of their slump by engaging new talent to work alongside his star goal scorer Bobby Charlton. In came Denis Law, a Scottish player, who was known for his aerial goal scoring ability and perfect precision. Next a recruit from the youth ranks, a Belfast boy called George Best spotted by scout Bob Bishop was brought in for his fancy footwork and world-class ball control.
The three played together against West Brom at Hawthorns and the result was nothing short of magic with Manchester United’s trio battering West Brom defences each scoring a goal apiece, two for the formidable Denis Law.
Winning League Titles Again – 1965
After the devastating effect of the Munich air disaster Manchester United, understandably, fell off their stride and after a few years of winning first division titles and outstanding performances, they began slipping down the ranks, almost facing relegation.
That was until the arrival of the Holy Trinity.
By 1965, six years after the Munich air disaster, United won their First Division League Title and there was more to come.
Three Ballon d’Or Winners – 1964, 1966, 1968
The Ballon d’Or or “Golden Ball” is awarded to players after sporting journalists vote to determine who had the best performance in their game the year before.
In 1964, Denis Law was honoured with the Ballon d’Or and scored 28 goals that season making him the First Divisions top goal scorer.
Two years later Bobby Charlton was awarded the Ballon d’Or, scoring 81 votes for the honour, the highest number of votes since the award was established.
In another two years, at the age of just 22, George Best was awarded the Ballon d’Or, in the same year he won the league title with Manchester United and the European Cup.
Huddersfield Town VS Manchester United – 1971
After a decade of seamless coordination, the unbeatable combination of the Holy Trinity played together against Huddersfield Town, each scoring a goal each.
This was the last match that truly showcased the Holy Trinity as a footballing force to be reckoned with before Law’s old knee injury began to take its toll, off-pitch problems began arising for Best and Bobby Charlton’s age started to affect his game.
Statue Unveiled Old Trafford – 2008
For years the Holy Trinity was unstoppable, and the three players became immortalised in the minds and memories of football fans across the world.
One of the greatest football managers in the world, Bill Shankly, had this to say of the players when prepping his Liverpool team against the Utd squad;
“I took the models of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best off the model pitch and put them in my left-hand pocket. Then I told our players: ‘Don’t worry about them, they can’t play at all.’ It was psychology, of course. Charlton, Best and Law were three of the best players in the world”.
Marking the 40-year anniversary of Manchester Utd’s Euro Cup win in 1968 a bronze statue of The Holy Trinity was unveiled outside Old Trafford.
The trio look on towards the stadium and a bronzed likeness of Matt Busby, the manager that brought the three together. Little did Busby know at the time, he had created a talented trio that would score a total of 665 goals between them for his team.
The George Best Hotel
Looking back over George Best’s career, as a pivotal member of The Holy Trinity, The George Best Hotel will become a landmark for football fans to visit in Belfast.
Not only will rare and never before seen artefacts and memorabilia be permanently housed within the hotel but there will also be a representation of George created to look down over his old home city from atop the hotel turret.
Fans of George Best will soon be able to enjoy learning more about his past and lasting legacy from within the walls of a respectfully restored Belfast building.