When two of the biggest characters in football got together for a reunion, there was bound to be a few laughs along the way.
And so it proved when former Manchester United legend George Best met City’s Rodney Marsh for a photoshoot in November 1987 – a decade after they both played for Fulham.
The duo were quickly into their stride. Best messed up Marsh’s well-coiffured hairstyle and the pair then enjoyed an impromptu kickabout in the car park.
They both lined up for Second Division Fulham in September 1976. After leaving City earlier that year, Marsh had been playing for Cork Hibernians and Tampa Bay Rowdies. He was still with Tampa when he came to Fulham on loan.
Best’s route was more complicated. After his final game for United in 1974, he played five matches for the Jewish Guild team in Johannesburg and then went to Dunstable Town on loan.
After that he played three matches for Stockport County, scoring two goals in the process, and then moved briefly to Cork Celtic.
He made 32 appearances for Los Angeles Aztecs in 1976, notching up 15 goals. Then he returned to the UK to play for Fulham for £500 a match.
Best and Marsh were attracted to the London club by the presence of former England captain Bobby Moore.
Their arrival certainly had a dramatic effect on the crowds at Craven Cottage. Attendances doubled compared to the previous season.
More than 21,000 fans watched Best score in the first minute of his first match – the only goal in a 1-0 defeat of Bristol City.
Although he was a little slower than in his Manchester heyday, Best’s artistry on the ball still bewildered Second Division defences. Some of his goals were little short of brilliant, especially the scorcher he scored against Chelsea on Good Friday 1977.
Best’s playboy lifestyle in London meant his training mainly took place in the afternoons. But team-mates reckoned he worked twice as hard after lunch to maintain his fitness.
Although he was a target for some fierce treatment from opposition defenders, he mostly maintained his cool in spite of being sent off at Southampton.
Of course, there were some high jinx with Marsh on the field. Best famously tackled him – his own team-mate – for a joke against Hereford in September 1976! Goal celebrations were always exuberant too.
The pair also joined comedian Freddie Starr in a send-up of the TV sports programme Superstars along with Newcastle United striker Malcolm Macdonald. Silly hats and big cigars were the order of the day!
Best eventually made 47 appearances for Fulham scoring 10 goals, considerably more than Marsh who turned out 22 times and scored six goals. Marsh stayed for less than a season before returning to Tampa.
It was a disappointing period for Marsh who started his professional career at Fulham in 1962 before moving to Queens Park Rangers in 1966 and Manchester City in March 1972.
Marsh was signed by City manager Malcolm Allison for a club record fee of £200,000, joining Mike Summerbee, Francis Lee and Wyn Davies in attack.
He was City’s top scorer with 19 goals in the 1972-3 season, but his form dipped when Allison resigned as manager in March 1973. He played in the 1974 League Cup Final when City lost 2-1 to Wolves, but was so disappointed he threw away his runners-up medal.
In all, he made 118 league appearances for City scoring 36 goals. He was also capped nine times for England, scoring once.
Best joined United in 1961 at the age of 15 after scout Bob Bishop being spotted him playing in Belfast. He sent a telegram to manager Matt Busby saying: ‘I think I’ve found you a genius.’
Best made his senior debut two years later in September 1963 in the 1-0 league victory against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford.
After a brief spell in the reserves, he went on to make 361 league appearances for United scoring 137 goals. He was also capped 37 times for Northern Ireland, notching up nine goals.
Perhaps his proudest moment at United was scoring a superb solo goal in the 4-1 European Cup Final victory over Benfica at Wembley in May 1968.