Even BBC journalist Joel Taggart put the boot in, tweeting: "Please tell me the George Best statue is better in the 'flesh' than it is in photographs."
The Manchester Evening News cried foul, calling the statue "ridiculous", and bookmaker Paddy Power tweeted that it was "terrible".
But sculptor Tony Currie from Lecale Bronze, who did a busy round of TV and radio interviews to tackle his critics yesterday, wasn't fazed.
He said: "What is more important to me is that George's family all endorsed the statue and said it was a good likeness after it was unveiled on Wednesday at Windsor Park by his sister Barbara, by his former international colleague Pat Jennings and by his superfan Robert Kennedy, who supported the project from the kick-off.
"They are the important people, the ones who matter. So what more can you ask? Everyone has an opinion. But they're not all right. You can't please everybody."
He said that while he hadn't read the online attacks on the statue, he had been made aware of some of the more acerbic comments - though he denied they had hurt him.
He added: "They haven't stung at all. I am used to taking criticism. And to tell you the truth, I was expecting to encounter negativity. But that means nothing if the family have given us their seal of approval."
Throughout the day the debate over the statue widened to a discussion on whether George, who died in November 2005 after battling alcoholism, deserved a tribute at all.
Opponents cited his drink problems and reports that he had been abusive to women.
Mr Currie added: "I am tired listening to all the arguments like: 'You shouldn't put up a statue to a wife-beater'. George died nearly 14 years ago and every time there's something done in his name the same old attacks are trotted out again and again."
The artist repeated George's plea just before his death that people should remember him for his football.
"That's what I tried to do to remember a genius," added Tony, who created the work after consulting a large number of books and videos of the footballer.
He said: "Sometimes it can be challenging to create a 3D image from two-dimensional pictures which aren't even lifesize but I think it's an achievement to get even a close resemblance to someone who's not here anymore.
"So I am happy with what we've done."
One of his colleagues from Lecale Bronze, James G Miles, said they were "relaxed" about the social media storm. He added: "We know that opinion is divided but we think the statue looks like George Best and we think the movement in it is great, as is the fact that it's down on the ground where people can interact with it.
"My only appeal is that people should go to Olympia to see the statue because the photographs are not doing it justice. And eventually it will all settle down and people will realise that Tony has done a brilliant job."
Yesterday at Olympia it was clear that was what many visitors were doing - making their own minds up.
Many concurred that the statue was more impressive in reality than it was in newspaper and TV pictures.
Paul Kane said he knew right away who the statue was supposed to be, adding: "I think it does look like George. Definitely. That's him for sure. And he deserves his place here on talent alone, never mind what they say about his drinking."
Paul Walsh agreed that the tribute to George was well merited.
However, he added: "I'm not so sure that the pose is quite right, though I understand they're trying to show him moving and dribbling the ball."
Alan Hamilton struggled to warm to the statue.
He said: "I was a huge fan of George and I was disappointed to see the pictures in the paper. But it is certainly a bit more like George when you get up close. However, I still really can't see the familiarity."
Man United fan Adrienne Hawthorne from Finaghy said she thought the statue, in which George is crouched over striking an action pose, would have worked better on a plinth.
She added: "You really have to bend down a lot to see George's face. But I think it's good. And you'd know it was him."
Davy Pogue from the nearby Village changed his mind on getting up close and personal with George.
He said: "I wasn't impressed when I saw it on the TV but it does look like him when you're here."
Manchester-born but Belfast-based United fan John Hudson said: "I've heard a lot of criticism but I quite like it.
"I think it's him okay, but the statue is not that noticeable when you come in here. And besides, I would rather see it at the City Hall than outside a leisure centre."
Mark Marshall from south Belfast said he wasn't a football fan but applauded the statue as a "good" piece of art.
He added: "However, if I hadn't known to expect the sculpture here I would have been struggling to recognise who it was."
Marion O'Neill and Sujata Benson had travelled to the Olympia after hearing so much talk about the statue on the radio.
Sujata said: "You know, it's a lot better than I thought it was going to be. The right profile, for example, is perfect. And I like his hair."
That comment was too much for one passer-by, who didn't want to be identified.
She interrupted Sujata to say: "The hair's nothing like George's. He never had wavy hair. That's Pat Jennings' hair."
The last word went to comedian Tim McGarry, a Cliftonville fan, who said on social media that Theresa May's government resembled a functioning government in the same way that a statue of George Best resembled George Best.