George Best’s family have said they hope that a buyer from Northern Ireland will purchase a collection of his most prized awards so they can be kept here.
The executors of the former Manchester United star’s estate have put a collection of his medals and trophies up for auction to cover the costs of his debts.
The items, which are expected to fetch an estimated £270,000, will go on sale at Bonhams in Chester on October 20.
Best’s brother-in-law, Norman McNarry, told the Belfast Telegraph last night that the family were “devastated” the late sporting great’s prized possessions were being sold off.
But he said they had no power to stop it and were unable to reveal why they were being sold.
“Unfortunately I am not able to go into the specifics,” he said. “I am constrained for legal reasons. It is the executor of George’s will who has put them up for sale to meet the liabilities of George’s estate.
“Now people might be asking themselves why is this only coming to light now, five years after his death, and I absolutely agree with that however that is a question for the executor.”
It is understood a former business partner of Best’s is the executor of the late footballer’s estate.
Mr McNarry, who is married to George’s sister Barbara, said the entire family was “devastated” by the auction.
“We had hoped the trophies would have been available for the Northern Ireland people and for George’s fans from all over the world in the Ulster Sporting museum. We had hoped the trophies would also help with the good work of the George Best Foundation but that is not going to happen.
“We are absolutely devastated and I am extremely angry it has reached this stage but that is how it is — we have no control over it.”
Mr McNarry said he hoped the items would be bought by one person “preferably from Northern Ireland” so the memorabilia can be kept as one collection.