Belfast Telegraph

Calum Best's 'triumph' at reclaiming dad's World Cup watch following bankruptcy

Calum Best at the celebrity football match at the National Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast
Calum Best at the celebrity football match at the National Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast
Calum Best

Calum Best celebrated "a very special day" seven years after bankruptcy cost him his most prized possession - his father's watch.

When Northern Ireland and Manchester United football legend George Best died in 2005, the only belonging he left to his son in his will was an engraved commemorative watch from the 1994 World Cup.

But when money woes hit, the 38-year-old was forced to surrender the £75,000 Jean Lassel timepiece when he declared bankruptcy in October 2013. He said it was one of the lowest points in his life but that it spurred him on to transform his life.

On Friday Calum revealed he had been reunited with the prized possession.

In a post on social media, he shared pictures of the 18k gold piece, and its engraving: "Specially assembled for George Best. World Cup '94".

Calum wrote: "Seven years ago after many years of the lowest points of my life I went bankrupt. I remember on the lead up to this thinking I wasn’t gonna make it to 30.

Very special day for me today ! 7 years ago after many years of the lowest points of my life I went bankrupt . I...

Posted by Calum Best on Thursday, October 10, 2019

"This point was a huge catalyst to change my thoughts and the way I lived my life from masking my pain to living a fuller, healthier, happy life.

"I was devastated. My bankruptcy led to an insolvency agent taking the only belonging my dad left me in his will, his watch, to sell.

"After many years of a new lifestyle and way of thinking, today I was able to get my dad's watch back. Trouble to triumph."

Calum filed for bankruptcy after his "reckless" lifestyle left him unable to pay a tax bill.

“I was blessed to earn a large amount of money at a young age, and mistakes have come with that. But also lessons learned,” he told The Sun at the time.

He added: “I can confirm I have made the decision to declare myself bankrupt as a result of being unable to make tax repayments.

“I have tried to pursue alternative methods, but sadly my application for IVA (individual voluntary arrangement to avoid bankruptcy) was rejected on three occasions.

George Best with Calum as a child
George Best with Calum as a child

“I feel as though this decision is the most constructive option.”

At the time, a spokesperson for Calum said it marked "a clean slate" and the "beginning of a new chapter in his life".

When George died, his estate, which was estimated to be just over £500,000 before liabilities, was left to his sister, Barbara McNarry.

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