Belfast Telegraph

Best’s sister’s devastation at selling his prized assets

by Fiona Rutherford

George Best’s sister Barbara McNarry spoke of her ongoing sense of loss on the fifth anniversary of the soccer star’s death on November 25.

She also talked about her devastation at having to sell off some of George’s trophies to meet his estate’s debts.

Despite that, Mrs McNarry was able to supply the Manchester United Museum at Old Trafford with a new display of the football legend’s memorabilia to mark the anniversary of his passing.

The exhibits, which will be on display for several months, include the trophy presented to George when he was picked by football writers as Footballer of The Year in 1968.

And there is the jersey swapped with Benfica winger Antonio Simoes after United beat the Portuguese side 4-1 in the European Cup final at Wembley in 1968... a match in which George produced one of his most scintillating performances.

There is a Pat Jennings connection to the exhibition... a pair of George’s boots that lay in Pat’s roofspace for over 30 years after a Northern Ireland game.

But the memorabilia also includes several personal items that were kept by the footballer’s father, Dickie, who died in April 2008 at the age of 88.

There are seven letters written to Dickie and his wife Anne during George’s early days at Manchester United. He describes his progress at the club and the “fabulous experience” of coming out of the Old Trafford tunnel and on to the pitch for the first time.

Mrs McNarry, secretary of the George Best Foundation, said: “The interest in George hasn’t diminished over the years and I am delighted that the exhibition will run at the museum for at least several months.

“The display also includes medals and trophies won by George at Cregagh Boys Club more than 50 years ago. Among many other items are a youth international cap, a Northern Ireland jersey and a Freedom of Castlereagh solid silver cap presented to him in April 2002.”

Other George Best items raised almost £200,000 at an auction in Chester last month.

Mrs McNarry added: “I am still absolutely devastated that the executor had to arrange the sale of George’s trophies and memorabilia, which hold so many memories for me and his supporters throughout the world.

“Unfortunately, however, there was no option because of the financial status of the estate.

“We now look forward to continuing the vital work of the George Best Foundation in funding research into illnesses associated with alcohol misuse, and investing in young people to encourage a healthier lifestyle.”

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