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Monday 27 March 2017

Calum Best in court threat over sale of dad's trophies

Fergus Black and Michael McHugh

George Best's son has threatened High Court action after revealing a deepening family rift over the sale of his father's soccer memorabilia.

Calum Best (29) hit out at his aunt Barbara McNarry after the Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer's trophies and mementoes were auctioned off for more than €227,000 to help pay off his father's debts.

Last night, the legendary player's brother-in-law Norman McNarry described the row as "extremely sad" and said they were sorry that Calum felt that the disagreement should lead to a threat of court action.

"However, I must reiterate that we are not the ones who put the memorabilia up for sale. We had no control over that. It was the executor of the will who put the items up for sale to meet the outstanding debts of the estate," he told the Irish Independent.

"Calum is perfectly entitled to his own view, but unfortunately at this time we are constrained legally by what we can say."

In a statement earlier this week, Barbara McNarry rejected criticism of the sale as "inaccurate, offensive and heart- breaking".

"It has also been made quite clear that the selling of George's memorabilia was a decision made by the executor of the will and sadly was beyond my financial control," she said.

Unique

"Calum is fortunate to be in possession of a unique piece of George's memorabilia. I have been left in a position that, despite being the primary beneficiary of my brother's will, I am left with very little to remember him by except for fond memories of a very special and much-loved brother."

Calum's father left him an expensive watch in his will. They lived apart for much of his life as his US-based mother Angie split from the footballer because of his heavy drinking.

Calum has spoken of his concerns over the McNarrys' action.

"I'd thought perhaps she hadn't been in touch to give me my birthright because she was waiting to see how my life was turning out," he said.

"But I didn't even know about the auction of my dad's things. My mum saw it on the news. My father never gave me a cent my whole life.

"Norman has said that he and Barbara are going to the court to make sure everything to do with my father is theirs, his name, his image, everything. Well, I'm going to do the same thing.

"This is my legacy, these are my heirlooms. How can Barbara not see how I feel as his son? She may have no legal obligation to share my father's estate with me but surely she must feel a moral obligation?"

The most coveted item of the 13 lots put up for sale by Best's estate, his 1968 European Cup winner's medal, fetched a staggering €177,000 after being snapped up by a private European buyer.

A replica of the medal, which Best misplaced, was sold for €10,224, while a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, given to Best in 2002, went for €8,860.

Other important lots sold included a limited edition George Best Faberge egg, which commemorated the part Best played in the 1968 victory over Benfica, which went for €28,621; the 2000 'Belfast Telegraph' Hall of Fame award which went for €5,452; a Northern Ireland match shirt worn by Best in November 1973 which sold for €6,814.

Also auctioned were his 2000 International Hall of Champions award which went for €4,497 and the Freedom of Castlereagh award which sold for €5,179.

Irish Independent

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