George Best’s family battle ex-wife to stop memorabilia sale
Published 16/02/2012 | 05:00
THE family of George Best have launched a legal battle to stop his ex-wife selling a rare collection of his memorabilia.
More than 50 lots are set to go under the hammer at an auction next week, but the Best family have started legal proceedings to prevent it going ahead.
The items have been put up for sale by Best's ex-wife Alex.
But the heartbroken family of the east Belfast football legend say the items are not hers to sell and are seeking an injunction to stop the auction.
The collection of artefacts is expected to raise upwards of £20,670 (e25,000) if the sale goes ahead.
They are due to go under the hammer next Wednesday at Bonhams Auctioneers in Chester if the family's legal proceedings fail.
The Best items form one section of a wider sale of sports memorabilia and were expected to generate a lot of interest among fans and collectors alike.
Among the items up for grabs are an old passport and two of the famous red-leather bound 'This is Your Life' books, dating from 1971 and 1993.
The Freedom of Castlereagh, which Best received in 2002, is also listed in the catalogue, as well as a signed autobiography, leather jackets, and limited edition trainers signed by the football legend. But Best's family say these items belong to the footballers estate and his ex-wife cannot legally sell them.
George's brother-in-law, Norman McNarry, said the family had been in talks with solicitors yesterday and had launched legal proceedings against the former model.
"An injunction is being raised to prevent the sale of the items which are up for auction and clearly, under the terms of the divorce settlement, belong to the (George Best) estate," he said.
"Barbara and I are absolutely determined to preserve these items for the future and for those people who consider George to be an outstanding football player and one of the most famous people to come out of Northern Ireland. We are extremely sad that it has come to this; however, we are faced with having no choice."
A decision on whether the injunction will be granted is expected today.
Mr McNarry said the family had been left hurt by Ms Best's decision to put the memorabilia up for sale.
"We are sad because in our opinion -- and it's something that will be challenged before the courts -- the items are not hers to sell, but the ownership rests with the estate," he said.
Paul Tweed, from Johnsons Solicitors who represent the executor of the George Best estate, confirmed it had launched legal proceedings.
Ms Best failed to return messages yesterday.