Riddle of 48-year-old George Best letter found on street

A PROPHETIC letter from George Best's father to the News of the World has mysteriously turned up in Sligo.

The letter, which was handwritten by Dick Best just days after his son made his debut for Manchester United in 1963, outlines how the Best family hoped George would "perform with credit as well as distinction on the playing field."

Best, who went on to become one of the greatest players in the world, made his debut for United against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on September 14th, 1963. It appears from the correspondence between the player's father and the News of the World that the reporter who covered the game for the paper, Reg Drury, subsequently wrote to the Best family in Belfast, enclosing a letter and a newspaper article.

On September 22nd, 1963, Dick Best replied to Mr. Drury and it is this letter which has been discovered in Sligo. In the letter, Mr. Best thanks the journalist for his 'kind letter' and enclosed newspaper article and adds "your courtesy speaks highly of our Press". "The boy himself has been football mad from when he could toddle and if keeness means anything he has that, and we hope he performs with credit as well as distinction on the playing field. Once again, many thanks and best wishes to you in your own field, and may success attend you." The letter is signed by R. Best. The letter was found on the street at John F. Kennedy Parade in Sligo by local man, Michael Waugh, in 2001.

Mr. Waugh subsequently moved to America for some years before returning to live in Sligo.

He had forgotten all about the letter until he was clearing out some old items in his home last week and came across the correspondence. The letter and an envelope, stamped and addressed to Mr. Reg Drury, c/o News of the World, 30 Bouverie St, Fleet St. London, are still in mint condition.

Mr. Waugh has no idea how the letter ended up in Sligo.