George Best treasures found in vault

Published Monday, 01 September 2014
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The family of late footballing icon George Best say they want priceless memorabilia recently recovered from a bank vault in London to be displayed in a sporting museum in Northern Ireland.

Norman McNarry, Best's brother-in-law, who is co-founder and trustee at the George Best foundation, now possesses the items that were in storage for more than a decade.

A trunk full of treasures belonging to the late Manchester United player include trophies, football shirts, Northern Ireland caps and the first pair of football boots his parents bought him as a young teen.

It was only a couple of years later that the Belfast boy was snapped up by a football scout aged 15.

"He has written on the side of these boots, all of the goals that he scored in various matches. It meant a lot to George and that's why he stored his stuff away," Norman added.

"It's very pertinent that he sold a lot of the more valuable trophies, but these things obviously meant something to him."

Capped 37 times for Northern Ireland, Best scored nine international goals during a career which began while he was still at school.

The footballing icon battled with alcoholism and died in 2005 aged 59. Over 100,000 mourners turned out in Belfast for his funeral.

Now that they have recovered the items, the family are reiterating their call for a sporting museum to be established in Northern Ireland, so the items can be shared with the public.

"I've been on the committee at the Ulster sporting museum for a long period of time and we've been working at the task of getting a museum somewhere in Northern Ireland," Norman commented.

"If you consider the amount of sporting stars this small province has produced and there's nowhere that all of their achievements can be commemorated and celebrated.

"So we would be of the opinion that if we can get this Ulster sporting museum up and running that it would be a good home for some of the trophies that Barbara [George's sister] and I have of George's legacy."

Another local sporting legend, Dame Mary Peters, is supporting the campaign for a sporting museum.

The 1972 Olympic medal winner said: "We've been a small committee for a number of years, working to try and inspire somebody to come forward with funding or to give us a building in the city centre so that we could display all the wonderful memorabilia and to tell the story of our past to inspire future generations.

"We were very excited by the prospect of having those to put on display when we realise our dream of having a sports museum.

"We've had so much success in sport over the years, wouldn't it be a pity if all that is lost to history."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Wolfe Hound in Belfast wrote (152 days ago):
Who care's? I don't. He was a good footballer for a short while. So what. He had it all and threw it away, so we name a airport after him. What kind of message is that to kids? George was better known as a drunk than a footballer. Wasting 2 livers is his only achievement. We named an airport after a drunk brilliant example to the next generation coming up. Waste your life and we'll name something after you. There are Nobel Prize winners from here but no go for the drunk.
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