Nottingham

Footballer Tommy Lawton's begging letters sell for £460

letters Image copyright International Autograph Auctions
Image caption Letters between Lawton and Lord Attenborough were expected to fetch up to £300 at auction

Letters between footballer Tommy Lawton and actor Richard Attenborough - in which the retired striker "begged" for money - have sold for £460.

Lawton rose to fame before World War Two and was widely regarded as the greatest centre forward of his era.

But the most he earned was £15 a week and the striker, who played for Notts County, Arsenal and Chelsea, struggled financially after retiring in 1955.

Blues fan Attenborough replied with a cheque of £100.

Image copyright International Autograph Auctions
Image caption The pair's friendship appeared to turn sour after Lawton apparently failed to pay Attenborough £10 for two FA Cup tickets provided in 1971

The letters went under the hammer at Nottingham-based International Autograph Auctions on Saturday.

Auctioneer Richard Davie called the correspondence "very poignant".

Lawton had asked the actor and director for £250 - about £3,700 today.

"This is a sad letter for me to write, Dickie, after so many years," one letter from Lawton reads.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tommy Lawton scored 231 goals, including 22 for England in 23 international appearances

"Could you let me have a loan of £250 to be repaid in the course of 1 year. I would not ask if it wasn't so urgent and lose your friendship, but all I need is time.

"Please, Dickie, please help me. If you cannot see your way to do so, don't think too badly of me."

The pair's relationship went downhill when Lawton seemingly failed to pay Attenborough £10 for two FA Cup tickets he provided in 1971.

The letters show Lawton - described by Attenborough as "the greatest centre forward" he had ever seen play for England - had later asked for help getting a job with singer Adam Faith, who had started a furnishing firm.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Richard Attenborough, who was made a life peer in 1993, served on the board of Chelsea Football Club from 1969 to 1982. He died aged 90 in 2014

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