Clyde Best

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Clyde Best
Ex-West Ham United footballer Clyde Best, Boleyn Ground Aug 2012.jpg
Best at West Ham United's Boleyn Ground, in August 2012
Personal information
Full name Clyde Cyril Best MBE
Date of birth (1951-02-24) 24 February 1951 (age 72)
Place of birth Somerset, Bermuda
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
Somerset Trojans
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1976 West Ham United 186 (47)
1975Tampa Bay Rowdies (loan) 19 (6)
1976 Tampa Bay Rowdies (indoor) 4 (7)
1976 Tampa Bay Rowdies 19 (9)
1977–1981 Portland Timbers 118 (38)
1977–1978 Feyenoord 23 (3)
1979–1980 Cleveland Force (indoor) 30 (33)
1980–1981 Portland Timbers (indoor) 6 (2)
1981–1982 Toronto Blizzard 22 (2)
1981–1982 Toronto Blizzard (indoor) 18 (3)
1982–1984 Los Angeles Lazers (indoor) 90 (29)
International career
1968 Bermuda 2 (1[1])
Managerial career
1997–1999 Bermuda
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Clyde Cyril Best OBE (born 24 February 1951) is a Bermudian former football player. He was one of the first black players in First Division football in England, scoring 47 goals as a striker for West Ham United between 1968 and 1976.

Early and personal life[edit]

Best moved from Bermuda to England at the age of 17, to play for West Ham United. Upon his arrival he was looked after by club captain Bobby Moore.[2] He has credited Moore and fellow West Ham players Harry Redknapp and Billy Bonds with helping him deal with racist abuse.[2]

Playing career[edit]

As one of England's first black footballers, Best was regularly targeted with racist chanting from the terraces,[3] but eventually became a fan favourite at Upton Park. He was a strong, powerful player with the skills of the traditional English centre forward, tough to dispossess when he had the ball and good in the air. He made his debut for West Ham United in a 1–1 home draw against Arsenal on 25 August 1969 at the age of 18. His first goal for the Hammers came during League Cup competition, in a 4–2 win against Halifax Town, on 3 September 1969. In 1973 Best deputised for an injured Bobby Ferguson in goal against Leeds United.[4] Best played 218 games and registered 58 goals for West Ham over 7 seasons between August 1969 and January 1976.[5]

Best also played in the Dutch Eredivisie for Feyenoord where he was generally viewed as a failure, scoring only 3 goals in 23 matches,[6] and in the United States for Tampa Bay Rowdies, Toronto Blizzard and Portland Timbers of the North American Soccer League. While playing for Tampa Bay in Soccer Bowl '75, he scored an 88th-minute goal to secure the Rowdies' first NASL championship in a 2–0 victory over Portland Timbers.[7] The following spring he led the Rowdies to the 1976 indoor title and was named tournament MVP.[8] He was the Rowdies leading scorer for the brief 1976 indoor season with 11 goals, 5 assists for 27 points.[9]

Managerial career[edit]

Best was an assistant coach for the San Diego Sockers for a brief period in the early 1990s.[10] Best coached the Bermuda national team from 1997 to 1999.

Later life[edit]

After his coaching career finished he retired back to Bermuda.[2]


Best was inducted into the Bermuda National Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded an MBE in the 2006 New Year Honours list for services to football and the community in Bermuda.[11][12]


  1. ^ " – FIFA Player Statistics: Clyde BEST". Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "How an FA Cup night out soured Moore's West Ham career" – via
  3. ^ Martin Polley (11 September 2002). Moving the Goalposts: A History of Sport and Society in Britain since 1945. Routledge. pp. 157–. ISBN 978-1-134-76688-8.
  4. ^ "Emergency Measures | Outfield Players Who Went in Goal | Goalkeepers Are Different".
  5. ^ "The Wonderful World of West Ham United statistics Clyde Best". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Miskopen – De grootste missers uit de Feyenoordgeschiedenis | The worst buys in Feyenoord's history (Dutch)". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Image: 1975-8-24+Soccer+Bowl+Report+2.jpg, (1583 × 908 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Image: 1976-3-27+Rowdies+vs+Lancers+id+Final+Report.jpg, (656 × 920 px)". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  9. ^ Gurney, Jack (28 March 1976). "Rowdies Win NASL Indoor Crown 6–4". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 1D. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Clyde Best Football Bio Bermuda :". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  11. ^ Determined to look the part, Best went into a swish London outfitters to buy a top hat. He was somewhat taken aback to find out it would cost him £500, but, unwilling to go incorrectly dressed to his investiture, paid up – only to have it confiscated on his arrival at the Palace as a security risk page (S5, Sports section Sunday Telegraph issue no 2,428 dated 23 December 2007)
  12. ^ United Kingdom:"No. 57855". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 31 December 2005. p. 24.

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