Leon Best

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Leon Best
Personal information
Full name Leon Julian Brendan Best[1]
Date of birth (1986-09-19) 19 September 1986 (age 30)
Place of birth Nottingham, England
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) [2]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Ipswich Town
Number 9
Youth career
2002–2004 Notts County
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2007 Southampton 15 (4)
2004–2005 Queens Park Rangers (loan) 5 (0)
2005 Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 2 (1)
2006 Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 11 (1)
2006 Bournemouth (loan) 15 (3)
2006–2007 Yeovil Town (loan) 15 (10)
2007–2010 Coventry City 92 (19)
2010–2012 Newcastle United 42 (10)
2012–2015 Blackburn Rovers 13 (2)
2014 Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 15 (4)
2014–2015 Derby County (loan) 15 (0)
2015 Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 13 (0)
2015–2016 Rotherham United 16 (4)
2016– Ipswich Town 8 (0)
National team
2002 Republic of Ireland U17 2 (0)
2005 Republic of Ireland U19 1 (1)
2008 Republic of Ireland U21 1 (0)
2009–2010 Republic of Ireland 7 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:20, 15 November 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:17, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Leon Julian Brendan Best (born 19 September 1986) is a professional footballer who plays as a striker for Ipswich Town. He has played for the Republic of Ireland national football team. Best represented Ireland at under-21 level and won his first full international cap against Nigeria on 29 May 2009. Best had a youth career at Notts County. His first professional club was then Premier League club Southampton. He has also played for Coventry City and Newcastle United before his 2012 move to Blackburn Rovers.

Early life[edit]

Best was born on 19 September 1986 in Nottingham, England. He opted to play football for his mother's country, Ireland, while in his teens.[3]

Club career[edit]

Southampton[edit]

As a young player, Best started his career at Notts County before being signed as a trainee by then Premier League club Southampton. He made his professional debut against Newcastle United on his 18th birthday in 2004. A loan spell at Queens Park Rangers followed later in the 2004–05 season.

He was a member of Southampton's youth team that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2005, losing on aggregate to Ipswich Town.

Best also had two loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday in the 2005–06 season, scoring his first professional goal and Wednesday's first of the season on 9 August 2005 at Hillsborough against Hull City. The first loan spell was cut short in the same match when Best broke his foot and returned to St. Mary's after only 5 days in Sheffield. After recovering with Southampton, Best then returned to Hillsborough at the end of the January transfer window (though there was also speculation he would go to Crystal Palace) where he remained until the end of the season, scoring Wednesday's last goal of the season at Derby County on 30 April 2006.

On 3 August 2006 Best joined Football League One club Bournemouth on a month-long loan deal with an option to extend his stay.[4] He returned to Southampton at the end of October at the end of the maximum 3-month loan spell, having made 15 league appearances, scoring 3 goals.

On 23 November 2006, he joined his team-mate Martin Cranie on loan to Yeovil Town until 22 February 2007.[5]

After his loan spells, Best returned to play a role in Southampton's qualification for the Championship play-offs, where they faced Derby County. He came on as a substitute in the first leg at St Marys, which Southampton lost 2–1. In the second leg Best started alongside on-loan striker Marek Saganowski. The game ended in a tie on aggregate, with Best scoring an own goal which levelled the score at 2–2 on the night. Southampton lost 4–3 in the ensuing penalty shootout, with Best missing the opening penalty.[citation needed]

Coventry City[edit]

On 5 July 2007, he joined Coventry City[6] for a fee of £650,000 decided by a tribunal,[7] with the fee increasing were Coventry to gain promotion to the Premiership by 2010. Following a cheekbone fracture at the end of 2008, Best took his place in the team wearing a protective mask. His return led him scoring three goals in successive matches and consequently gaining a reputation for wearing a "Besty" mask, even after he had recovered from his injury and earning the nickname "Zorro".[8] His distinctive mask became somewhat of a talisman for Coventry City fans, many of whom took to wearing similar masks in the stands as a tribute to Best.[9] On 3 October 2009 he was named Championship Player of the Month for September.

Newcastle United[edit]

He signed for Newcastle United on 1 February 2010 for a fee of £1,500,000 on a three and a half year contract.[10][11] Best made his debut against Cardiff City at St James' Park on 5 February 2010. Best failed to make an impact in his first season at Newcastle as he failed to find a goal and was put behind on form strike duo Andy Carroll and Peter Løvenkrands.

Best netted his first goal for Newcastle in a pre-season friendly against Carlisle United on 17 July 2010,[12] followed by his second goal for the club in the pre-season Sir Bobby Robson tribute match against PSV Eindhoven on 31 July 2010.[13] However Best then received a cruciate injury during pre-season causing him to miss the first few months of the 2010–11 season.[citation needed] He was back in light training by the end of September and was on the bench for Newcastle's 1–1 draw with Chelsea on 28 November, but did not make an appearance. He made his comeback in Newcastle's 1–0 victory against Wigan Athletic on 2 January 2011, appearing as a late substitute for Shola Ameobi.[14] Best made his first Premier League start for Newcastle in a home 5–0 win against West Ham United on 5 January 2011, scoring a hat-trick in the process, his first league goals for the club.[15] He was injured prior to the Stoke away game on 19 March and was ruled out until the end of the season. However, Best had scored six goals in 10 starts.

On 28 August 2011, he scored two goals against Fulham to give Newcastle a 2–1 victory followed by the equalizer in the 1–1 draw with Aston Villa, extending the Magpies unbeaten run to eight games in the English Premier League.[citation needed]

Best then ended a run of 12 games without a goal by scoring the winner in Newcastle's 1–0 win over Queens Park Rangers.[16]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

On 2 July 2012, Best signed for Blackburn Rovers on a four-year contract for a fee of more than £3 million.[17][18] Less than a month after signing for Blackburn Rovers, he suffered an injury to his anterior cruciate ligaments, ruling him out for at least six months.[19]

Best scored his first league goal in the 89th minute, when he volleyed in a Chris Taylor cross for Blackburn when he came on as a first-half substitute for the injured Ruben Rochina in a 1–1 draw with Derby County at Pride Park on 4 August 2013.[20]

Best was released by Rovers on 8 July 2015 by mutual consent.[21]

Loan spells[edit]

On 14 February 2014, he was loaned out by Rovers to their SkyBet Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday, this was to be his third spell with the Yorkshire club having previously been on loan at Hillsborough in 2005 and 2006. He scored his first goal in his third spell at the club in a 2–1 FA Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic on 24 February 2014.[22] On 14 March 2014, Best extended his loan with the Owls until the end of the 2013–14 season.[23] Best scored his first league goal of his third spell with the owls on 15 March 2014, helping with a 4–1 victory over Birmingham City.

On 4 August 2014, Best was sent to Derby County on a season-long loan.[24] He returned to Blackburn at the end of his loan spell with Derby before joining Brighton & Hove Albion on loan. He made thirteen appearances without scoring for Brighton before returning to Blackburn.[25]

Rotherham United[edit]

Best joined Rotherham United on 16 November 2015 until the end of the season.[26]

On 12 March 2016, Best led an astonishing fight back against promotion chasing Derby County at New York Stadium. Coming on as a second-half substitute with his team losing 3–0, he saw his team mate Danny Ward score in the 82nd minute then scored two goals in the 88th and 90th minutes.[27] On 3 June 2016, Best left the club, having failed to agree terms on a new contract.[28]

Ipswich Town[edit]

Best joined Ipswich Town on 30 August 2016.[29]

International career[edit]

Best qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland through his mother, who is from Bluebell, Dublin. He also lived in Dublin from the age of seven, playing for Lourdes Celtic before returning to Nottingham.[30]

Having already represented the Republic of Ireland firstly at under-17 level in 2002 and later at under-21 level in 2008, Best was called up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad for the first time for the games against Nigeria and then the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria in May 2009.[31] He made his debut on 29 May against Nigeria in a match that finished in a 1–1 draw.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Best's sister had a baby with Jamaica international footballer, Wes Morgan.[33]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 7 May 2016.[34]
Club statistics
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Southampton 2004–05 Premier League 3 0 0 0 2 0 5 0
2005–06 Championship 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
2006–07 Championship 9 4 0 0 0 0 2[a] 0 11 4
Total 17 4 0 0 2 0 2 0 21 4
Queens Park Rangers (loan) 2004–05 Championship 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 2005–06 Championship 13 2 0 0 0 0 13 2
Bournemouth (loan) 2006–07 League One 15 3 0 0 1 0 1[b] 0 17 3
Yeovil Town (loan) 2006–07 League One 15 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 10
Coventry City 2007–08 Championship 34 8 3 0 3 1 40 9
2008–09 Championship 31 2 4 2 0 0 35 4
2009–10 Championship 27 9 2 1 0 0 29 10
Total 92 19 9 3 3 1 104 23
Newcastle United 2009–10 Championship 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
2010–11 Premier League 11 6 1 0 0 0 12 6
2011–12 Premier League 18 4 2 0 1 0 21 4
Total 42 10 3 0 1 0 46 10
Blackburn Rovers 2012–13 Championship 6 0 2 0 0 0 8 0
2013–14 Championship 8 2 0 0 0 0 8 2
2014–15 Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 14 2 2 0 0 0 16 2
Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 2013–14 Championship 15 4 1 1 0 0 16 5
Derby County (loan) 2014–15 Championship 15 0 1 0 4 0 20 0
Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 2014–15 Championship 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
Rotherham United 2015–16 Championship 16 4 0 0 0 0 16 4
Career total 270 58 16 4 11 1 3 0 300 63

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Newcastle United

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Premier League clubs submit squad lists". premierleague.com. Premier League. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Coventry City star Leon Best wants an Irish call up". Sunday Mercury. 25 October 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Cherries sign Best and Ainsworth". bbc.co.uk. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2006. 
  5. ^ "The loan arranger". saintsfc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2006. 
  6. ^ "Simply the Best". ccfc.premiumtv.co.uk. Retrieved 5 July 2007. 
  7. ^ "Best fee set". www.saintsfc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 March 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  8. ^ MacAskill, Sandy (7 March 2009). "Leon Best aims to be masked marvel for Coventry against Chelsea in FA Cup". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 28 January 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  9. ^ FA Cup coverage. ITV 7 March 2009.
  10. ^ "Leon Best profile". Newcastle United FC. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Newcastle sign striker Leon Best from Coventry". BBC Sport. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Carlisle United 0 Newcastle United 3". Newcastle United FC. 17 July 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "NUFC 2-PSV 2". Newcastle United FC. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (2 January 2011). "Wigan 0 – 1 Newcastle". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (5 January 2011). "Newcastle 5 – 0 West Ham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Newcastle United 1–0 QPR". BBC News. 15 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Best becomes Rovers second summer signing 2012". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "Leon Best fee may well go up to £3million". ChronicleLive.co.uk. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Blackburn's Leon Best out for six months with knee injury". BBC. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  20. ^ Cryer, Andy (4 August 2013). "Derby 1 – 1 Blackburn 1". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Blackburn Rovers and Leon Best confirm the player's departure from the club by mutual agreement.". rovers.co.uk. 
  22. ^ "Sheff Wed 1–2 Charlton". BBC. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Best extends". Sheffield Wednesday FC. 14 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Derby County Sign Striker Leon Best On Loan From Blackburn Rovers". Derby County F.C. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  25. ^ "New deals for Calderon and Ankergren". Brighton & Hove Albion FC. 24 April 2015. 
  26. ^ "Leon Best: Rotherham United sign striker until end of the season". BBC Sport. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "Rotherham United 3 Derby County 3". BBC Sport. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  28. ^ Davis, Paul (3 June 2016). "Rotherham United: Best and Eaden leave as Stubbs targets new recruits". Johnston Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "LEON JOINS TOWN". 30 August 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  30. ^ Irish Mail on Sunday, 6 February 2011.
  31. ^ "Lawrence handed Republic call-up". BBC Sport. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  32. ^ McCaig, Alvin (29 May 2009). "Rep of Ireland 1 – 1 Nigeria". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  33. ^ "Leon Best roars: Bring on Nottingham Forest". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  34. ^ "L. Best on Soccerway". Soccerway. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 

External links[edit]