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Saturday, October 10, 2020
Best: One of the First Black Role Models in English Football

Harry Redknapp tells the story of Clyde Best, a teenager from Bermuda who joined West Ham in the 1960s and went on to become the most prominent black player in English football.

The story has appeared on BBC, reliving memories of what Best faced during his time at West Ham United.

At a time when overt racism was abundant, and as the only black player for West Ham, Best endured numerous racist incidents. He suffered through racist chanting while on the field, monkey chanting, and the hurling of bananas and peanuts at the pitch.

Best said, “Bobby Moore was a great help, as was Harry Redknapp, Billy Bonds - they would encourage me to keep going and told me not to let them get under my skin.

"They also told me how brave I was and that they would have packed it in. But I felt I had a calling, so to speak, something I always wanted to do, and nobody was going to stop me doing it.

"The most important thing was I had to think about all the people of color working in England at the time and by seeing me on TV or the newspapers I inspired them.

"When I look at the game now there are more players of color than anybody else. The game belongs to everybody, not just one group of people. It doesn't matter what color you are, the ball doesn't care."

Best was speaking to Sporting Witness on the BBC World Service.

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