English Visitor’s Dream Comes True In Bermuda

September 8, 2015

An English football fan’s visit to Bermuda turned out to be the trip of a lifetime, with a local tour guide helping the gentleman to make contact with one of his sports idols – and when legendary footballer Clyde Best heard one of his fans was on the island, he took the time to meet him personally.

Visitor John Carey — a self-professed fan of West Ham and Clyde Best — was enjoying an island excursion with Byways Tours, lead by Ms. Heidi Cowen.

Along the way, Mr. Carey expressed excitement at the idea of getting a photo of himself standing next to the road sign named after Clyde Best, leading Ms. Cowen to arrange a special surprise.

Noting Mr Carey’s enthusiasm for having his photo taken with the Clyde Best road sign, Ms. Cowen decided to call Mr. Best on the phone, surprising Mr. Carey with the opportunity to speak with the footballer.

And then Mr. Best’s own hospitality lead him to take the encounter a step further, going to the visitor’s hotel in order to meet his personally, spending time with Mr Carey, something which the football fan called a “fantastic” and “brilliant” experience.

Mr. Carey with the road named after Mr Best:

john-carey-clyde-best-lane IG

In describing how the events unfolded, Ms. Cowen said, “The one request that John Carey had on the tour was to have his picture taken by a sign – Clyde Best Lane in Somerset.

“He explained to the rest of the bus that he used to watch him play in England for West Ham in the 1970s, had followed his career, and was a huge fan of his.”

Ms Cowen said the tour continued Mr Carey continued to talk about Mr Best, prompting her to actually call Mr Best and explain to him that she was a tour guide, had a guest on the bus that was his “biggest fan” and ask if he would speak to him on the phone.

Initially Mr Carey was stunned to actually be given the chance to speak to his football idol, and by time he finished the phone conversation he had a huge smile on his face, and the rest of the tour bus passengers broke into applause.

During the phone conversation, Mr Best arranged to go to Mr Carey’s hotel and meet him personally, and following the meeting, Mr. Carey said, “We were able to reminisce about his playing days and had a long conversation about the people he played soccer with and who I idolised. He is such a nice man.”

Mr. Carey speaking with Mr. Best on the tour bus:

Upon hearing of the unique meeting, Glenn Jones of the Bermuda Tourism Authority  said, “This really matters because increasingly the BTA is attracting explorers and adventurous like John Carey, the kind of traveler who wants to experience every inch of the island.

“And to know those visitors are going to encounter bend-over-backwards guides like Heidi Cowen and genuinely hospitable people like Mr. Best means Bermuda is offering a vacation experience none of our competitors can match.”

“I tip my hat to the two of them and everyone else who does their part to make the Bermuda experience a life milestone for the people who visit us,” added Mr Jones.

Mr. Carey and Mr. Best:

Untitled-1 clyde best bermuda carey

Mr. Best — one of the top athletes that Bermuda has ever produced — arrived in the UK from Bermuda to play for London club West Ham United in 1968, where he was a stand-out player for the professional team.

He played 218 games and registered 58 goals for West Ham over seven seasons between 1969 and 1976, and remains a well-known figure by football fans around the world.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Left Guard says:

    Great story. Hats off to Ms. Cowen and Mr. Best for giving a visitor an experience he will not forget. That is the Bermuda I remember!

  2. Maggie May says:

    Love that! Thank you Clyde and Heidi for making our visitors welcome.

  3. A says:

    Got the chance to speak with Paddy Crerand last year and after telling him I was from Bermuda the first thing he asked about was West Ham’s hulking striker from the late 60s… Pretty cool to hear him talk about Clyde Best with such good words.

  4. Goose says:


  5. sialar says:

    Great story! Thank you Mr. Best for being such a great ambassador for our island and I hope Mr. Carey had an amazing time while here in Bermuda!

    • My2cents says:

      People ask about Clyde Best all over the world! He is an icon!

      • My2cents says:

        Someone explain to me why he hasn’t been knighted yet!

        • SpinCycle says:

          All the other knights would be jealous of Sir Best of course!

        • Saundra Cowen says:

          My family and I are very proud of Heidi who is as true an ambassador for Bermuda as her father, the late W.A. “Toppy” Cowen was during his lifetime.

          I agree with “My2cents”. The next New Year’s Honours list is being prepared so we are asking to put Mr. Clyde Best’s name forward for the top honour!

          Saundra Cowen
          Kelowna B.C.

  6. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    It’s so wonderful to hear about Bermuda’s best!
    Way to go Mr. Best and Heidi. You do the Island proud.

  7. Man U says:

    Great story, and Thankyou Sir. Clyde!

  8. A Goat says:

    Clyde for Premier!

  9. Gary says:

    This is a brilliant piece.

  10. This and these are true ambassadors for all of us Thank you both. I am sure this will travel far by word of mouth.

  11. Bermy Boi says:

    Good stuff love this. My Island Home

  12. Deirdre Furtado says:

    Heidi, you do Bermuda proud! I am so glad to hear this great story.

  13. Nadia says:

    Proud to be Bermudian!! Bring back the days where we all went above and beyond for each other and for our visitors. Such a wonderful story, it made me a little teary – in a good way, of course!

  14. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Clyde Best …..for The Best …of Bermuda Award,,,,,,,,,,,,,,qudos to all who made it happen….we are all proud of Our Heroes…..quiet shakers and movers …..male and female…..down through the years….moving on …and moving up.

  15. Neal says:

    As a young soccer fan of that time, I recall Clyde’s arrival and his start at West Ham. Remember, this was the time of that other Best, George Best, who at the time, was the biggest thing in UK football. Like many, I wondered if Clyde had someone changed his name as a publicity stunt. I soon learned that it really was his real name. I also remember the appalling conditions under which Clyde played, getting abuse from even his own team’s fans. It never appeared to bother him, but I’m sure he felt it inside. I’ve come to view Clyde as a true sporting hero, along with a handful of others like him, having paved the way for racial tolerance in the UK. While all this is very real, I don’t want it to outshine his ability as a great footballer. Hat’s off to you, Sir!

  16. Goatygav says:

    Heart warming. Loved reading this and watching the video of the phone call. You could almost touch Mr Carey’s joy. Fantastic :D !