Clyde Best Beaming After West Ham Win

June 8, 2023

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Clyde Best admits he has not stopped smiling since West Ham United’s victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final in Prague last night [June 7].

The former West Ham forward said he is still in dreamland after watching them end their 43-year wait for a major trophy by beating the Italian outfit 2-1 in dramatic fashion.

The game looked to be heading for extra time after Said Benrahma’s second-half penalty was cancelled out five minutes later by Giacomo Bonaventura’s well-taken goal.

However, Jarrod Bowen’s last-minute winner secured West Ham their first piece of silverware since the 1980 FA Cup and a first European trophy since 1965.

“It was a fantastic night for everybody associated with the club,” Best told Bernews.

“I’m so happy. It still makes me feel good to have been part of the club. It’s been 43 years since we last won a trophy, but we’ve finally done it!

“I’ve been thinking about all those players no longer with us who would have been looking down [from heaven] last night. I’m still beaming.”

Best, who attended the semi-final first-leg against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar at the London Stadium, praised Bowen for keeping a cool head to slide the ball home in the 90th minute.

“He’s a brilliant player and has done tremendously well for us,” said Best, who played 221 matches, scoring 58 goals, for West Ham from 1968 to 1976.

“I can’t think of a player I’d rather have in that position late on. If you give him a chance, nine times out of ten, it will end up in the back of the net.”

Declan Rice became only the third West Ham captain to lift a major trophy, following Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds, and will likely leave the club for a substantial transfer fee this summer.

“I talked to Declan when I was last in London and told him I wish he’d stay at the club for a little longer,” Best, 72, said.

“He’s got to do what he has to do for himself and his family. If he does leave, he’ll leave as a winner.

“People come, people go, and we’ve had some great players. People like Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Trevor Brooking, and Billy Bonds. With the money we get [from Rice], we might be able to sign two or three quality players.”

Best said he was also delighted for manager David Moyes, who has been under pressure due to a faltering season in the Premier League during which the club spent much of the time battling relegation.

“I’ve always liked Dave,” Best said. “He’s a down-to-earth man and deserves all the credit because he’s come through some ups and downs this season. That shows you what kind of man he is.”

The Europa Conference League may only be Europe’s third-tier competition, but Best believes anyone dismissing the value of the trophy is missing the point.

“People can say what they like,” he added. “We’ve won a trophy, and people are just jealous. I, for one, will be singing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles!”

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