Best backs statue of club legends
Clyde Best believes it is only fitting that a new statue honouring three of his former West Ham United team-mates will be immortalised outside the London Stadium.
The bronze statue will show club legends Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters — who helped England win the World Cup in 1966 — lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.
It will be located outside the Bobby Moore stand and form part of the Premier League club’s 125th anniversary.
A statue of the trio, alongside Ray Wilson, their World Cup-winning team-mate, remains near the club’s former home at Upton Park.
Best, who played alongside Moore, Hurst and Peters from 1968 to 1976, said: “This is something that needs to happen at the London Stadium.
“Those guys not only helped put West Ham on the map, they helped put English football on the map. They deserve it. There was talk of moving the statue outside Upton Park but the people in the area wanted it to stay, which is understandable.”
Best, 69, admits he was in awe of the trio when he arrived at the club as a starry-eyed 17-year-old but soon realised his decorated team-mates were “good people” as well being great players.
“It was a special time; an unbelievable time,” said Best, who scored 47 goals for the East London outfit.
“England had won the World Cup just two years before I got there.
“For a little fellow like me from Bermuda, linking up with those guys and finding out that they’re human just like you, you know, it makes it all the sweeter.
“Not only were they great footballers, they were good people.”
West Ham’s move to the London Stadium in 2016 has not been without its issues, with many supporters critical of the lack of atmosphere at the stadium because of the distance of its seats to the pitch.
Best, however, hopes the statue of Moore, Hurst and Peters will make the stadium feel more like home.
“I always tell people, ‘let’s look forward’,” he said.
“Upton Park was a great stadium at the time and had a wonderful atmosphere, but we’re trying to move on to bigger and better things.
“We’re trying to compete with the bigger clubs and needed to move to a bigger stadium to generate more money.”
Still an avid West Ham fan, Best watched on nervously as the club avoided relegation largely thanks to forward Michail Antonio, who scored eight goals in their final four games.
“Antonio was brilliant all season,” Best added. “He carried us pretty much all by himself after the [Covid-19] lockdown.
“If we can get a few more players like him hopefully we can start doing something. The fans deserve better.”
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