The Acid Test a real Best seller

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  • Well read: Best signs copies of his book at Brown and Co (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Well read: Best signs copies of his book at Brown and Co (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

It may be 40 years old but Clyde Best’s West Ham story is still one many people want to read about, judging by local book sales.

Best’s recently published book, The Acid Test, which chronicles his life as a professional footballer at West Ham United between 1968 and 1976, is selling very well at local bookstore Brown & Co, second only to Jonathan Smith’s Island Flames among local titles.

“It’s doing phenomenally well,” Martin Buckley, the department manager, said. “It was our second biggest selling local title of 2016, which is incredible since it only arrived just before Christmas. We’re now on our third order from the UK publisher.

“We sold out just before Christmas and were taking orders from people. We made Christmas cards up so people could give that and say ‘a copy of your book is on its way’, so people wouldn’t be too disappointed. It’s really been huge, fantastic for him. Island Flames has been our best selling title for the second year in a row, but The Acid Test was not far behind.

“We’ve got a large amount of books coming this time from the UK, each time we’ve upped the order and people still want it. Yes, we’ve sold it to people who remember him playing, but we’ve also sold it to a lot of youngsters who aspire to follow in his footsteps, or who want to learn from his story. It’s not just a football book, but a story about him overcoming adversity and pushing through to get what he wanted.”

Best was recently back in London for book signings at his old club and another at a bookstore close to Upton Park where it all began for him.

“It went great, we were happy with the reception [at the book signing], they did a great job for us,” Best said.

Best saw two matches at the London Stadium — which played host to the 2012 Olympic Games — when West Ham played Hull City and Burnley and likes the new home ground, although it has been an adjustment for the players and fans.

“The stadium is great and for those who say they can’t play in the new stadium something is wrong,” Best said. “It’s a beautiful stadium, I wish we had something to play in like that when we were coming along. It was also good to see a lot of friends I hadn’t seen for years and years.”

He also drove by the Boleyn Ground, which he says is going to be converted into a shopping mall and apartments. “In the long run we’re going to be better off at the new stadium because there is more income, about 30,000 more [capacity],” Best said. “We’re averaging 50,000 every game, it’s only about 20 minutes down the street from Upton Park.”

While there Best also got to see two Bermudian youngsters now at the club, Djair Parfitt-Williams and Nathan Trott, who are hoping to follow in his footsteps. Parfitt-Williams was actually recommended to the club by Best a couple of years ago, while Trott, a goalkeeper, just signed a 3˝ year contract with the club last month.

“I had a talk with them and they both seem to be doing very well,” said the former striker who netted 47 goals in 186 games for the East London club.

“They rate them highly so they just have to be patient and take their chance when it comes. I didn’t see them play, when I was there the Under-21s were away at Wolves and the Under-20s had a break for the Christmas period.

“Everything is there for them, lovely facilities, good training and the people treat them well. It’s up to them, when the opportunity comes, to produce. From what people are telling me, I think they both can. They both have demonstrated they have the right temperament.”

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