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The days when loyalty meant more than money

Clyde Best might have been wearing a wry smile this week as he was talking to The Royal Gazette about the possible transfer from Nahki Wells from Bradford City to QPR — a move that could still materialise despite denials from both clubs.In the 1960s when he was playing alongside some of England’s World Cup stars — Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst — there was little, if any, talk about money, transfers, wages or agents.Loyalty to the club and the fans was always a priority. Those diehard fans would admire, if not worship, their footballing heroes, particularly the big Bermudian who had adapted so well to his surroundings and the bravery he displayed in the face of racial taunts.Returning to the club a couple of years ago he was given a standing ovation, not only from the older, but also many of the younger supporters, who were aware of his legacy when introduced to the crowd.In Best’s days, if players left the club it almost amounted to treason. Most did only towards the end of their career.There was just one substitute (a reserve) who only got on the pitch when another broke a leg or couldn’t walk.Loyalty meant everything — perhaps that’s why Clyde always refers to ‘my club’ whenever he writes in his column about the Hammers.Clyde’s old friend, QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who has been keeping an eye on Wells, and once provided the crosses from which Best thundered the ball into the net, probably feels the same way.Should Nahki move, Clyde will be the first to congratulate him.But he’ll likely take another trip down memory lane and wonder what might have been had he born in a different era.Certainly he wouldn’t be working in Westgate where he had worked in recent years.The former West Ham striker will have been shaking his head this week, hearing the news that Real Madrid were pondering a $125 million bid for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.Could any player, even Lionel Messi, be worth so much no matter his quality? It’s absurd.That’ll be more than the combined earnings of all the clubs in the three divisions below the English Premier League.But that’s the way the game has progressed (some might say digressed).Nobody would begrudge Wells’ success because he’s got where he is now through sheer perseverance.He’s been a quick learner, taken on board the advice offered by coaches and older players and appears to be improving almost every game.But as Phil Parkinson, the Bradford manager, continues to stress, he’s far from the finish product.Thankfully, he’s shown no signs of arrogance or complacency.He’s doing what he does best — scoring goals. And he continues to do so at an alarming rate.If he keeps doing that, QPR may rue the day that they let him slip out of their hands, much as Carlise do the day they offloaded him.But whatever the price over his head when he eventually moves over to another club he should be grateful for the money that will come his way.He has a dream job.So did Clyde. Difference lies in his bank account.* * *It’s four weeks since Cup Match yet Bermuda Cricket Board are prevaricating over whether they should take any action against Treadwell Gibbons whose behaviour marred what might have turned into an intriguing contest.There was outrage from those who witnessed the incident, there was an apology from Gibbons, there was a two-year suspended suspension imposed by his club, St George’s, (as ludicrous as it was) and there were the umpires’ reports submitted more than two weeks ago.But, so far, nothing from the BCB. The match was televised and members of the BCB executive were in attendance.Their only comment has been ‘we’re continuing our investigation’.Perhaps they could explain what it is they are investigating.Does it take a month to decide what should be a clear cut case?Gibbons was withdrawn from the national training squad preparing for this year’s Twenty/20 qualifiers.Have they found a reason why he should be reinstated?Nobody else has.