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Give Best knighthood says MP Horton

Former Sports Minister Randy Horton is launching a campaign for trailblazing footballer Clyde Best to be knighted.

Horton yesterday pledged to write to the UK calling for the West Ham United legend, one of the first famous black players in British football, to become a Sir.

He was one of many MPs to pay tribute to Best during yesterday’s House of Assembly’s Congratulations and Obituaries session, following his appearance on CNN’s ‘It’s Not Black And White’ show this week.

Recalling the racial abuse Best encountered from the England terraces during the 1970s, Horton told the House: “He was above it all and he was making a trail for players like Cyrille Regis, Lawrie Cunningham, John Barnes and Jermain Defoe.

“All came and made their way after Clyde Best.

“I’m going to move that Clyde Best is made a Sir. I will be doing the appropriate paperwork that’s needed in order to bring this to fruition.

“He set a trail like no other in the sport of football has set. We in Bermuda must recognise the incredible impact Clyde Best has made.”

Horton said every young black boy in London grew up wanting to emulate Best, who scored 58 goals in 218 games after joining the Hammers aged 17 in 1968.

That was the year British politician Enoch Powell infamously predicted a future of endless racial strife and riots if immigration continued.

During his CNN interview, Best said: “People weren’t used to seeing people of colour on the field in those days. I was always taught that you’re not playing for yourself, you’re playing for the people who are coming behind you, and that’s what kept me going.

“There were certain things that were said and done, but you’ve got to put them in the back of your mind and be strong and do what you have to do.”

Best was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and was awarded an MBE in the January, 2006 New Year’s Honours list for services to football and the Island’s community.

Bermudians have long called for him to receive a knighthood, with a string of MPs backing Horton’s call yesterday morning.

They included another former Sports Minister, Dale Butler, who said Government has twice failed in the past with attempts to get him the honour.

“While we were unsuccessful, it’s commendable that we continue to work to see he receives the recognition he deserves,” said Butler.

One Bermuda Alliance MP Trevor Moniz and United Bermuda Party interim leader Kim Swan gave their parties’ backing to the proposal.

Moniz claimed Bermudian footballers often don’t get the credit they deserve from their peers after excelling at the top level in England.

Another former Sports Minister, Elvin James, said: “If Clyde Best was an Englishman, born in Blackpool or anywhere else, he certainly would be a Sir.

“It’s time we put him up where he truly, truly belongs.”

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Published March 03, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 03, 2012 at 6:52 am)

Give Best knighthood says MP Horton

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