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Best: London Stadium can be a fortress

A potential fortress: Sofiane Feghouli celebrates scoring in his side’s 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium last weekend. Best said he would have loved to have played at such a wonderful stadium (Photograph by Steve Paston/PA via AP)

Clyde Best, the former West Ham United forward, said it would have been a thrill for him to play at the club’s new home ground at the London Stadium.

The former Somerset Trojans player, who scored 58 goals in 221 appearances for West Ham, made his first visit to the stadium last month for the East London club’s games against Burnley and Hull City, and was thoroughly impressed with the facility which was built for the 2012 London Olympics.

“It is a magnificent new stadium and just unbelievable,” Best said. “I would have loved to have played in an arena like this. Words cannot explain how nice it looks and hopefully we can make it into a fortress.

“When I played I used to love playing in front of the big crowds and I’m sure it is the same for the players now.

“When we used to play at the Boleyn Ground the support was fantastic and with 60,000 fans now inside London Stadium I am sure it will be just as good.”

West Ham’s transition into their new stadium has not gone without teething problems.

However, Best has no doubts the big move will benefit the Premier League club in the long haul.

“The West Ham fans are among the best in the country and they can play a big part in helping the team to do well,” he added. “I think West Ham will be able to compete with the big teams now and we need to concentrate on getting the job done.

“We proved last year that we could compete with the big teams and if we continue to show the same attitude we have got all the ability.”

Best cherishes the special bond he forged with the West Ham supporters during his eight-year spell playing alongside England legend Sir Bobby Moore, who captained the country to its only World Cup triumph in 1966.

“I love being back in the East End of London,” Best said. “They like workers and will appreciate you if you give everything. They know their football and you cannot cheat them. You have to give them what they want because they deserve it.

“This is my club — I have got claret and blue blood. When they lose I feel it just as much and it will always be that way. There is nothing like being in the East End of London. They are the greatest people around.

“I consider [it] my second home. The one thing about being in the East End is I can always see friends here and you cannot beat that.”

Best travelled to England to promote his autobiography The Acid Test. He will always be remembered for becoming a pioneer in the English game after overcoming discrimination from the terraces to emerge as the first black striking hero.

“I faced some challenges but I was not going to let them stop me from what I wanted to do,” Best said. “Life is not easy with certain things.

“I thank my family and my mum and dad for the support they gave me. She always told me if you want to be treated properly, you treat people how you wanted to be treated and you cannot go wrong. That is how I try to live my life and I believe in that.”