Clyde Best hails the influence of goalscoring-great Jimmy Greaves
English football legend Jimmy Greaves scored goals as a “hobby” and never hesitated to offer advice to younger players such as Bermuda’s Clyde Best during a brief stint with West Ham United.
“When you are a young player you always look to the older players for advice and Jimmy always told us to work hard and to take your time in front of goal,” Best told The Royal Gazette. “He told us you’re not in a hurry; just show composure and he done that better than most people in England during that time.”Greaves, who passed away on September 19 at the age of 81, played his final season in the English top flight at West Ham during the 1970-71 campaign.
He netted a brace on his debut, a feat he achieved at several clubs throughout a sparkling career, in a 5-1 win away to Manchester City.
Greaves went on to score 13 goals in 38 appearances for West Ham playing under the late Ron Greenwood, who also had a stint as the manager of England’s national team.
A then 19-year-old Best was already at West Ham when Greaves joined in March 1970 as part of an exchange in England team-mate Martin Peters’s transfer to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
“We gave up Martin Peters to Tottenham and Jimmy came to us from them,” Best added.
“But I had always known him from playing against him when he was with Tottenham.“Jimmy was a very, very nice person. Funny, witty and got on well with all his team-mates. He was fun, got on with everybody and just done what he had to do.”Greaves is regarded as one of the greatest goal scorers in the English game.
The English Hall of Fame inductee is the highest scorer in the history of English top-flight football with 357 goals. He is also Tottenham’s highest-ever goal scorer with 266 goals and the first player to top the scoring charts in England’s top flight for three straight seasons — a feat he achieved an equally remarkable six times.
Greaves, who also had stints with Chelsea and AC Milan, is England’s fourth highest goal scorer with 44 goals while the record six hat-tricks he achieved playing for the national team remains intact.
“Jimmy was a fantastic player and I think one of the best strikers ever produced in England,” Best said. “If he was playing today it would be amazing to see what the price would be because Jimmy definitely knew where the goal was.
“He scored for every club he played for and most teams in England were a bit frightened when Jimmy Greaves was playing because scoring goals for him was like a hobby. It came natural so it was easy for him.
“You see players today scoring goals but the game is different. It would be interesting to see what Jimmy would be able to do and I would put my money on him because he could score goals in any league he played in.
“Jimmy was not only a great football player but a great human being who is going to be sadly missed by all his family and friends.”