Clyde Best hopes West Ham trophy win is springboard for further success
Clyde Best reckons former club West Ham United’s Europa Conference League success can be a launch pad for bigger and better things.
The East London club were crowned champions after edging Italian side Fiorentina 2-1 in the final in Prague on Wednesday to secure their spot in next season’s Europa League, which Best views as a major achievement for David Moyes’s team.
“I think this will definitely inspire and motivate the team,” said Best, who scored 47 goals in 186 appearances for West Ham from 1968 to 1976.
“It’s a big incentive for the club and if you don’t want to be playing in Europe then something is wrong with you. You’re playing on a bigger stage and playing against better teams.
“It’s a good competition to be in and gives the club the possibility of getting players that want to come just to participate in Europe.
“It’s a great thing, not only for the club but for the fans, so from that point of view it’s a win, win situation for everybody.
“All the fans are happy and are still in the streets now partying. It was a great thing that happened for our club and should make us better and stronger.”
Algerian winger Saïd Benrahma put West Ham ahead from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute but their lead was short-lived as Italian midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura equalised five minutes later for their Serie A opponents.
However, the Premier League club would not be denied their moment in the spotlight as England forward Jarrod Bowen grabbed a dramatic last-minute winner to earn his team their first European success in 58 years.
“That’s the best way to finish a game off, in the 90th minute. It can’t get any better than that,” Best said
“I am just glad for Jarrod. When you look at his history and see where he has come from; he started at a non- league club and is now up to the Premier Division and scoring the winning goal in a European competition. You can’t write that sort of stuff and it’s just unbelievable.
“He told his family he was going to score the winning goal, which he did, so kudos to him. I am so happy for him, all the players and the club. I don’t think it’s the best I’ve seen us play but we got the result and the result was to win.
“As a professional we all want to play good, attractive soccer but you don’t do that all the time, and the most important thing is to win the tournament – and that’s what they did.
“I am just happy for the fans because now they have something to brag about. They don’t have to hear Tottenham ringing in their ear, or Arsenal, because we have won something, so that what’s important.
“We always blow bubbles in the east end, that’s our thing, so we are going to be blowing bubbles and having fun. I am going over in August and hopefully they will still be blowing bubbles then.”