Sunday, 27 July 2014


                              BLACK               SOCIAL               HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Leon Julian Brendan Best (born 19 September 1986) is a footballer who plays as a striker for Blackburn Rovers and the Republic of Ireland national football team. Best represented Ireland at under-21 level and won his first full international cap against Nigeria on 29 May 2009.
Best had a youth career at Notts County. His first professional club was then Premier League club Southampton. He has also played for Coventry City and Newcastle United before his 2012 move to Blackburn Rovers.

Early life

Best was born on 19 September 1986 in NottinghamEngland. He opted to play football for his mother's country,Ireland, while in his teens.[3]

Club career


As a young player, Best started his career at Notts County before being signed as a trainee by then Premier League club Southampton. He made his professional debut against Newcastle United on his 18th birthday in 2004. A loan spell at Queens Park Rangers followed later in the 2004–05 season.
He was a member of Southampton's youth team that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2005, losing on aggregate to Ipswich Town.
Best also had two loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday in the 2005–06 season, scoring his first professional goal and Wednesday's first of the season on 9 August 2005 atHillsborough against Hull City. The first loan spell was cut short in the same match when Best broke his foot and returned to St. Mary's after only 5 days in Sheffield. After recovering with Southampton, Best then returned to Hillsborough at the end of the January transfer window (though there was also speculation he would go to Crystal Palace) where he remained until the end of the season, scoring Wednesday's last goal of the season at Derby County on 30 April 2006.
On 3 August 2006 Best joined Football League One club Bournemouth on a month-long loan deal with an option to extend his stay.[4] He returned to Southampton at the end of October at the end of the maximum 3 month loan spell, having made 15 league appearances, scoring 3 goals.
On 23 November 2006, he joined his team-mate Martin Cranie on loan to Yeovil Town until 22 February 2007.[5]
After his loan spells, Best returned to play a role in Southampton's qualification for the Championship play-offs, where they faced Derby County. He came on as a substitute in the first leg at St Marys, which Southampton lost 2–1. In the second leg Best started alongside on-loan striker Marek Saganowski. The game ended in a tie on aggregate, with Best scoring an own goal which levelled the score at 2–2 on the night. Southampton lost 4–3 in the ensuing penalty shootout, with Best missing the opening penalty.[citation needed]

Coventry City

On 5 July 2007, he joined Coventry City[6] for a fee of £650,000 decided by a tribunal,[7] with the fee increasing were Coventry to gain promotion to the Premiership by 2010. Following a cheekbone fracture at the end of 2008, Best took his place in the team wearing a protective mask. His return led him scoring three goals in successive matches and consequently gaining a reputation for wearing a "Besty" mask, even after he had recovered from his injury and earning the nickname "Zorro".[8] His distinctive mask became somewhat of a talisman for Coventry City fans, many of whom took to wearing similar masks in the stands as a tribute to Best.[9] On 3 October 2009 he was named Championship Player of the Month for September.

Newcastle United

He signed for Newcastle United on 1 February 2010 for a fee of £1,500,000 on a three and a half year contract.[10][11] Best made his debut against Cardiff City at St James' Parkon 5 February 2010. Best failed to make an impact in his first season at Newcastle as he failed to find a goal and was put behind on form strike duo Andy Carroll and Peter Løvenkrands.
Best netted his first goal for Newcastle in a pre-season friendly against Carlisle United on 17 July 2010,[12] followed by his second goal for the club in the pre-season Sir Bobby Robson tribute match against PSV Eindhoven on 31 July 2010.[13] However Best then received a cruciate injury during pre-season causing him to miss the first few months of the 2010–11 season.[citation needed] He was back in light training by the end of September and was on the bench for Newcastle's 1–1 draw with Chelsea on 28 November, but did not make an appearance. He made his comeback in Newcastle's 1–0 victory against Wigan Athletic on 2 January 2011, appearing as a late substitute for Shola Ameobi.[14] Best made his first Premier League start for Newcastle in a home 5–0 win against West Ham United on 5 January 2011, scoring a hat-trick in the process, his first league goals for the club.[15]He was injured prior to the Stoke away game on 19 March and was ruled out until the end of the season. However, Best had scored six goals in 10 starts.
On 28 August 2011, he scored two goals against Fulham to give Newcastle a 2–1 victory followed by the equalizer in the 1–1 draw with Aston Villa, extending the Magpies unbeaten run to eight games in the English Premier League.[citation needed]
Best then ended a run of 12 games without a goal by scoring the winner in Newcastle's 1–0 win over Queens Park Rangers.[16]

Blackburn Rovers

On 2 July 2012, Best signed for Blackburn Rovers on a four-year contract for a fee of more than £3 million.[17][18] Less than a month after signing for Blackburn Rovers, he suffered an injury to his anterior cruciate ligaments, ruling him out for at least six months.[19]
Best scored his first league goal in the 89th minute, when he volleyed in a Chris Taylor cross for Blackburn when he came on as a first-half substitute for the injured Ruben Rochina in a 1–1 draw with Derby County at Pride Park on 4 August 2013.[20]
On 14 February 2014, he was loaned out by Rovers to their SkyBet Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday, this was to be his third spell with the Yorkshire club having previously been on loan at Hillsborough in 2005 and 2006. He scored his first goal in his third spell at the club in a 2–1 FA Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic on 24 February 2014.[21] On 14 March 2014, Best extended his loan with the Owls until the end of the 2013–14 season.[22] Best scored his first league goal of his third spell with the owls on 15 March 2014, helping with a 4–1 victory over Birmingham City FC.

International career

Best qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland through his mother, who is from Bluebell, Dublin. He also lived in Dublin from the age of seven, playing for Lourdes Celtic before returning to Nottingham.[23]
Having already represented the Republic of Ireland firstly at under-17 level in 2002 and later at under-21 level in May 2009, Best was called up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad for the first time for the games against Nigeria and then the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria.[24] He made his debut on 29 May against Nigeria in a match that finished in a 1–1 draw.[25]

Career statistics

As of 18 April 2014[26]
Club statistics
ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupLeague CupOther[A]Total
Queens Park Rangers (loan)2004–055000000050
Sheffield Wednesday (loan)2005–062100000021
Sheffield Wednesday (loan)2005–06111000000111
A.F.C. Bournemouth (loan)2006–07153001010173
Yeovil Town (loan)2006–0715100000001510
Coventry City2007–08348303100409
Newcastle United2009–10130000000130
Blackburn Rovers2012–136020000080
Sheffield Wednesday (loan)2013–14135110000146
:A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the Football League Trophy and play-offs.



Newcastle United