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A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS - LEON BEST

5 October 2015


When Yeovil Town made their first foray into the League One play offs back in 2007, it was in no small part thanks to a man who wasn’t even involved in the end of season shake up.

Leon Best played just over a dozen times for the Huish Park outfit but scored ten vital goals as Yeovil cemented their place in the upper echelons of League One.

Best began his career in the developmental system of Notts County and soon impressed the scouts of Premier League side Southampton to the point that he signed a trainee deal and was involved in and around the first team at 17 years old.


His debut for the Saints fell on his 18th birthday – against Newcastle United – a side he would later go on to play for.

As a product of the Saints youth set up, he was part of their FA Youth Cup final side of 2005 and would go out on loan to QPR before the end of the 2004/05 season.

The following year, another loan deal was deemed the best way to progress Best’s talent, Sheffield Wednesday was the destination for his first stint away, however, a foot injury cut that short.

Once recovered, he would return to Hillsborough for a second spell at the end of the January transfer window.

By the time the 2006/07 season rolled around, he had played a bit part role at Southampton and would head out on loan once more, firstly at Bournemouth for 93 days and then, in November to Yeovil Town.

He joined the Somerset side along with Martin Cranie and they would both go on to help the Glovers’ promotion ambitions.

Best’s time in Yeovil would last from November through to February and he had quite a record’ just 15 games would be all that was needed to score 10 times.

This included vital goals against Gillingham, Brighton and his former loan side Bournemouth.

In an odd twist, he played in both Yeovil v Bournemouth fixtures during the season – one for each side.

His goals fired Yeovil up into the play off picture and he would return to Southampton and help them secure their own end of season showdown.

He played in 11 games once he went back to his parent club, scoring the winner against Norwich late on in campaign and yet miss out on Wembley with either of his clubs.

He had already left Yeovil by the time they had made Wembley and Southampton fell at the semi-final stage to Derby County.

Leon Best took the first Saints spot kick, but his penalty sailed wide as the Rams headed to the final.


At the end of that season, he would finally leave the south coast headed for Coventry – Tuesday night’s opponents.

He would spend three years with the Sky Blues and was making his £650,000 fee seem like a bargain as he scored goals on a regular basis.

Even after a facial injury meant wearing a protective mask, he continued to score as Coventry looked to get out of the Championship.

His time there was a success, even if he spent a bit too much of his time there on the side line through injury.

He won the Championship Player of the Month award for September 2009 and made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland.

All this lead to Newcastle United forking out a seven-figure sum for the striker, but his time was once again chequered with injury.

His first league goals would come in January 2011, a hat trick versus West Ham.

More success in front of goal followed as did another big money move, this time upwards of £3 million pounds was paid by Blackburn Rovers for his services.

Another big price tag and another big injury, six more months on the side lines with a cruciate injury followed.

He would get back to fitness and back in the goals this time out on loan with Sheffield Wednesday.

More spells with Derby and last season, Brighton and Hove Albion followed, but at the end of the campaign he was released by Blackburn.

This past summer, he spent time on trial with QPR among others, but as yet doesn’t have a club.

Someone should alert Paul Sturrock to his availability, his ratio at Huish Park was nothing to be sniffed at, but Yeovil’s opponents on Tuesday, Coventry have been linked with a Leon Best return for a few years.

Either way, the two sides meet this coming Tuesday, you can be there – click HERE for the online ticket purchase facility.

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