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Club legend interview: Billy Best

1 June 2017

Former striker chats to Blues about his time in Essex and club rec...

A true Southend United legend returned to Blues back in February.

Fittingly, our guest in the Blues Legends Lounge for the 2-2 draw with Northampton Town, is fondly remembered not only at Roots Hall, but also at the Cobblers.

Billy Best is widely regarded by those fortunate enough to watch him as one of Blues’ finest-ever players.

His time in Essex comprised of a goalscoring record of almost one in two. More simply, 123 goals in 246 starts, second only to Roy Hollis as the club’s most prolific goalscorer.

Roots Review, the official matchday programme, caught up with the Glasgow-born goal machine, who reminisced on a special time at Southend.

“I have some very fond memories,” Best said.

“It was good fun and we had a good set of lads. We had some success and some failures as well which is normal in Third and Fourth Division football.

“I scored some goals so that made it much better for me. It’s one of the reasons I’ve still got friends down there.

“I still keep in contact with a couple of people and they say when are you coming back?”

Ernie Shepherd brought Best Roots Hall in 1968 from the Cobblers, where he then returned in 1973.

In his five years at Blues, Best almost toppled Hollis as the record goal-getter, ending up 12 short.

Best wasn’t one bit concerned with records though.

“It wasn’t a factor,” he added.

“Records never came into it at all, it was just about scoring goals. It didn’t enter into my mindset, I was just happy to play and score.

“Everybody I played with had a part to play because my teammates were the ones setting me up so they have to take a share of the credit.”

Speaking on his time at Northampton, Best said: “When I left Southend and went back to Northampton for another five years, they were better days for me from a playing side, although in my first stint we played in the First Division.

“I still enjoyed the second spell better because I was playing more often.”


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