In Episode 21, Clyde Best, MBE, former player with West Ham United, Feyenoord, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Portland Timbers, and Toronto Blizzard, former youth coach, former Manager of the Bermuda National Team, and member of the Bermuda Hall of Fame, talks...
In Episode 21, Clyde Best, MBE, former player with West Ham United, Feyenoord, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Portland Timbers, and Toronto Blizzard, former youth coach, former Manager of the Bermuda National Team, and member of the Bermuda Hall of Fame, talks with Phil about how he, as an 18-year-old from Bermuda, overcame racism he experienced as one of the first black players in the English First Division, and what we can learn from him as we address racism in our world today, the best leaders he played with (pretty amazing list), playing against and with Pele, and the importance of nurturing relationships with and gaining respect of your teammates and competitors. Specifically, Clyde discusses:
Resources and Links from this Episode
Phil:[00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks again for your download. Thanks for taking the time to be with us today. I have a very exciting moment in my life. I get to interview one of my old coaches. One of my good friends, Clyde Best. Clyde is a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
A distinction that not many get. He is a Bermuda native who played for West Ham from the ripe age of 17 in 1968 to about 1976. He played in the NASL as well managed the Bermuda National Team. He actually owned a dry cleaning business, if you can believe that. And he's most known for his coaching of some young youth clubs, youth players in Southern California, namely the teams I played for the San Clemente soccer club.
Many of you may not know that, but that is actually the. The biggest distinction in his life from his perspective at least as far as I'm concerned. So without more from me, I'm going to save [00:01:00] all the formalities for the end of this conversation, as far as where you can connect with us and all that.
So if you want to know all that, wait for the end, but I want to get right to it with my friend, my mentor, my coach Clyde Best. Clyde, how are you doing?
Clyde:[00:01:13] Hey, I'm doing fine, Phil, how are you doing? I'm doing
Phil:[00:01:15] great. Doing great, better that I get to talk with you and, share your wisdom with all the people that are listening in.
So with that, as I start most, most of my conversations, I just want for those who, the people who don't know you, I know they could just Google you, but I think better than that, they can learn from you just a little, you know, Part of who you are. If you can briefly share your story, really focusing on your football and your leadership experience, definitely don't want you to leave out your family too.
Not that you would, but want to just hear about who you are a little bit.
Clyde:[00:01:44] Yeah. As you said, just now, my name is Clyde Best. I'm originally from Bermuda. I left Bermuda as a 17 year old to go play professional soccer in England. And at the club like West Ham United, who had three World Cup players at the [00:02:00] time Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, and Martin Peters, and to be in that same company during that time was unbelievable because when I was a kid in Bermuda, I used to imitate Geoff Hurst and my friend Roger Hunt, would imitate Martin Peters. And then a year later I was playing with the three guys and West Ham was a great, great club at the time. Still is today. We had lots of world-class players there, people like Trevor Brooking, John McDowell, Graham Paddon, Frank Lampard Sr. So Harry Redknapp. So we had people that knew what the game was going about. Being at the club like West Ham,
we were known as a club that developed their own players and most of the players, I've just called names were all homegrown players from West Ham. Because we never had the money to be able to buy players like your Manchester United and Chelsea and people like that. We had to produce our own. [00:03:00] A good friend of mine that you might remember from America as well.
It was Clive Charles. Clive Charles and I played in the same youth team. As a matter of fact, when I first went to England his mum took me in and I stayed with her for a couple of years. Well, it was supposed to be a couple of years, but I stayed with her for about six or seven years, you know? And she was like Mother to me away from home.
So with the Charles family, it helped me to grow as a person and an individual because of the way she treated us all. And it was three of us. John was Clive's big brother. He was at West Ham, Clive, and myself. And then came along the person like Ade Coker. And you know, we've been known to produce good, good players. Clive, Ade and myself. We were the first three black players to play in England at the same time. And it was a match against Tottenham Hotspurs. And we were all under 19 years old at the [00:04:00] time and we beat Tottenham 2-1 that day. And what was amazing the manager at the time was Bill Nickerson.
And he came in and he told our manager who was Ron Greenwood he had never seen people so young play the game the way we did. We were brought up in the right way to play football, let the ball do the work for you. Learn to pass, run off the ball. And we, all those things came naturally to us because of the coaching that we had with Ron and John Miles.
So. That's where it all started for me. And I would always be grateful to the Charles family and the club like West Ham for giving me a chance to display my talents worldwide.
Phil:[00:04:46] Yeah, that was something that, you know, what I neglected to mention at the beginning of this. And I want to make sure folks out there, if you want to learn more about all of this, Clyde has an autobiography out there called, The Acid Test, and we'll get into what [00:05:00] that means here in a few minutes.
But I strongly encourage you to go out there. There's a whole lot more about all these different things that we're going to talk about in that book. And you can get the whole backstory about how Clyde ended up in England as a 17 year old, which is a great story in and of itself, his background, all of those great things.
And so we can obviously only scratch the surface in this interview. but I did want to make sure that you know about that and you can go out there and you can grab it as you went, you played for years in West Ham and we'll get into some of those, lessons you learned from that time.
But after your time in England, you went and played in the NASL for a while, actually, while you were in England, you got married to your beautiful wife and had a daughter as well. So can you just talk a little bit about that? What that was like as a young guy, doing that, playing the game, what you learned from those things?
Clyde:[00:05:49] Well, the most important thing to remember at our club, our manager at the time. Always encouraged to get married, have a family, you know, it makes you a [00:06:00] more settled person. And you know, you listen to your elders, and most of us at the time at the club that were in the first team, anyway, everybody was married.
So you, as a young person, as you came through, you just follow suit. And I was lucky enough to marry my wife who was from the same country as me Bermuda, and we went to England and our daughter, Kimberley, she was born in England. So we tease her all the time. We tell her, you're foreigner in our country
that's what it was all about. And we'd done it. And we've been now there for going 40, going on 47 years. So it must be something going on that makes it last, that long, you know? Yeah.
Phil:[00:06:41] definitely. So, as I said, in the, intro, you went and played in America. And if I remember correctly, part of that move was because of family.
am I right in that recollection?
Clyde:[00:06:52] Um, Not so much because of family, I went there because, they would just starting soccer at [00:07:00] a professional level in the sense. And I had an opportunity to go and play. So my main goal for going, I could have stayed in England and played, but my main goal was to try and give something back to other people.
And I was always brought up that way. You know, you're not playing for yourself. You're playing for other people, help other people along the way and going to America, that was one of my big, big things. You know, I'm going to try and make soccer itself priority in America. And once you see all the players that came, I was one of the first ones, then you heard Pele's comin', Johann was comin', Rodney Marsh was coming.
Ron Davies. I think I'm not sure if Pete Osgood had a chance over there, Alan Hudson at Seattle. So, we had Carlos Alberto from Brazil. You had Giorgio Chinaglia from Italy, you had Franz Beckenbauer from Germany. You had Johann Neeskens from Holland, Ben rice Bergen from Holland.
Good friend of mine, Vince [00:08:00] de Beer from Holland. So I felt that it was a good move for me. And. It paid off because you, man, you look at soccer in America today and you see where it is. We know that we all played a good part in the developing of soccer and we had some good coaches, people like Rinus Michels, who was a famous coach from Holland, Gordon Jago, Eddie Firmani.
Peter Shaw, Peter Wall, so we had a lot of stars playing football at that time in America. I first went to Tampa Bay Rowdies that first year we won the championship. Then from Tampa, I was traded to Portland, Oregon which is one of my most favorite places in America from Portland, I went to Holland. I went, had a stint in Holland with Feyenoord. From Feyenoord had to come back to Portland. and from Portland, I went to Toronto. After Toronto with the weather being so cold. I said, Hey, it's time to call this quits because it was so [00:09:00] cold up there I couldn't take that. I made, it was colder than England. I played some indoor soccer in Cleveland. And ended up finishing, I call my friend Clive and he was in California and I told him, Hey, that would suit me. It's nice and sunny. And I liked that. So we made arrangement through Peter Wall. For me to go to California and that's where I ended up.
And it was one of the best moves in my life. It was California is one of my most favorite States in all of America. And I would always be, I have a special spot for California because the weather suits me fine coming from a place like Bermuda. You know, we have sunlight every day and coming to California and place like Orange County.
It was great, And meeting all you guys and working with you all, it gave us a good footage, to be able to get into coaching, like you said, I had ended up with the Bermuda national team. So, it all started from Woodbridge High School. Once I finished playing, I said, it's time to give back, end up coaching and [00:10:00] Woodbridge.
You went to 'em. What was the school? That was the enemy. You always used to play against you.
And then those days in California, high school football was big, big, I don't know what it's like now, but in those days it was like a war. High school against high school. And it was nice. What really pleases me about that? Some of the guys from that era went on to be professional players, I know Joe Max Moore had a stint with I think it was Everton.
Who else was it a fellow named Jovan Korovski I think he is now at the team in Los Angeles. We had him. we've had Brad Wilson, yourself, your brother. Tinsley that's funny, Martin called me on Sunday. He was walking his dog in the park in California. He bumped into Tim Wilson, remember Tim. Yeah. So, you know, it was so many guys that we had met and created [00:11:00] friendships and met the families that are long lasting relationships. And that's, what's really been good about, being able to play soccer professionally. I tell all my nieces and nephews, I can go in the world anywhere in the world and there's someone I know, and that's from playing soccer. And that's what I really appreciate about having the opportunity to be able to come to America and help develop something that was taking off.
And what really helped me down the guy that was Commissioner of the North America soccer league. He played for a club in England, West Ham, Phil Woosnam. And he's not no longer with us, but he'd done a good job. Putting soccer, on the map in a sense in North America.
Phil:[00:11:40] I know I for one am very, very glad you came to North America came to Southern California in particular and were able to just spend some great time with me.
And as you said, my brother and some other folks. I mean, that really was an amazing time. I remember playing against Ante Razov and Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis and all those guys growing up. And that was all [00:12:00] just in Southern California, a bunch of guys who made that national team, not to mention Joe Max, who went to Mission Viejo High School as well. And Julie Foudy was in that same graduating class. So it's just amazing to see what came out of that. But. Going back to you and what you've learned from the game. I mean, with that vast, vast experience from playing in your teen years in English First Division to coaching in Bermuda in the late nineties and then just being part of the game for most, if not all of your life what's your favorite?
I know this is really an unfair question. It's not necessarily as unfair saying what's your favorite kid ‘cause you only have Kimberley, but what is your favorite football memory?
Clyde:[00:12:41] Well, being a professional player is a favorite memory because most people don't get that opportunity to be in that arena. And once you're in the football arena, you meet so many different people.
So you are able to make so many different connections and [00:13:00] friendships. And as I said to you earlier, I can go practically every part of the world. And I've got a friend and that's through playing football. Pele calls it the beautiful game. He's telling us the truth. I tell people all the time, whenever I go to score, what happens in football?
Celebrate favorite, everybody dashes to celebrate and hug one another. We don't look at the color of a person's skin. It doesn't make any difference. We're happy and we run and how and congratulate one another. And one of the things I would hope and pray in my lifetime is that we all. Learn to get along and respect one another and not hate one another because of the color of a person's skin.
You know? So through my experience in football, that is something that I would always lean towards the try to get rid of, because as I tell people, the ball doesn't have any [00:14:00] eyes. It doesn't care what color you are. Once there's a goal, everybody's happy. That's right. It's no reason why we can't be like that for life.
Phil:[00:14:08] And that's one area I want to camp out on a little bit and we'll get back to some of the other stuff. but this, whole idea that you just talked about, one of the areas, and we talk, this whole show is about the life and leadership principles. We, you learn from the game of soccer and that what you just talked about, that we are you know, we're not all the same, but we're all unified in the fact that we're all humans.
And we're all part of this human race that we are together. And I just want you to talk about that idea that the, the, racism that is still, unfortunately, obviously part of, what we're fighting against in, in the game and in our world today. But when you were, we talked about that, the acid test is the name of your autobiography that I want you to tell that story if you could, but then I really want you to focus on how you handled the racism that was leveled against you as you were playing and what that can teach us about [00:15:00] leadership and what that can teach us about how we can hopefully engage the conversation today as well.
Clyde:[00:15:06] Well, Phil, like I've said, going to England as a young 17 year old. One thing my dad always taught me in life is that you're not playing for yourself. You're praying for all those coming after you and all those people that are working in the areas of work that they're working in that are struggling, that need help.
And my thing was that if I go there and they see me doing it and I perform well, they might want to be in my position. And that's the way I too. Get involved into certain things. As I said to you just now the ball doesn't have eyes. It doesn't know what color person is kicking it. You know? So we, as human beings have to learn to, put that [00:16:00] aside when it comes to what color are you and just get on with what we got to do, because.
You know, life we didn't know how long were you going to be here when he's going to call on us to come and do what he wants us to do. And, I believe in that sort of stuff, you know, because as I said, we can take two little babies tomorrow and we can put them in the same crib.
What do you think the two babies are going to do? They're going to hug one another. Yeah, they're not going to look at one another call each other names or scratch each other's eyes out, you know? So it's another stuff like that, that we can learn a ups. I mean, go you look at a person and you want to.
Beat him up or fight him or scratching because of the color of his skin. you know, that's not normal, not, not today, you know? Okay. It's still happening, but we have to find a way [00:17:00] to get rid of that because it's nonsense. I mean, you look at your mom and dad, when they first met me, Laurie Martin, you welcomed with open arms, you know, and that's the way.
Life should be it's you know, and it's always been that way for me, from my friend Clive Charl who was a little white lady in England in the fifties that have married a man of color. And she had these children, what could she do with them? She couldn't disregard them and throw them away. She had to bring it up and I entered the family and I was another one of her children.
And she told us that, Hey, you gotta work hard for what you want. Nobody's going to give you anything and go for what you think you can get and Clive had a good life up until his passing. He ended up coaching in the U S with the national team and different Olympic teams and as university of Washington, John [00:18:00] ended up, being prosperous, doing a green grocery in England, so this was being bought up by the teachings of a little white kid named Jess Charles that gave us good upbringing and good behavior skills.
Phil:[00:18:17] And when you came into the league as a 17 year old not only were you a 17 year old coming in, but you were one of the first black players in English first division. And so can you talk about that letter talking about the acid what that said and what it felt like when you got that as a 17 year old kid?
Clyde:[00:18:34] Oh, when it first happened, you're looking at yourself, you're not knowing what to do. You know, what should I do? You know, here I am playing in front of these people, giving them my best every week. You're playing well, and they're still not satisfied because they try to intimidate you with other stuff.
Now you're hoping that it's not nobody from your fans that have [00:19:00] sent it or one of the home fans. And I still think of them this day was probably somebody from the home team that we were playing that Saturday. Now they sent me a threat about throwing acid in my face as I came through the tunnel. Now you can imagine someone telling you that.
And you're saying I got to play on Saturday. I going to get through this, Well, the first thing I said to myself, I'm not going to stop running. So instead of playing 120 miles an hour, I was probably 160 miles an hour to keep away from that stuff, you know? And I would always be indebted to my coach because I took the letter to him, Ron Greenwood, and we sat down and we try to work out a plan on how we're going to get through this.
And we included the police. I knew a lot of the officers because they walked us through the tunnel on match days and they devised a plan where I was put in the middle with my teammates. And we walked out with the police on both sides. [00:20:00] So anybody attempting to do anything, had to be careful because the police probably would have beaten to smithereens and our home fans would have probably been to smithereens.
So it never happened. But thank God. It didn't because they wouldn't want to have had something like that happen. And you know, it wouldn't have been a nice thing. So as I said, we got through it. And I was so glad and happy at the end of the whistle. I mean, when it was time to run out, I was probably the first one in the dressing room, you know, because you don't want nothing to happen to you.
And as I said, the part of England, we stayed in. At the time a letter of friends were guys all different types of guys. We had doctors, we had bus drivers, poor working people. And one thing about the East End of London I will say is that they look after people like me who was playing football. Like if you came up to me and you're rude and a lot of my [00:21:00] friends were there, they're going to let you know, you got to leave before something happens to you.
And that's the way it was, you know, and they saw my work ethic when I was on the football field, I gave a hundred percent and that's all they asked because they were hard working people in the East End of London. And they appreciate people that give that percentage when they're on the football field, because they pay your wages.
Week in and week out, and you learn that. so it's something that you brought up with, if you're gonna play for West Ham, you work hard, you look at like young Jesse Lingard right now. He's just come from Manchester United to West Ham. You watch him. He runs his socks off. We've had one or two people in the past that we brought in that have played and they look like a passenger on the field and fans don't like that.
So I learned that at an early age and that's what I tried to do And as I said, I'm so glad and thankful that the acid throwing never really occurred, you know? [00:22:00]
Phil:[00:22:00] Definitely. I'm very glad of that too. I'm also glad that my Manchester United boy is helping the Hammers. They are currently in a Champions League position as we are at this time of recording.
I'm excited that both of our teams are in those Champions League positions, hopefully that continues. , that I have always enjoyed watching play so I'm glad that he's getting time and I'm glad that he's performing well. But you know, that was, that was just one event that happened and I bring this up because of a few different things, but I want to talk more to you about, you had chants against you.
You had bananas thrown at you, you had all kinds of things that happen to you as a player, simply for the color of your skin, simply because you were somebody that they could take out, whatever their. Just awful aggressions or, beliefs were on you. But what I respect about you among so many other things is the way that you responded to those things.
And one of the things that you said in your book, [00:23:00] you said you did talk about what your dad told you, you were playing for those who were to come after you. And you said it was the, one of the best pieces of advice I ever had. I had to adapt to my surroundings simple as that, but there's little doubt that my temperament played a big part.
I tell people all the time that if I acted up and kept losing my cool, I think it would have had more than more difficult for the black players who followed me in terms of image, being able to deal with situations as something I always seem to have a pension for. Can you talk about that a little bit more as far as your temperament, but also in today's day and age as we are in a current, fight and it's likely, unfortunately gonna continue for the foreseeable future, a fight against racism.
How do you feel we can practically and effectively combat racism in our world today on an individual and a corporate basis?
Clyde:[00:23:47] Well, I think, Phil, lots of times we have to talk about it. You just can't put it on the back burner. You gotta be open about it. You gotta be honest about it, And I think you got to definitely sit down and discuss, [00:24:00] what your disputes are.
I mean, you have people in the world today that don't know one another from Adam and Eve, but they don't like him. How you just look at a person and not like him, if you haven't had a conversation with that person that you don't like might be more educated than you, you don't know what I'm saying.
So. Before you discriminate against someone, find out what the person's all about, you know, and you might find out in life that you learn to like the person because of their behavior, the way they carry themselves. Because carrying yourself in a certain demeanor has a lot to do with life. You know, and I learned very early being a sports person.
I didn't want to be a sports person that was out bragging about yourself, talking about yourself. Hey, you let your playing do the talking for you. And once you leave the field, you just walk off and go about your business. now if you're going to let people in the crowd upset [00:25:00] you. You're not going to be able to play.
You gotta be strong. You gotta let them people know that you're here for a purpose and you're going to meet your goals and what you set out for yourself. And I knew at an early age that, Hey, it was, not only about me. I want to help the young people comin' and I mean, I tried to speak to as many of them as possible.
And if by me speaking to him and you're going to hurt, them, I will continue to do that because that's what life's all about. You know, I had my turn, I'm going to see somebody else had theirs and you get to the mountaintop. And the only way you do that, as I said a lot of this hatred and prejudice is to s and discuss it and talk and have dialogue.
Phil:[00:25:47] How do you think that as we're, as we're seeing every Saturday, Sunday ever, the games with the kneeling or the no room for racism, slogan or black lives matter on shirts. [00:26:00] Do you think that's effective? Do you think that's something that I've seen some black players in England the last week or so speak out on that to say, they're not going to kneel anymore.
They don't think it's effective. They don't want to have Black Lives Matter on their shirt anymore for various reasons. What do you think about that? Or do you not really have any thoughts on that?
Clyde:[00:26:19] Well, I mean, my train, if there are going to be things that they're doing, that's going to benefit them.
And their peers, I don't see a problem with that because sometimes in life you have to make people aware of what is going on. You know, if you're going to just sit there and let things happen and not say nothing. Hey, that's not a good thing. If you've got owners or people that are mistreating players of color, that's not good.
That's not good. The game is about all of us, not just you, because you had more money than everybody else. I mean, if we were those players for, to go on strike tomorrow, who are you going to get to play. And [00:27:00] in England right now, a lot of the players, have to understand the power that they had.
Because when you look, each team has between five and 10 players of color on their team, so those players deserve the same credit everybody else, at the club, so it's all about being open and honest and discussing things that we're doing. And as I said to you earlier, the players playing today are not going to be concerned about themselves.
They're going to be concerned about the people coming after them. So they make it better for the guys after them. And that's what they must think. I mean, what's wrong with having that on the shirt, what you feel it, you know, it pages your back or something, you know, Hey, stand up for what is right in the world, and that's what they're doing.
And that's the way actually, I don't have a problem with that, but those that are talking about. Giving up and not doing nothing. We just need to think, because people went through a lot to get them where they are [00:28:00] today, you know?
Phil:[00:28:01] Yeah. And I think that if I'm not mistaken, I think that the guys, I think one of them was Wilfred Zaha.
And then there was another one in the championship who was talking about it. And I, if I'm not mistaken, they were both black young men and they were talking about the fact that they just thought it was a token thing rather than there actually being action. As you're talking about talking with each other and actually doing things rather than the awareness they feel has already been there, they want more action, which I was just curious to, hear, if you had heard that, if you hadn't then that's fine, but I'm curious.
Clyde:[00:28:33] I hadn't heard it, but if it is happening, we have a saying in our country related to cricket, if you stay to the wicket, the runs come, but if you're going to go give your wicket away, you can't make the runs. So this, what the guys have been doing, you know, it's been going on for the last year.
Why give up now, you know, just keep going for what you believe in, and if you see somebody mean. Are being mistreated [00:29:00] badly, let people know it was like they say in America, if you see something, say something, don't let it just manifest and continue. because this day and age, as I said, football is a world game, everybody plays it.
So you need to know that people are treated decently fairly equally. And everybody's going to be happy when they get off the field.
Phil:[00:29:21] Absolutely. And I will say just to tie it up and, you know, assume you agree with this. I would encourage you if you are out there and you have any, racist thoughts and you are at any way racist toward anybody, or you just discriminate against anybody?
I would encourage you to meet some people that are of that. You know, whether it's color, whether it's race, whether it's. Religion, whatever it may be to get to know him and get to know him as, as human beings and find out what you agree on. Find about what your similarities find out who you, you know, how you guys are the same.
Cause it's, really hard to hate someone that, you know, and you begin to love and trust. And so [00:30:00] I'd say that's the only way to get there. would you agree with that, Clyde?
Clyde:[00:30:02] I think that's a great way Phil. I think more people need to hear that. because you're not going to heal anything without discussing it, finding out what likes, what dislikes, you know, and that's the way to go about doing it.
just don't wake up in the morning and say, I don't like him. You never even had a conversation with him. You never even said good morning to him. So these are the avenues that a lot of people in life need to really approach and see what it does for them, Because a person has a certain color, that doesn't make him a bad person.
Phil:[00:30:33] Absolutely. All right. Well, let's, kind of shift gears a little bit here and go back to your playing days. You're playing you're back in the, the late 1900’s and you were playing with all these different players.
Who, who would you say? Maybe a couple players, if there's more than one, but with the best leaders really, that you played with in your football career and why, what made them that such a great leader?
Clyde:[00:30:56] Well, the best leader I haven't played with my life was Bobby Moore. [00:31:00] He was cool, calm, collected, and you could never upset him.
And he could play the game. He knew the game of football. And I tell people if he was playing today, what would you pay him? You know, I don't know. I mean, when I see guys making 500,000 pounds a week, You probably have to pay Bobby Moore a million dollars a week because that's good. He was, you know, another one would be Franz Beckenbauer. Unbelievable German captain could play the game, had a good brain. You look at Pele. I myself think he is the best player the Lord has ever produced, you know? And I tell people all the time. I think lots of times when we're talking to old players, we need to talk about them in their era, and though a person like Pele, he had won all these World Cups, there's nobody else on earth won that many World Cups. So for me, he's labeled the best player in the world [00:32:00] for me, Brazil at that time produce tremendous players, football players. I mean, if you look at a lot of the guys today versus lot of the guys back in the day, You would say, Hey they wouldn't be able to do it.
You know, it'd be because the guys I'm telling you, people like Garrincha, Vava, Didi, you know, these were players that are the world names. And when you look at, in the history books to see what they have achieved, it is unbelievable, so I was blessed to be in a time where we had many, many good players.
I remember one player that used to play for Tottenham that we ended up buying called Jimmy Grieves, I don't know if you've ever heard of him. But Jimmy was Tottenham Hotspur striker, and we traded Jimmy for Martin Peters, Martin Peters. One of the World Cup players. Jimmy was in the World Cup squad too, but he was a fabulous striker at Tottenham.
They talk about Harry Kane. Well, I don't know who I'm going to [00:33:00] pick. Jimmy Grieves or Harry Kane. I think I would have to go from Jimmy because Jimmy, he knew where the goal was and he made things happen. And what I really liked about Jimmy, he was nowhere as big as Harry Kane is today. he was a small man of stature, but he had a big foot and his left foot was like dynamite, you know, he knew where the goal was and he can give you 20, 30 goals a season. again, Alan Hudson, Pete Osgood, I could name so many great players that were playing in my time, Norman Hunter, Jack Charlton, Bobby Charlton, Georgie Best, who I didn't even mention these were all fantastic players, and I was blessed to be given the opportunity to play during that time.
And I'm just thankful.
Phil:[00:33:44] Now you actually just mentioned the other Best that played during that era who was probably the lesser best in that time. Right?
Clyde:[00:33:51] Well, I wouldn't say that. I mean, George was a fantastic player. One of the best players, Manchester United have ever [00:34:00] signed.
And I tell people again, if Manchester United had George Best today, what would they pay him?, David Beckham got a lot of accolades for Manchester United, but George Best for me is probably one of the best players that Manchester United ever produced. And George on his day, if he had to play it for another country during that time, he probably would have been a world cup winner.
But coming from Northern Ireland, they weren't that strong when it came to world football at that time, he was unable to fulfill that, but on the ability alone, he's in the top five for me in the world. During his times, he was superb and anybody. wants to see you just turn on that computer and type in George Best you get to see, what he was able to do.
Phil:[00:34:44] And that's, it's just so amazing to hear those names that you just mentioned as a leader. I mean, you played with Pele. You play with Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore Martin Peters. Geoff Hurst. Just to name a few, right? I mean, you talk about Clive Charles.
You talk about you know, a [00:35:00] lot of people nowadays here in, the, West coast out here, think of Clive as the University of Portland coach for a long time, but. Before that he played a little football himself too. And it just, the amazing experiences that you have, which is a lot of the leadership conversation we've had already, and we will continue to have is all about that coming out of that.
But there's two things I want to talk about. The first is just a fun conversation. I know that you talk a little bit about in your book, what was it like to play against and with Pele who you, claimed. And a lot of others will claim was the best player all time. And which did you enjoy more playing with him or playing against him?
Clyde:[00:35:36] Well, my first experience with Pele was a game in rainbows Island. West Ham United that had been invited to play at the stadium against Santos. And my ambition and where I always thought I said, I'm playing against the best players in the world. I want to show him what I could do. Now, when you imagine a person from a [00:36:00] place like Bermuda, who's only has a population of 60 something thousand, and I'm going up against the best player in the world, but you gotta be a strong individual.
And my thing was always that if I'm playing against Pele. I'm going to let him know that I can play. Have you played in this game, Pele scored two, I scored two. He came up to me after the game. He said, Clyde, I'm the King, you're the Prince. So for Pele to say that to me, it's unbelievable comment, you know, and I always made it a point that whenever I played against Pele, I'm going to show him that the Prince isn't going nowhere and I can still play and score goals against his team because that was something. And that was the standard that I always set myself because you're playing against the best player in the world. I'm not going to let him show me up. And I'm going to go there and play and make sure, he'd be able [00:37:00] to sing my praises and he's done that.
We went on a tour to Japan m. Then we were able to play in. Places of Japan, that was unbelievable. And to play with him on the same field and having been an idol was unbelievable. You know? So that was one great one that I had the pleasure of playing with and be, and up until this day, you know, I haven't seen him for a long time.
He's getting on, like we all are. And You know, I'm sure you still remember this. There was matches we had against one another.
Phil:[00:37:36] Now I remember in the book, you talked about him. Like babe Ruth called his home run. Pele called his goal at one point where he just did he, did he say goal or did he say something before he shot?
Clyde:[00:37:53] Well, we were playing New York Cosmos. We played them on the Sunday afternoon in Tampa and we beat them like six one, and it was on national television. [00:38:00] And. They couldn't believe it. You know what I mean? They had just brought in Beckenbauer, they just pulled in Giorgio Chinaglia. They had Pele and just a bunch of guys from England came over and gave them a good hiding. They couldn't believe it because they spent all this money on all these. So we go to New York on the Wednesday, we in three, one at half time. I don't know what Pele told the rest of the players had halftime, but whatever it was at work, because they came out in the second half, they weren't the same team.
They ended up beating us five, three. I scored the first three for us. We were leading three, nothing at half time or three one at half time. And I'd scored all three and we come out in the second half. And I'll never forget. Mark Lindsay had a job of being responsible for Pele and Pele, their goalkeeper punched the ball outside the box. [00:39:00] He pick the ball up a guy, little English guy named Tony Fields on the left-hand side on left wing, and Pele played a ball from his box to over Tony Field’s shoulder and he continued to run down the middle. When he got to the end of the box, he shouted, “Goal,” because the cross was coming over and he shouted, “Goal.” And when the ball went in, we were so mesmerized, how the heck could this guy do this? But we forgot it was Pele. He could do stuff like that. Know what I mean? And my man, my friend that was Mark, Mark Lindsey, he still talks about that today.
He was disappointed because Pele called out what he was going to do, and it worked, you know?
Phil:[00:39:44] That's so fun. I mean, that's, what's so cool. It was just what an amazing, as you said, you're, you're humbled. you're just so appreciative of that relationships that you've had over the years.
You talk about you've formed a relationship. You talk about all these other guys where it's not just, playing together, but it's relationships. And [00:40:00] can you talk about that? The importance of forming building and keeping relationships and in nurturing relationships and really the golden rule.
Why it's important to not burn bridges in football and in every area of life and leadership.
Clyde:[00:40:15] Well, what'd, you tend to find is that when you're playing football, you come and connection or connect with so many different people. So football is no different from everyday life. you know, Hey, I'm playing against this good player.
This week, I'm going to look at and see what he's doing to make sure that everything's going to come out. Okay. When the game is finished, you normally go out for a little bite to eat or have a little something to drink, and you just shoot the breeze from that sort of thing, you help foster a new friendship.
I'm going to tell you another story. I remember once we played Chelsea on this New Year's Day. now, one of my best friends was Alan Hudson. We used to call him Huddy because [00:41:00] he had a lot of tricks and he was one of these cocky plays, but he was good. And Alan would tell you, I'm going to show you tricks today.
So we go to Stamford bridge and played this Boxing Day and we beat them three, one. It was never to be expected. So I saw Holly a few years later and he says to be because of you, I got traded to Stoke City. Pete Osgood was traded to Southhampton. I said, well, because you didn't show no tricks that they, you know, so these are the soul, the friendships that you foster, over the years, There with players.
I mean, when I get a lot of players coming to Bermuda to vacation on him, a lot of them pick up the phone and call. I think the last one I had well, Rodney, I brought him down for a golf tournament. I had, he came down, Rodney Marsh, my little mate, Mark Lindsey. And these are relationships that will always be there for as long as we live, you know?
And it's not hard [00:42:00] to do. You just going to want to redo it and you do it with respect to one another, not going over the boundaries and being disrespectful. You know, you love one another because Hey, if we're playing together, this guy's got to depend on me. Just like I depended on him. So by doing that sort of stuff, that's how you foster relationships.
And if they see you're sincere and you're there for the cause, and you're not going to let them down. Of course, you're going to have friendships, you know, and like I said earlier, I can go from here a relationships? All Africa? Relationships France, Holland, Germany, England, Scotland. You know, these are the friends that I've been with over the years and went a war with on the football field. And we're friends. We'd be friends today, and that's what life's all about. it's not about being about yourself for yourself, Hey, the Lord put us here, let's [00:43:00] all respect one another.
Learn to love one another and get on with one another. you're going to have one or two disagreements, but being men about it and look each other in the eye and say to him, Hey, Phil, what you've done is wrong. I'm your friend. I'm not going to hurt you. So if you respect the information, I'm going to give you, we can have a decent relationship. But if you're going know that what I'm giving you, I'm going to look at you twice and say, Hey, this, guy's not saying this a little friendship, And good friends look after to one another. You uphold one another, you respect one another and you can tell each other anything you want and you're going to take it.
it's up to you to take it to heart or look at it and see the difference between right and wrong. We remember when we first met you guys and. San Clemente. We usually tell you, Hey, we don't expect to win every game we would like to, but you know, you were a young guy that's coming up and, we only can teach you what we were told [00:44:00] ourselves as coaches.
And it's important to develop relationships with friends because you never know when you might or might wanna get in touch with them again, because if you had a bad relationship, it's not going to Absolutely. One of the things that I think, as reading through the book that I remember, you taught us, my parents taught me. I teach my kids and tell everyone who will listen. You know, whether I'm at a university or whatever, my mom, I'll never forget her telling me when I was a kid, never burn bridges.
Phil:[00:44:30] Never burn bridges. Right. treat everyone like you're gonna work with them someday or you're going to be their teammate someday. Right. And, and we've talked about that when you were coaching us, you said, Hey, you never know, you'll probably be playing with these guys in college or later on, at some point.
But with that was really interesting is because if you get his book, which I again recommend And you read the back of it. It has all these testimonials from other people, teammates, people. He played against coaches, all kinds of different people And all of them were. Just giving praise [00:45:00] to the man that Clyde is yes. The player, but more the man. And I will say that, not to say Oh, not to just pump up quieted cause he doesn't need that. But in order to, yeah, I asked for it nor does he want it, but it's just to show that this isn't just, these aren't just words coming out of his mouth and this is something that you never know.
Who you're going to come across later in life and it's not like, Oh, you never know what you're going to need for him. No, it's how can we work together? How can we encourage each other? How can we love each other? How can we help each other? And it was interesting to see in your book that not only were your teammates, people that you ran into later, but people that you played against when you were in England, you ended up playing with in the NASL or in the indoor league, or, you know, again were coached by or coached with, or, and so what did that look like and, what can that teach us about again, life off the pitch and in business, in other areas of life.
Clyde:[00:45:52] Well, I would always thank my mom for that, because she brought us all up in a certain way to always treat people [00:46:00] the way you want to be treated. And if you do that in life, you can't go wrong. And I live by that up until this day. And I believe in that, you know, if I'm going to call you names, you're going to call me names, that's natural, but if I'm going to respect you.
You're going to respect me and it's just basic principles, but a lot of people don't know it and all the people don't practice that, so that's where I get a lot of that from, is the upbringing. And I tell people all the time, when you have children, you have to bring them up in a certain way.
you can't let them come in and want to dictate everything to you. The parent, you have the child. And I'm sure your mom and dad tell you the same thing. We can recover from the same merits, so to speak. And that's what life's all about. You can, be out there in the world and not looking to see what's going on and everything requires your right mind.
And when you looked at trying to play catch up, so it's [00:47:00] important that. Parents understand that as a parent, you have a responsibility and your responsibility is to your children. And what you do as a parent is to make sure that children do and behave in a certain way so that when you're out, they don't embarrass you.
Because children that three and four are cute as we all say, but they can be cute and rude. So you got to step in at the early age to prevent that sort of stuff happening. And if you do that, You look at you and your brother, you know, your mom and dad done a fantastic job because you're teaching your children the same practices that your mom and dad taught you.
And that's what life's all about. It carries on and it goes around, so that's the way it should be in life.
Phil:[00:47:46] Absolutely. And, you talk about that and you look at not only parents, but coaches, you know, coaches, you have responsibility to train up your, players, not just as X's and O's, but as human beings and teachers.
[00:48:00] And, I look at it as any leader. you are, you influencing them, not just in what you have in front of you as a job or as a, game. But as life you have a privilege, a responsibility, and an honor, really, to be able to have lives in your hands, that you have the ability to impact and influence, hopefully for the good, but I look at that and go when you're playing though.
Right. So let's just go to the game itself, You're playing back when you played. it's a pretty soft game today compared to when you played. I mean, I think you'll agree with me on that. You guys beat each other up quite a bit more, but if I looked at that, I saw some guys who you, you knew.
Okay. I'm guessing you went to battle, like when you say battle, like you battled on the field, I'm guessing, but they wrote about you. Like you were a brother. So, what does that look like after the game? Or is it during the game? Like, how do you gain that respect when you're playing against each other and you probably don't have a whole lot of time together after the game or before the game.
So what does that look like in practice so that people can learn from as far as whether it's in business or in [00:49:00] any other area of life, when you're battling with people, it doesn't have to be a battle every, every minute of every day.
Clyde:[00:49:06] Well, I think the most important thing to remember when you're playing as a professional player, You got to give it your all.
And if I playing against you and I have to knock you over, I'm going to do it. Now I'll pick you up and say, Phil, get up. I'm sorry. You know, but Hey, I'm doing a job. And I think most players understand that. You know, and they respect people for that. And if they see you giving your all and you're running your socks off, they're going to say to you, Hey, this guy means business and players respect people like that, most players would tell you, they don't like soft people. People that are going to be on the field, I'm going to get my paycheck and his cost next to lose and stuff like that. They don't want that sort of stuff. they want people to give her a hundred percent, 110%. I was talking to a friend yesterday from England and I was telling them [00:50:00] he just wrote a book about a good friend of mine, Billy Burns
and I said, one thing about Billy always gave you 110, 120%. Week in, week out. That's the sort of player you want to be associated with because you know, you can rely on them because you must remember on every game day, everybody is not going to be able to play the same way. You're going to have to carry certain people.
If I like you, I'm going to try and give that same 110% that you're given. But if I don't like you or don't get on with you, you know, I might just slacken off a little bit. So it's important that when you're playing with your teammates, you respect, there, like on another, your old teammates, you know, and you're on the field, you're in the same battle, and you want to make sure that your team wins the battle.
And that's very important because if you don't play as a team, And fight for the same cause you're [00:51:00] not going to go very far.
Phil:[00:51:01] Well, I know that you need to get going today, but the good news folks is that we're going to continue this conversation hopefully soon, and we'll get that episode out.
We'll have a part two to this conversation and maybe a three who knows if Clyde will do us that honor, but we're going to get. Back and continue this conversation and talk about mentorship and integrity and hard work. And, we'll even get into some of the really important things like whether VAR is a good thing for the game or not.
you know, and some other things that I, I have no doubt that you folks out there we'll, love to hear from Clyde as well as we'll get deeper into the leadership. Conversation as well when we're able to do that. But C Thanks for joining us for this first part of this interview.
I'm I am so honored and privileged and just absolutely love it. This conversation.
Clyde:[00:51:46] It's a pleasure. You only said friends do good things for friends and that's what life's all about. So it's always a pleasure here with being with you and thanks very much.
[00:52:00] Phil:[00:52:00] Okay, definitely. Thank you and folks out there.
Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for your download. I just encourage you to go to the Facebook group for how soccer explains leadership. If you want to get in the conversation deeper, you can also, now we're on the clubhouse app. Just connect with me, Phil Darke there, and we can have conversations.
There would love to, again. Engage this conversation much deeper with you. Most importantly, right now, folks, I just hope that you're taking all that you're learning and you're using it to help you and your leadership in your life in every area of your life. And really helping you to understand how soccer does explain life and leadership.
Thanks a lot. Have a great week.
In Episode 62, we are capping off 2021 and ringing in 2022 with 20 great leadership lessons (plus a couple bonus nuggets) from our interviews over the past year. There is so much more wisdom in the full interviews, which …