Best Jerry Image 1 Darlington 1936

Best Jerry Image 1 Darlington 1936


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Mickley, Northumberland born outside left Jerry Best began his football career after the First World War playing for Mickley Colliery Welfare, from where he was bought by First Division Newcastle United for £100 in December 1919, making his Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers in March 1920. After one further appearance for The Toon he joined Leeds United in July 1920 and lined up in Leeds’ inaugural League fixture at Port Vale that August, scoring once in 11 appearances in the autumn of 1920 before leaving for the nascent American soccer leagues in early 1921.

By 1924 he had joined the Providence Clamdiggers of the American Soccer League. In his first season in the League, he scored 20 goals in 29 games. In 1925, he moved to the New Bedford Whalers where he remained for the next four seasons, where he scored 66 goals in 162 matches. In 1929, moved to the Fall River Marksmen, scoring once in 2 games and before moving to Pawtucket Rangers the same year, scoring 15 times in 17 games before returning to New Bedford Whalers, where he was the League’s top scorer in 1930 scoring 35 goals in just 31 games.

With The Depression in full swing in the United States he then returned to England and joined Clapton Orient in August 1931, where he was a consistent performer for two seasons at Millfields Road, scoring 17 goals in 55 appearances until he lost his place in March 1933. He didn’t play for The O’s again before a move to Darlington in October 1933, and it was at Feethams that he produced the sort of form that had made him such a deadly marksman in America. He scored hat-tricks against Southport and Halifax Town in successive games amid a total of 16 goals for The Quakers in 1933-34 that saw him top score by a single goal over Tom Anderson from a dozen less games played. This included a goal in the Third Division Cup semi final win over Wrexham and a goal in their 4-3 Third Division Cup Final win over Stockport County at Old Trafford in the inaugural Final of the competition.

In 1934-35 he lit the blue touch paper scoring 33 goals in the campaign as Darlington finished fifth in the Third Division (North) with hat-tricks against Crewe Alexandra, Rochdale and Rotherham United, following up his prolific season with a further 25 goals in their 1935-36 campaign when he again finished the club’s top goalscorer, one ahead of Alderson. His total included a hat-trick in the Third Division Cup semi final win over Oldham Athletic although they lost the Final to Chester. In October 1936 he transferred to Hull City after 80 goals in 124 appearances for Darlington, spending the rest of the season with The Tigers scoring 11 goals in 32 appearances including 4 goals in a 5-2 win over Tranmere Rovers in December 1936, before joining non league Hexham in the 1937 close season, his final club before his eventual retirement.


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