Experienced centre forward Jeremiah “Jerry” Best served City for the majority of the 1936/37 season. Joining the club in October 1936, he started every game for the remainder of the season and scored 11 goals. His best achievements were four goals in a 5-1 thumping of Tranmere in the week before Christmas 1936, and a brace in a 4-1 win at Southport in mid-January 1937. He left the club in the 1937 close season and returned to play lower league football for Hexham FC in his native Northumberland.
Born in Mickley, on the south bank of the River Tyne between Gateshead and Hexham, Best played for his local side and worked in the colliery before joining Newcastle United in December 1919. He made only two First Division appearances for the Magpies before joining the newly formed Leeds United in July 1920. He stayed only one season at Elland Road, making 11 appearances and scoring once against Port Vale, before returning north to play for County Durham junior side Leadgate FC.
In October 1923 Best ventured to the United States to begin an eight year association with various clubs in the professional American Soccer League, which drew many of its players from the Scottish and Irish leagues. In 1923/24 he played for Newark Skeeters, then in 1924/25 scored 20 goals for the tremendously-named Providence Clamdiggers. In 1925 Jerry joined New Bedford Whalers where in four seasons he scored 66 goals in 162 appearances as the Whalers twice finished league runners-up, won the Lewis Cup in 1926 and were losing finalists in 1929. In 1929 he played briefly for Fall River Marksmen, the Whalers’ local rivals and the club that dominated the American Soccer League claiming six titles in the 1920s, but the league was abandoned after a few games. In 1930 he played for Pawtucket Rangers, then returned to Massachusetts to play again for New Bedford Whalers in the 1930 fall season, scoring a handsome 35 goals and finishing the League’s top goalscorer. Overall Jerry scored 138 goals in the ASL, placing him 6th on the all-time list for a League that ran between 1921 and 1931.
By 1931 a combination of economic failure after the 1929 Great Depression and inter-league battles resulted in the American Soccer League beginning to collapse and Best returned to England, signing for Clapton Orient in August 1931. After sixty appearances for the East London side and a summer spent playing and coaching in Switzerland, Best joined Darlington in October 1933. Over three years at Feethams he scored an impressive 68 goals in 109 matches ahead of his move to Hull City in October 1936.
In 1939 Best had returned to live in Darlington with his wife Ivy and was working in a forge mill. He remained in Darlington for the rest of his life and died in March 1975.
Date/Place of Birth: 23 January 1901, Mickley
Hull City First Game: 31 October 1936, Chester A (Division Three North), 35 years, 282 days old
Hull City Final Game: 1 May 1937, Darlington H (Division Three North), 36 years, 98 days old
Mickley FC, Newcastle United (1919-1920), Leeds United (1920-1921), Leadgate FC (1921-1923), Newark Skeeters (1923-1924), Providence Clamdiggers (1924-1925), New Bedford Whalers (1925-1929), Fall River Marksmen (1929), Pawtucket Rangers (1930), New Bedford Whalers (1930-1931), Clapton Orient (1931-1933), Darlington (1933-1936), Hull City (1936-1937), Hexham FC
Hull City Record
Career: 32 apps, 11 goalsJerry Best