Former Newcastle striker Leon Best may have just seen his career come to a premature end.
In October (see below), we reported that he had been taken on a trial by League One Charlton, the club where former Newcastle midfielder Lee Bowyer is now assistant manager.
After impressing, he was given a short-term contract until the end of January to prove himself and earn a longer-term deal.
However, when making his fifth league appearance on New Year’s Day for Charlton, it has all gone wrong.
A second-half substitute, Leon Best only lasted seven minutes himself before being subbed, after a bad tackle left him in agony – Charlton furious that they didn’t get a penalty as they went down 2-1 at home to Gillingham.
Best had suffered badly with knee injury problems previously and Charlton boss Karl Robinson has now revealed that the prognosis is anything but good.
“He’s out for between nine to 12 months.
“It is not good news and it’s not been a good morning.
“It is ligaments, it’s well, take your pick in the knee I believe.
“We can’t get a very precise timescale on it.
“He still has to go and see another specialist – but looking at the scans from last night, it’s not good.”
Leon Best is 31 now and very difficult to see him playing professional football of any kind of a standard again, having had this latest massive setback.
The Mag – 12 October 2017:
It is easy to forget that Leon Best played a significant part in the first half of the season when Newcastle United finished fifth under Alan Pardew.
Best made 18 appearances including 16 starts, with four goals, as he played a supporting role to Demba Ba, before Papiss Cisse was signed and then got involved in February 2012.
This season the now 31 year old striker has found himself without a club, having been released by Ipswich.
Last October, Leon Best actually came back and played at St James Park for the first time since leaving for Blackburn back in summer 2012.
Leon Best – 21 October 2016:
“Some great memories (when at Newcastle) and the first time I will be back there.
“Definitely looking forward to it and hopefully we can get a win.
“The crowd is massive there, it is known they are the twelfth man and they have been on a good run, they definitely have.
“But I think the boys seem really up for it and we have scored goals and another clean sheet (beat Burton 2-0 at home on Tuesday), so we will be going up there with confidence.”
Newcastle cruised to a 3-0 win in that game and it proved to be the last Championship start he would make for Ipswich, Mick McCarthy losing patience with Leon Best, who failed to score a single goal in him time at Portman Road.
Now though, Charlton manager Karl Robinson has confirmed that Leon Best is training with the South London club.
The Charlton boss (Lee Bowyer is his assistant) saying that Best actually contacted them, asking for a trial.
“Leon Best is here for a few weeks, he’s training.
“He certainly adds a bit more depth to us.
“We will just have to see what materialises.
“I know the club tried to sign him two times in the past. It never happened.
“And just on record, he contacted me. So that’s always a positive start.
“He’s powerful and quick. That’s surprised me. I don’t think he’s played competitive football since January.”
As well as his contribution to the fifth place finish in 2011/12, two other days stand out for Leon Best at Newcastle.
His hat-trick in a 5-0 win over West Ham and playing his part, including scoring the second goal, in the 4-4 fightback against Arsenal.