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Best treble destroys Hammers

LEON BEST has an unfortunate surname.

A journeyman striker, whose signing for Newcastle United 12 months ago has heralded obscurity and cruel jokes rather than a leap towards glory, rectified matters in extraordinary fashion last night, recording a hat-trick that made light of Andy Carroll's injury.

For Alan Pardew, who was dismissed by West Ham United in 2006, it brought a satisfying day to a sparking close.

With Newcastle rebuffing an inquiry from Tottenham Hotspur for Carroll, their leading centre forward who is recuperating from a thigh injury, and completing the permanent signing of Hatem Ben Arfa from Marseille, Pardew could reflect on a remarkable few hours. Ben Arfa, who was on a season-long loan at St James' Park, has agreed a four and a half-year contract.

Given that he had failed to score in his previous 14 appearances for Newcastle, Best's selection was a sturdy show of faith by his manager. He responded with vigour, with Kevin Nolan and Peter Lovenkrands adding gilt to a scoreline that was entirely reflective of West Ham's inadequacy.

Irish Independent