West Ham United legend Billy Bonds MBE admitted to being 'truly moved' by the reception he received from supporters on his return to the Boleyn Ground.
Bonds told of his huge pride after receiving a deafening welcome as he was presented with the Club's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award ahead of Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League win over Cardiff City.
Joined by his family, the Hammers' all-time leading appearance-maker accepted his award and the amazing reception with the humility that made him a true great in E13. Speaking to SportsDirect News, Bonds said he had enjoyed an 'amazing day' among the fans who adore him.
BILLY BONDS TRIBUTE ON WEST HAM TV I PHOTO GALLERY
"Saturday as one of the most wonderful experiences of my life," said the four-times Hammer of the Year. "I was truly moved. Those incredible fans are something else. They have always been the same to me. When I see them out and about they always come over and thanked me for what I've done for the club.
"To receive the award in front of a full Upton Park was so emotional. It was so good to experience the warmth of the crowd.
"I'm also grateful to the new owners who have done everything they can to welcome me back into the club. I want to thank them. It was an amazing day for myself and my family. I wanted to take my grandchildren out there. Honestly, I could have stayed out there all afternoon.
"I'll remember those moments for the rest of my life."
Joint-Chairman David Gold joined Bonds, his family, manager Sam Allardyce and Tony Wright from Award sponsors Locke Lord on the pitch for the ceremony to present the 66-year-old with his LIfetime Achievement Award.
As a lifelong West Ham fan, the Joint-Chairman was thrilled to be in the presence of a man who made 793 appearances in claret and blue over a 21-year period, lifting the FA Cup in 1975 and 1980.
He said: "He was a legend to me and every West Ham supporter but he left this club under a cloud. I and David Sullivan were determined to put things right because he was an incredible servant, hero and probably most of all - a great man.
"It was wonderful to see him in the Boardroom afterwards talking about the old days with Trevor Brooking. He also spent around an hour with my schoolboy pal who goes to every match with me.
"We didn't know him when they first met but he was so generous with his time. He's a man of whom we should all be very proud."