Boleyn People - Ron Pearce

Ron Pearce recounts some of his favourite memories over the past 24 years
Stadium safety manager Ron Pearce recounts some of his stand out memories over the past 24 years at the Hammers...


I started working at West Ham back in 1990, first just as a casual worker before becoming a permanent member of staff two years later.

The opportunity to work for the club my family has supported for generations funnily enough came through my brother-in-law John Ball.  

At first, I came in most afternoons after my full time job before becoming permanent. I was deputy safety officer until John retired, then I was moved up.

Before West Ham I actually worked in a number of different jobs, I was an accountant in the fish trade, a milkman and a civil servant.

My first ever game here was an 8-2 defeat to Blackburn, so hardly the best start to life as a Hammer!
I used to work on Saturdays so I couldn’t go to games too often but whenever I could, I did. 

My routine on a Saturday morning was always go to the pictures at the local Odeon and after that, come round and get in the queue for the north bank.


BORN in New Barn Street which is just by the Abbey Arms, I now live in Prince Regent Lane which is even nearer the ground. I have a five minute journey to work, which has always suited to me; I don’t like travelling to work.

I remember when I first walked through the door; I thought ‘Yes, I’m here!’

It’s a dream really to see the players you see on TV and in the papers up close. You see them walking through and saying ‘hello’; you think ‘I’ve made it’. After a while, you do get used to it but there is a transition, and I remember that feeling very clearly.

It’s nice to say I’ve met so or so but I’ve honestly never been star struck. Nowadays, I just treat the players like everyone else.


I love this story and I tell everyone so apologies if you have heard this one before; my first ever ball boys were Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard!

They always wanted to sit next to each other, and they created hell if I told them to go to opposite ends of the pitch.

Obviously, they both went on to be great players, but they are even better people. I still get on really well with them.

Some people thought Frank played purely because of who his father was, but he has since shown his talent time and again over the years. Back then, Rio was playing as a midfielder and probably had the talent to stay there, had he wanted to.   


OF the current squad, I know Mark Noble the best, we’ve grown up together. My son Jon, who works as the kitman at Birmingham City, went to Woodside School together. We were back there the other day as Mark was opening a new building in the name of a teacher that had recently died.


I do feel a huge attachment to this ground, after all these years you can’t not. I’m already planning what I’m going to write on the wall, I want to be the last person to say their goodbyes!

The idea of 54,000 fans next season is not a problem, from a security and safety point of view there are the same issues and risks from 5,000 to 54,000 fans.

The biggest thing you need to guard against is complacency. For the first game of the season you make sure everything is ready, everything is as good as it can be. As the season goes on there is a tendency to say, ‘Well this’ll work, that’ll work’ but you can’t afford to do that.