We’re down to number 25 in the #50GreatestHammers countdown, in association with Official Investment Partner Basset & Gold...
Years with West Ham United: 1938-59
With over half-a-century of service to the Hammers to his name, Ernie Gregory is a true West Ham United legend.
Born in Stratford, there was only every going to be one Club for Gregory to make his mark at as a professional, and he would go on to fill the roles of player, coach and administrator at the Boleyn Ground with distinction.
He had already impressed at the home of the Hammers before he had joined the Club, starring as West Ham Boys defeated Preston North End in an English Trophy final.
Ernie caught the eye of Hammers manager Charlie Paynter and joined the Club’s groundstaff in 1936.
Due to the outbreak of the Second World War, when he served with the Essex Regiment and Royal Air Force, he would have to wait a further decade to make his Football League debut in Claret & Blue, but he soon set about making up for lost time.
He was an ever-present between the sticks for the 1947/48, 1949/50 and 1952/53 seasons, and was also a regular member of the team which won the Division Two title and promotion to the top flight in 1958.
The following season he would play 32 games as the Hammers finished as high as sixth in their first Division One campaign in 26 years.
Gregory’s playing career was reaching its end by this stage, however, and he played his final game for the Club at the age of 37 in September 1959.
His retirement from playing did not mean he would leave the Club, and he remained at the Hammers, first coaching the reserves, then the first team, and finally moving into team administration.
Gregory would not leave the Hammers until May 1987, a remarkable 51 years after he first stepped through the Boleyn Ground door.