A true West Ham United legend is in at No23 in our #50GreatestHammers countdown, in association with Official Investment Partner Basset & Gold...
Years with West Ham United: 1959-72
Only one player could have scored the goal that secured West Ham United the club’s first major trophy and that man was Ronnie Boyce.
It was tireless midfielder Boyce whose late header won the FA Cup for the Hammers at Wembley in May 1964, snatching a 3-2 victory over gallant Second Division challengers Preston North End.
While he was known better for his stamina, commitment and ability to break up opposition attacks, Boyce found the net a career-high eleven times during that historic 1963/64 season, with the last of those goals coming in the biggest win in West Ham’s history to date.
Born just a short distance from the Boleyn Ground in East Ham in January 1943, Boyce joined West Ham as a schoolboy before making his first team debut in October 1959 in a Southern Floodlight Cup win over Millwall, when he was just 16.
A year later, aged 17, he started a First Division match for the first time as the Hammers thrashed Preston 5-2. It would not be the first time he haunted the Lancashire club, of course.
After establishing himself as a first-team regular in 1962/63, Boyce played an amazing 55 matches the following season, climaxing with two goals in the famous FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United at a rain-soaked Hillsborough, and his decisive header at Wembley six weeks later.
Nicknamed ‘Ticker’ due to his outstanding work-rate, Boyce and his teammates were back at the Home of Football in May 1965, when his interception led to Alan Sealey’s opening goal in the 2-0 European Cup Winners’ Cup final victory over TSV 1860 Munich.
By the time Boyce hung up his boots in 1972, he had played 341 times in Claret and Blue, scoring 29 goals.
He then became a key member of John Lyall’s coaching staff, helping the Hammers win two further FA Cups in 1975 and 1980, and later served as both caretaker manager and chief scout.
Now 75, Boyce resides with his family in Norfolk.