Ronnie Boyce: The Hammers legend who debuted 58 years ago today

Ronnie Boyce


West Ham United’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Ronnie Boyce made his Football Legaue debut on this day 58 years ago.

Then just 17, the midfielder appeared in the No8 shirt for the first time as the Hammers thrashed Preston North End 5-2 in the old First Division.

In a game played under gloomy skies, in steady rain, on a muddy Boleyn Ground pitch, it was West Ham whose greater work-rate and quality ultimately won the day.

A newspaper report of Ronnie Boyce's debut
With Boyce showcasing his trademark stamina in the centre of the park, Ted Fenton’s team outlasted their opponents from Lancashire, with Malcolm Musgrove helping himself to a hat-trick and John Dick and John Bond, with a penalty, also finding the net.

The teenage debutant even went close to marking his big day with a goal, too, only to see his shot saved by Preston goalkeeper Fred Else.

He could not have known it at the time, but ‘Ticker’ was making the first of 282 First Division appearances for the Hammers spanning more than 12 years.

The East Ham-born player also scored the last-minute goal which clinched the FA Cup in 1964 and started all nine ties as the Hammers lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, and it remains a mystery why he was never rewarded for his efforts with a senior England cap.

After playing his final game in December 1972, Boyce joined the coaching staff under John Lyall, helping the Hammers add further FA Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1980, and Billy Bonds, before closing out a 40-year association with the club as a scout.

Nearly six decades on from making his First Division debut, the 75-year-old will be honoured for his outstanding contribution to West Ham United with the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2018/19 Player Awards, brought to you by Betway in aid of the Academy.

Boyce will follow in the footsteps of teammates Billy Bonds, Sir Trevor Brooking, Martin Peters and Ken Brown by being presented with the Lifetime Achievement award on Wednesday 8 May 2019 at the Arora Ballroom in the InterContinental London – The O2.

The event will also see the Betway Hammer of the Year crowned, while a host of other awards will also be presented to mark what everyone in Claret and Blue hopes will have been a successful 2018/19 campaign.

Guests will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the first-team squad and coaching staff and Hammers legends, enjoy entertainment from the house band and, for the first time, have the chance to buy their favourite player’s boots!

Hospitality and Award Sponsor packages are available now, with tables of ten from £2,950 plus VAT. Call 0303 031 1968 or click here to enquire about a package.