Wednesday 10 Nov
Updated Wednesday 10 Nov 10:30
Club

West Ham United legend Ernie Gregory honoured at Champions Place on the 100th anniversary of his birth

Ernie Gregory

 

Wednesday 10 November 2021 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of one of the longest-serving figures in West Ham United’s history – legendary goalkeeper Ernie Gregory.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Club is delighted to announce that Gregory will be the next Hammers legend to be honoured with a Champions Place stone at London Stadium.

The announcement means that he will become the first legend to be honoured since the unveiling of the new statue at Champions Place paying tribute to Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – three players that Gregory formed a close bond with during a magnificent 51-year career as a player and coach at the Boleyn Ground.

Born in Stratford on 10 November 1921, Gregory played for West Ham Boys and was noticed by manager Charlie Paynter while playing in an English Trophy final against Preston North End at Upton Park, joining the Irons in 1936.

 

Ernie Gregory and his West Ham United teammates in 1948
Ernie Gregory and his West Ham United teammates in 1948

 

After spending time with Leytonstone as an amateur player, winning the Isthmian League in 1938, Gregory made his first Hammers appearance for the ‘A’ team in 1938. While serving with the Essex Regiment and the Royal Air Force during World War II, Gregory made more than 50 war-time appearances for the Club before making his Football League debut in a 4-1 home win over Plymouth Argyle on 28 December 1946, aged 25.

Despite the relatively late start, in all, Gregory played for West Ham for two decades, making a total of 481 appearances. He was an ever-present during the 1947/48, 1949/50 and 1952/53 seasons and also totalled 37 league appearances during the Division Two title-winning season of 1957/58 at the age of 36.

Gregory’s goalkeeping prowess also saw him produce an outstanding England B performance against France in 1952. After hanging up his gloves in 1959, he was awarded a Testimonial game the following year against LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica at the Boleyn Ground.

Ernie GregoryThe loyal east Londoner stayed with the Club and went on to coach the ‘A’ Team and reserves – nurturing the early development of Moore, Hurst, Peters and their fellow homegrown Hammers who came through the ranks following the creation of the famed Academy of Football. He later worked under John Lyall as a first team coach before finally retiring in May 1987, more than half a century after originally joining the Club.

Even in retirement, Gregory was a regular visitor to Chadwell Heath, where he passed on his immense experience to the Club’s young players and coaching staff. He passed away, aged 90, in January 2012. In the summer of 2018, he was named at No25 in the Club’s #50GreatestHammers countdown.

Champions Place is the home of thousands of supporters’ specially inscribed stones at London Stadium, giving the Claret & Blue Army their opportunity to make their mark in the Club’s history. In addition to fans’ personal tributes, Champions Place also honours some of the greatest players in West Ham history, with larger Legends stones, each dedicated to a Hammers hero or magical West Ham moment.

And you can join Ernie Gregory and his fellow Hammers legends in owning a stone at Champions Place!

Order now at championsplace.whufc.com

Champions Place provides a lasting tribute to all the players and fans, past and present, who have made West Ham United a Club loved across the world.

Personalised stones for future installation phases are available to order from just £60 – giving you the chance to make your mark at our home or purchase a unique Hammers gift.