Yesterday evening (02/03/2019) saw a special day in the history of my beloved football team West Ham Untied – when one of the stands in its London Stadium home, was officially named after one of the clubs greatest ever, and much loved and respected players – who holds the club record for appearances – the one and only and legendary…….”Billy Bonds” 🥅⚽️🏃♂️ 🔨🔨🔨
Billy was born in Woolwich, south London in 1946.
Billy Bonds made his debut as a professional footballer for Charlton Athletic in February 1965 and became a regular in the first team, going on to make 95 League appearances, and scoring one goal.
He joined West Ham from Charlton Athletic in may 1967 for the sum of £50,000 (I attended my very first Hammers game in the 1967/68 season v Southampton – we lost 1-0 😔).
This quiet and extremely private gentleman, had a swash-buckling buccaneering never-say-die attitude on the pitch, and was well known for his tough tackling and his leadership skills – traits that endeared him to the Hammers faithful, old and new. ⚽️🏃♂️😘
After the departure from West Ham United, of the late great Bobby Moore in March 1974, Bonds was appointed club captain, and went on to lift the FA Cup for West Ham in 1975 (v Fulham – winning 2-0) and again in 1980 (v Arsenal – winning 1-0), and he also led the side to the European Cup Winners Cup Final in 1976 v Anderlecht – a game which unfortunately they lost 4-2. 🏆🏆🥈
Billy played his last competitive game for West Ham in April 1988 age the grand old age of 41 – and clocked up a club record of “799” appearances, which most probably, will never be beaten – especially with the way the game is today. 😋🏅
In 1988 Billy Bonds was awarded the MBE. 🏅😊
In 1990 he returned back to the club when he was appointed first team Manager – winning 2 promotions from Div 2 to Div 1 (now known as the Championship and the Premier League). ⚽️🏆👍
So – before West Ham’s match against Newcastle Utd yesterday evening – as he walked onto the pitch accompanied by his family – Billy Bonds was given a guard of honour consisting of a whole bunch of players that he had played alongside throughout his time at the club – Billy’s entrance was met with a crescendo of applause, cheers and singing, that continued throughout the entire match – and it was clearly evident that this legendary ‘hard man’ of football who never ever pulled-out of a tackle, was truly moved by the occasion and all the respect and love being showered upon him. ⚽️🏃♂️
Accompanied by the club’s joint Chairman David Gold – Billy cut-the-ribbon that officially gave the East Stand (where I have my season ticket) the title of the ‘Billy Bonds Stand’. 🙌👍
A fitting and well deserved tribute to a true West Ham legend – the one and only “Billy Bonds” – an occasion that I can now very happily say “I was there” ☺️ 🔨🔨🔨🔨