WEST HAM 1965: Boyce: it was the best game I ever played in
PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 May 2015
Hammers star ‘Ticker’ Boyce may have scored the winner in the FA Cup final, but this was better
Ronnie Boyce was not called ‘ticker’ for nothing. He was the heart of the West Ham midfield, had scored the late winner in the FA Cup final in 1964 and was at it again in the Cup Winners’ Cup final a year later.
“For me personally, it was the best game of football I ever played in,” said Boyce, now 72. “They had a fair sprinkling of international players as well as us. It was just end-to-end and so enjoyable.”
For an East Ham boy as well as the rest of the team, Europe was all new to Boyce, but manager Ron Greenwood helped them through.
“We adapted very well I thought. Ron wanted us to play in the same way, but adapted in little areas and got on with it against good teams.
“Ron was one of those fortunate managers who could go to a game and spot where a team was short in places and where you could take advantage of that. He has to take a lot of credit for our win that year.”
So did Ronnie. It was his pass that found Alan Sealey for the vital first goal. “Alan hadn’t played in the FA Cup final, but Peter Brabrook was out so he came in and it was great to see him score both goals,” explained Boyce.
“Then, of course, he had an accident the following season when we were playing cricket which was such a shame – he was a great lad.”
So what does Boyce remember about West Ham’s first outing in Europe? It is the little things. “We played one in Switzerland and before the game we were in the pool,” said Boyce with a smile.
“Brian Dear was in there and couldn’t swim and it was one of those pools which suddenly got deeper. In the end I think Geoff Hurst had to dive in and get him.
“Over in Prague we had just got in front and I remember their antics, crowding the ref and saying ‘five minutes more, five minutes more! Luckily we held on.”
Many wonder why this West Ham team did not push on in the league in the following seasons, but that is not something that worries the heart of the team.
Boyce added: “I’m not too sure how many players we added and if we had brought a few more in, who is to say what we could’ve done, but it is safe to say that I sleep nicely when I’m thinking about the FA Cup and the Cup Winners Cup.”
Quite right too!