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Ron Boyce Testimonial ...


by Roger Hillier

Manchester United Boyce Test

Testimonial games range from the very competitive to light hearted kick abouts. They also include the opportunity for clubs to trial guest players and to test new team formations. One such testimonial game was Ron Boyce’s on Monday November 13, 1972.

Boyce's testimonial match was the 11th in the club’s history and he was the 5th player from 1964’s FA Cup triumph to be honoured. His followed John Bond's (1966), Ken Brown's (1967), Bobby Moore's (1970) and Geoff Hurst's (1971).

After 12 seasons of first team action covering over 330 competitive first team appearances, Ron was a worthy recipient of a benefit game. Appropriately the opposition was the team from one of Ron’s two career defining performances, the 1964 FA Cup semi-finalists Manchester United. The ex-West Ham connection of Manchester United’s manager Frank O’Farrell and coach Malcolm Musgrove probably helped attract the Red Devils for the friendly.


Manchester United honoured Boyce by fielding a very strong XI which included Bobby Charlton, Goerge Best, Sammy McIlroy, Alex Stepney, David Sadler and future Hammer to be Ted McDougall. International calls deprived the match of Martin Buchan, Willie Morgan and Dennis Law from Manchester United and Bobby Moore from the Hammers.  

West Ham used the match as an opportunity to try some new tactics in near competitive conditions.  Up front Ron Greenwood moved Dudley Tyler to lead the attack, and introduced Kevin Lock to the middle three, to the exclusions of Clyde Best and Pat Holland respectively. Though Best later appeared as a substitute on the right wing in place of Johnny Ayris.


The change in tactics had a positive impact as Tyler’s goals gave West Ham a 2-1 half time lead. Not to be out done Bryan 'Pop' Robson scored a second half brace.  This was the season Robson scored his magnificant 28 league goals to top the Division One scoring tables and win the Golden Boot award.

Manchester United Line-up:

A. Stepney (J. Rimmer 46 mins), O’Neill, Edwards, A.Young (E. Young 58 mins), S. James, D. Sadler, G.Best, T. MacDougall, B. Charlton, S. McIIroy (Kidd 46 mins), Moore.

* George Luke guested for West Ham. Luke had been training with the Hammers  and was very fortunate as Ron Greenwood gave him the chance to impress when bought on as a substitute for the last 30 minutes. He had been introduced to West Ham by ex-Hammer Johnny Byrne after Luke had been a member of Byrne’s Durban City squad.  

A former Chelsea youth player,  who as far as we know never made a football league appearance.  

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West Ham United 5 - 2 Manchester United (HT 2-1)

Upton Park

Monday November 13, 1972

West Ham United:

Tyler 2 (25 & 40 mins), Robson 2 (60 & 82 mins), Brooking (70 mins)


Manchester United:

McIlroy (35 mins), Kidd (86 mins)


Attendance: 19,247

Bobby Ferguson

John McDowell

Frank Lampard

Billy Bonds (Luke* 60 mins)

Tommy Taylor

Ron Boyce (Captain)

Johnny Ayris (Clyde Best 60 mins)

Kevin Lock

Dudley Tyler

Trevor Brooking

Bryan Robson.

Manager Ron Greenwood and Ron Boyce before the match

Ron Boyce gives a public thank you to the crowd before the match

BOYCE Ron Testimonial 05


Ron Boyce checks the time at 7:30 p.m. prior to the kick-off with Manchester United

The West Ham goals flowed as follows:


1st goal 25 min: Tyler was played through by Brooking to score.

McIlroy equalises with a shot deflected by Tommy Taylor’s back.


2nd goal 40 mins: Tyler restores the Hammers lead with United’s defence looking to the linesman for an offside call.


3rd goal 60 mins: Brooking sends Ayris away who centres for Robson to score.


4th goal 70 mins: Brooking intercepted well and passed to Robson who was clear on the right, and coolly netted the return pass.


5th goal 82 mins: Lampard overlapped on the left for Tyler’s pass and crossed for Robson to score his second.


With seven goals the game stayed reasonably competitive even to the extent that Brian Kidd had to act as a peacemaker between Ted MacDougall and John McDowell.  

A wave to the crowd at the end of his 'Big night'

Players left to right: Bobby Charlton, Ted MacDougall, Dudley Tyler, John McDowell, George Luke (guest player), Brian Kidd, Ron Boyce, Tommy Taylor and Kevin Lock.

BOYCE Ron Testimonial 01

Ron Boyce with Man of the Match: Two Goal Dudley Tyler


In the month after his testimonial Ron made his final two competitive first team games as substitute. His final appearance was away at Leicester City on December 30, 1972.  With his first team days over he started on his coaching career when he joined John Lyall's coaching staff, and later as Billy Bonds' first team coach. Staying with the Hammers he even took charge for one first team game when Lou Macari resigned. His final Hammers' role was as chief scout until he retired in October 1995.

Tyler goal

Dudley Tyler. wearing the number nine for the first time,

slot his second goal past Alex Stepney

Benefit & Testimonial Ken Brown Testimonial Billy Bonds Testimonial