West Ham United to name London Stadium stand after legendary club figure Billy Bonds

6 Feb

West Ham have announced they will name a stand at the London Stadium in honour of former captain and manager Billy Bonds.

The 72-year-old is the Irons’ record appearance holder, playing some 799 games, and twice lifting the FA Cup, in 1975 and 1980.

The current East Stand at the London Stadium, which holds more than 20,000 supporters, is to be officially unveiled ahead of the Premier League match against Newcastle on March 2.

A stand at the London Stadium is set to be named in Billy Bonds’ honour

The move sees Bonds join former Hammers players Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking in having a dedicated stand at the club.

Bonds said: “I have so many great memories of this club and this really is the icing on the cake. It’s a great honour and means so much to me and my family.

“To think that I am only the third West Ham player to receive this honour after Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking – you can’t get better than that. Two people that I admire, two great footballers, and two great friends.

“I am very lucky – I have had such great support at this club over the years. The fans have always been great to me, from day one.

“The one thing I always did was give effort, first and foremost, and if the West Ham fans see that, they will forgive a lot of things.”

Bonds added on the West Ham website: “It will be lovely for my family. I have two daughters and two granddaughters, and they can’t wait to come to London Stadium to see it.

West Ham’s London Stadium

“I’m getting on a bit now, into my 70s, but it will be great – when I’m no longer around – for my granddaughters to come here and say ‘That’s Granddad’s stand’. That will be lovely.”

Bonds joined from Charlton in May 1967, initially as a right-back before moving into midfield. He was part of the West Ham side which reached the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1976 and later, in a central defence alongside Alvin Martin, won the 1980/81 Second Division title.

After moving into a coaching role with the youth team, Bonds was given the manager’s job in February 1990 following the departure of Lou Macari.

Billy Bonds made 799 appearances for the Hammers

Under Bonds, the Irons secured promotion back to the top flight. Although relegated again at the end of the 1991/92 season after finishing bottom, the former captain oversaw another successful campaign, finishing as runners-up to Newcastle.

Having guided West Ham to 13th place in the Premier League, Bonds resigned in early August 1994, and was replaced by Harry Redknapp. Bonds later had a short spell in charge at Millwall.

Joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said in a statement: “Since moving to London Stadium, it has always been our desire and intention to ensure that Billy is appropriately recognised, and his name will now stand permanently and proudly at our home.

The West Ham owners have been keen to honour Billy Bond’s contribution to the club

“To West Ham United supporters, Billy Bonds epitomises the very heart and soul of our football club.

“This honour is another hugely-positive step for the club at London Stadium.

“With 60,000 supporters now in attendance at a home, that pays fitting tribute to our unique heritage and the greatest players in our history, we look forward to a bright and successful future.”