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29 October 2014

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    You are in BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks > Junior Football > Feature
    Emmerson Boyce.

    Boyce done good!

    Emmerson Boyce was Luton Town's stylish defender and is now with Crystal Palace - but his first team games were for Aylesbury United in the Chiltern Youth League!

    Emmerson at Kenilworth Road

    As a boy, Emmerson ran into a problem when he first started playing for a team - his mum and dad, Lucille and Melville, didn't want him going out during the week as they wanted him to concentrate on his school work!

    "I started playing for Aylesbury United when I was about 10. I was only allowed to go out once a week to play football because my Mum and Dad wanted me to stick to my books and they knew that my school work was more important than training."

    Emmerson Boyce.
    A young Emmerson

    And when he was just 11, Emmerson scored 73 goals in 30 games! But despite that his team kept losing out to St Joseph's. "We used to win all our games - except one - the one against St Joseph's! But we used to win all the cups.

    "It was just great to be out playing football with my mates, enjoying myself. I got to play with all my mates without a care in the world at a young age and I used to love it.

    "Nowdays there's more distractions for youngsters but when I was younger my life was more about going down to the park and playing football. I just loved playing football. But also my school work was important too."

    Emmerson said to begin with he was torn between cricket and football - his dad, Melvin, was a keen cricketer: "But then when I was 12, my manager Steve Greenhalf took me down to the Luton School of Excellence every week and I got more into just football."

    Emmerson was also selected to run for the England running team but didn't want to as it wasn't exciting enough for him.

    Emmerson Boyce.
    Emmerson in Denmark 1992

    One of the highlights was a trip to Denmark with Chiltern Youth to play teams from all over the world. One of Emmerson's team mates was Gary Doherty, who's now a defender for Tottenham Hotspur.

    After a spell of being a striker, Emmerson was moved into defence by his manager Steve Greenhalf - and he wasn't happy. "I kept sulking as I'd been a striker for two years and then I was put in defence. But my manager said that I would make it as a defender and true to his words I have.

    "Sometimes what may not seem right at the time, could work out better in the future."

    The former Quarrden Upper School pupil said Steve had been a big influence on him - along with former Luton youth team manager John Moore, who had both given him solid professional career guidance. He was also greatly helped by his parents, family and loved ones.

    Emmerson Boyce.
    Enjoying time with team-mates

    When he was 16 Emmerson left Aylesbury United to become an apprentice at Luton Town for two years. He turned professional when he was 16 and has been playing for the first team since he was 19.

    Now 24, Emmerson aspires to playing in the Premiership: "Hopefully I will fulfill my dream and one day play in the Premiership."

    Emmerson has this advice for young players: "Listen to your coaches and managers and always be ready to learn, but above all the biggest thing is to enjoy it!

    "Follow your dream and enjoy playing but also remember your school work as I'm going to college now. I hope you have a great future and play with a smile!"




    Steve Greenhalf, Aylesbury Wednesday, 18-Aug-2004 20:15:53 BST

    ".... play with a smile" really sums up Emmerson's approach to football as a youngster. During his time with Aylesbury United (now Aylesbury Athletic), Emmerson always played with a smile and a superb attitude which surely went a long way in starting him out in a professional footballing career. Even when we used to lose to St. Josephs (but as Em says, we always beat them in the Cup!), he came off the pitch happy having given 110% effort throughout the game.

    Never was there any retaliation or harsh words when he was occasionally felled by an over zealous opposition defender. He simply got up, got back onside and had another go... usually by roasting that same defender to score a goal!

    Emmerson never critisised his own team-mates in any way at all, nor did he ever 'show-off' in any way. Yes - he did whinge a bit (alright - a lot!) when I moved him into defence, but when the whistle went to start the game, his 'young professionalism' took over and he gave his all for the team.

    Emmerson makes a point that he had a great time playing with his mates. I think this point should be noted by some parents who seem to clamour to get their six year old son noticed by a professional club. Let the boys (or girls) enjoy themselves on a Sunday morning with their friends. If they are good enough they will be noticed when they are older - and maybe be a little more prepared for the harsh disappointment that comes when released.

    I'm delighted and proud - to see Emmerson realise his dream to play in the Premiership which came with his transfer to Crystal Palace this summer, and I wish him the all best of luck. (so long as Palace don't beat Arsenal !!!)
    Steve Greenhalf Aylesbury Athletic FC


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