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!
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."
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.
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.
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!"
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
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!
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.
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.
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