Ashton Town have managed to sign up an ex-Premier League star who is currently aged nearly 41 years old, showing he’s certainly still got it.
It’s that time of year where we can often see former Premier League and English Football League footballers find themselves at clubs in the non league pyramid.
The latest of those to do so is Emmerson Boyce, who had initially retired from the game, after being released by Blackpool in 2016.
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Ashton Town said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Emmerson Boyce to the club, the former Wigan Athletic player and captain of the Wigan team who won the FA Cup, has come out of retirement to join the club and we are very happy he has decided to join! Welcome Emmerson!
Emmerson said: “I’m excited about pulling my boots back on. Mark is a great guy with an amazing kind heart. He has done so much for Joseph Goal [charity] with out the full recognition within football.
“I asked him if there is anything I could do for him, I think tongue in cheek he said would I play for his team, I think he had a shock when I said yes.
“I’ve been commentating for BBC Manchester and realised how much I’ve missed playing, I am still fit and healthy and still got a lot to give.
“So many former players always say to me I should keep on playing till you physically can’t.
“Few teams have asked me in the past but I always turned them down as i need a reason to light the fire in my belly.
“I am looking forward to training next week with my new team mates and looking forward to the new season ahead. I would like to thank Mark and Ashton Town football club in giving me this opportunity and re-lighting my fire again.”
“With this pandemic and the situation at the DW Stadium, I suppose this also gives the Wigan fans something to talk about or even to come down and watch a former player – obviously within the safety guidelines.”
Boyce spent nearly a decade at Latics as a player and since retiring, has been busy helping others by coaching juniors, men’s and women’s teams.
“My passion is to give something back to football. No matter what level,” he said.
“I’ve set up the Emmerson Boyce Football Academy which is based in the Wigan, Warrington and Altrincham areas so far.
“Ex Wigan player Neil Rimmer is one of my coaches and we often have some of my former team-mates come down and put on some sessions.
“This has given me so much satisfaction, my passion is football, as everyone knows I captained the Barbados national team.
“So we are in the process of finalising a second academy in Barbados as well as the Emmerson Boyce Foundation to help local communities give opportunities and create pathways through sport and education.”
Meanwhile, he is backing the supporters club-led bid to raise cash to save his former club. More than £250,000 has been donated since the ‘Save our club’ campaign was launched on Wednesday, in a bid to part-own the club – or even act as a safety net should no buyer take over. It can be reached here”Maybe one day I will return to the DW Stadium,” he added. “Maybe not as a manager yet but I would love to be on the board.
“I have done my governance courses through the effective Board Member with the PFA and think it’s important to have a voice from the fans on any football board.
“This is just my opinion after the recent events at Wigan Athletic Football Club.”
Ashton Town are in the North West Counties North division, the same league that AFC Bury have started in this season. Fixtures are not yet announced, however the season is scheduled to start on October 3.
Town chairman Hayes said: “I am obviously absolutely delighted to sign Emmerson.
“I am a firm believer of believing in your dreams, and if I can make people smile with them, then even better. This for me is simply magical to have him pull on an Ashton Town shirt.
“With all that has gone on at Wigan Athletic recently this hopefully gives every single fan something to smile about. Emmerson will always be our immortal legend, and it literally is my proudest moment as Ashton Town chairman to welcome him to the club.”
Chimbonda, who was on the bench for France in the 2006 World Cup Final against Italy, only played four matches for the club due to the commute from his home in Newcastle.
Hayes added: “When Pascal signed it was much more than a publicity stunt. It literally gives a non-league club the biggest ever lift both on and off the field.
“The lads gain vital experience playing and training alongside an outstanding ex-professional from the game, and the knowledge that they pass on is simply priceless.
“This season we are going in a different direction at the club following the summer announcement of ex-Bury, and former Wigan target, Glynn Hurst as manager.
“Glynn has brought professionalism and new ways of working to the club that I am certain will bring in success. Then add in Boycey, then this could be a very special season.”
EMMERSON BOYCE’S CAREER:
1990–1995 – Aylesbury Athletic
1995–1998 – Luton Town
1998–2004 – Luton Town – 186 games (8 goals)
2004–2006 – Crystal Palace – 69 games (2 goals)
2006–2015 – Wigan Athletic – 263 games (13 goals)
2015–2016 – Blackpool – 26 games (0 goals)
2020– Ashton Town
Total – 544 games (22 goals)
2008–2016 – Barbados – 12 games (3 goals)
Fans reacted on social media site Twitter as Ashton Town sign the ex-Premier League star…
Welcome to the club.
— Neil ‘jocky’ hanson. (@jocky_40) August 29, 2020
Good luck Emmerson, stay safe thanks for the great memories. Good luck Ashton Town you have a great champion with you.
— David Shaw (@DShaw50) August 29, 2020
Good Luck Emmerson! ?⚽️
— WAFC Community Trust (@LaticsCommunity) August 29, 2020
Welcome Emerson, enjoy the journey.
— Glynn Hurst (@hurst_glynn) August 29, 2020
Good luck Boycie. Latics legend ?
— Jono Magnus Lilley (@jono_lilley) August 29, 2020
Bloody that’s what you call a free signing
— LittleFootMcDonnell (@MaisonMcDonnell) August 29, 2020
Emmerson at the back.. Robbo in attack ??
— Harvey Marsden (@harveymarsden) August 29, 2020