Emmerson Boyce

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Emmerson Boyce
Emmerson Boyce - Wigan Athletic v Birmingham City, 5th December 2009.jpg
Personal information
Full name Emmerson Orlando Boyce[1]
Date of birth (1979-09-24) 24 September 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth Aylesbury, England
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Wigan Athletic
Number 17
Youth career
1990–1995 Aylesbury Athletic
1995–1998 Luton Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2004 Luton Town 185 (8)
2004–2006 Crystal Palace 69 (1)
2006– Wigan Athletic 258 (13)
National team
2008– Barbados 7 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:10, 20 March 2015 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 8 September 2014

Emmerson Orlando Boyce (born 24 September 1979) is a professional footballer who currently plays for Wigan Athletic. He usually plays as a right back, but can also play in the centre of defence or at right wingback.

Born in Aylesbury, England, Boyce started his career at the age of sixteen as an apprentice at Luton Town. He rose through the ranks and eventually established himself in the first team, and went on to make 185 league appearances for the club, scoring eight goals.

He joined Crystal Palace on a free transfer in 2004, where he played in the Premier League for the first time, but he and his teammates were unable to prevent the club from being relegated to the Championship. He spent two years at the club, making 69 league appearances and scoring one goal.

After Crystal Palace failed to gain promotion, Boyce returned to Premier League football in 2006, this time with Wigan Athletic after completing a move for a fee of £1 million, and was a key player during his first season when the club narrowly avoided relegation. He has remained an active member of the first-team throughout his spell at Wigan, and is the club's Premier League appearance record holder.

In May 2013, he captained Wigan Athletic to victory in the 2013 FA Cup Final in a 1–0 win over Manchester City.

Boyce has also represented the Barbados national team, making his debut for the side in 2008.

Club career[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Boyce was born on 24 September 1979 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He grew up in Elmhurst with his parents, Lucille and Melvin,[3] and attended Quarrendon CE Secondary School,[4] where he set athletics records.[5] He began playing football for his local team Aylesbury United at the age of ten.[6] He played as a striker for two years before being moved to his more familiar position in defence. Boyce was initially unhappy about being moved into his new position, but coach Steve Greenhalf believed Boyce could successfully become a professional footballer as a defender.[3] From the age of twelve, Boyce attended the Luton School of Excellence, and in the summer of 1995 he became an apprentice at Luton Town.[7]

Luton Town[edit]

Kenilworth Road, the ground where Boyce made his debut

Boyce spent three years playing for Luton's youth team, where he played alongside Gary Doherty and Matthew Upson. The team reached the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup in 1997.[8] He signed professional terms with the club in 1998, and made his debut on 5 January 1999 in a 3–0 home defeat against Walsall in the Auto Windscreens Shield.[9] He appeared once more later in the season, making his league debut in April 1999, in a 1–0 defeat against Lincoln City. At the start of the following season, he was regularly on the substitutes bench, but due to the poor form of first choice right-back Stuart Fraser he was given the opportunity to start the match at home against Chesterfield on Boxing Day.[8] He kept his place in the starting lineup and played 30 times in the league during the season, and scored his first goal for the club in a 2–1 defeat against Bournemouth in February 2000.[10] Boyce started the 2000–01 season in the centre of defence. New Luton manager Ricky Hill praised Boyce for his "tremendous" displays,[11] and felt he deserved a call-up to the England under-21 squad.[12] He played 42 times in the league, scoring three goals as Luton were relegated to the Third Division.

Boyce was a key figure in the following season for Luton as they gained promotion back into the Second Division, and he was rewarded with a new two-year contract.[13] Despite strong competition for places, he continued playing regularly for Luton in the 2002–03 season, making 34 appearances in the league. During his final season with the club, he made 42 league appearances, scoring four goals, and his performances were recognised when he received the Players' Player, Supporters' Player and Internet Player of the Season awards.[14] In the summer of 2004, he rejected a new contract with Luton and decided to leave the club after his existing contract expired.[7]

Crystal Palace[edit]

Following a short trial,[15] Boyce moved to Crystal Palace in July 2004 on a free transfer, signing a two-year deal with the club.[16] He made his debut on 14 August 2004 in Palace's opening Premier League game against Norwich City,[17] and quickly established himself as the club's first-choice right back,[18] and played in almost every league game for the club until a foot injury in March 2005 ruled him out for the rest of the season.[19] The incident occurred during a training session, shortly after Boyce had signed a new deal extending his contract until 2007.[16] Palace were then relegated on the final day of the season after drawing in their match against Charlton Athletic.[20] He returned to the starting line-up in the first game of the new season in the Championship against former club Luton Town.[21] He was a near ever-present throughout the campaign, making 42 league appearances for the club, and scored what would be his only league goal during his time at Palace in a 2–0 win over Coventry City in November 2005.[22] Palace missed out on promotion however, losing in the play-off semi-finals to Watford.[23] Boyce had become a favourite with Palace fans and was voted Player of the Year in 2006.[24]

With 12 months remaining on his current contract, Boyce rejected a new deal with Palace, stating his desire to return to the Premier League.[25] Rather than letting him leave for free at the end of his contract per the Bosman ruling, Palace accepted an offer for Boyce from Wigan Athletic.

Wigan Athletic[edit]

Boyce lining up for Wigan Athletic in 2009.

On 1 August 2006, Boyce was signed by Wigan Athletic on a four-year deal for an initial fee of £1 million.[26] He was initially signed as a replacement on the right side of defence for Pascal Chimbonda,[27] but was often deployed as a centre back.[28] He made his debut for the club on 19 August 2006 in a Premier League match against Newcastle United.[29] He made 34 league appearances during the season, helping the club avoid relegation, which was confirmed on the final day of the season in a 2–1 win against Sheffield United.[30] His performances earned him praise from Wigan supporters, and he narrowly missed out on the club's Player of the Year award.[31]

At the start of the 2007–08 season, following the signing of Mario Melchiot as the club's new first choice right-back, Boyce found his first team opportunities more limited. However, after a poor start to the season by Wigan, he returned to the starting line-up, which saw an upturn in results,[32] and the club once again avoided relegation. He made 25 league appearances during the season,[31] most of which came during the second half of the season.

On 15 November 2008, he was sent off for the first time in his career in a 2–2 draw against Newcastle United, after receiving a second yellow card.[33] Replays showed that the decision was harsh, and Wigan manager Steve Bruce called for rule changes to allow clubs to appeal against yellow cards, and also to introduce video technology.[34] Two weeks later, on 29 November 2008, he scored his first goal for Wigan, a header from the edge of the area in a 2–1 win against West Bromwich Albion.[35] He finished the 2008–09 season with 27 appearances.[31]

In July 2009, he signed a new contract at Wigan, keeping him at the club until 2012.[36] The 2009–10 season was a frustrating one for Boyce. Under new manager Roberto Martínez, he was initially part of the starting line-up, but after being replaced by new signing Gary Caldwell in January, his playing time became more limited.[37] He played 24 times in the league, scoring three goals[31] — the most he had scored in a season since leaving Luton.

Boyce was back in the starting line-up at the beginning of the 2010–11 season, but suffered an injury against Bolton Wanderers in October 2010. He was initially expected to recover in two weeks, but was sidelined for considerably longer after aggravating the injury in training.[38] He returned to the side on 8 January 2011 in the 3–2 FA Cup victory against Hull City.[39] He appeared 22 times in the league, and started in the final game of the season against Stoke City, making a goal line clearance in the first half to keep the score level.[40] Wigan went on to win the game 1–0, securing Premier League survival on the last day of the season for a second time. Boyce was the only Wigan player to play in both the Stoke game and the match against Sheffield United in 2007.[41]

In August 2011, Boyce signed a new two-year contract at the club.[42] On 25 February 2012, he made his 146th Premier League appearance in a 0–0 draw against Aston Villa, making him the club's record holder for most appearances in the Premier League.[43] On 21 April, he scored his fifth league goal for Wigan in a 2–1 away defeat to Fulham.[44] On 9 May, Boyce was given the outstanding achievement award at Wigan's end of season awards. He followed this up on 13 May, the final match of the season, by scoring two goals against Wolves, including a spectacular volley from outside the penalty box.

In May 2013 he captained Wigan to win the FA Cup over Manchester City and jointly lifted the cup with non playing club captain Gary Caldwell.[45] In March 2014, he was once again instrumental in captaining Wigan to an upset over Manchester City, this time in the 2014 FA Cup Quarterfinals.

International career[edit]

Though born in England, Boyce was also eligible to play for the Barbados national team through his parents Melvin and Lucille, who were both born in Barbados. Boyce earned his first international call-up on 20 March 2008, aged 28, stating that "The appeal is to play international football. I consider myself a Barbadian and I feel it's the right thing to do to play for my country. I am really looking forward to it."[46] He made his debut for Barbados in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Dominica on 26 March 2008, in a 1–0 win which advanced Barbados to the second round of qualifying.[47] His other appearance for Barbados that year came on 22 June in a 1–0 defeat against United States.[48] Boyce was called up again for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and captained the squad in a 2–0 loss to Guyana in Bridgetown. He was recalled to the team in 2014 and captained the squad during the 2014 Caribbean Cup qualification. He scored his first international goal in the 4-1 win over Bonaire that qualified them for the next round.[49]

International goals[edit]

Scores and Results list Barbados' goal tally first.

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition Source
1. 7 September 2014 Stade d'Honneur de Dillon, Fort-de-France, Martinique  Bonaire 1–0 4–1 2014 Caribbean Cup qualification [50]

Style of play[edit]

Boyce is a versatile player who usually plays as a right back, but has also been used as a centre back on many occasions. He has also played at left back,[27] on the right wing and as a makeshift striker during his career.[8] In the past he has stated that he does not have a preferred position and is happy to play wherever the manager wants him to play.[27][32][37] When playing at right back, although Boyce accepts that his more important role in the team is to defend,[51] he has also demonstrated his ability to get forward to contribute to the team's attack.[8][52] His consistent performances have earned him praise on several occasions, and he has been described as a "reliable" and "dependable" player.[24][53][54][55]

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 8 April 2014.[56]
Club Division Season League FA Cup League Cup Other[A] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Luton Town League One 1998–99 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
1999–2000 30 1 2 0 2 0 1 0 35 1
2000–01 42 3 3 0 4 0 0 0 49 3
League Two 2001–02 36 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 37 0
League One 2002–03 34 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 39 0
2003–04 42 4 5 1 2 0 0 0 49 5
Total 185 8 12 1 11 0 3 0 211 9
Crystal Palace Premier League 2004–05 27 0 0 0 1 0 28 0
Championship 2005–06 42 1 3 0 2 0 2 0 49 1
Total 69 1 3 0 3 0 2 0 77 1
Wigan Athletic Premier League 2006–07 34 0 1 0 0 0 35 0
2007–08 25 0 1 0 1 0 27 0
2008–09 27 1 1 0 3 0 31 1
2009–10 24 3 2 0 1 0 27 3
2010–11 22 0 2 0 1 0 25 0
2011–12 26 3 1 0 0 0 27 3
2012–13 36 4 5 0 0 0 41 4
Championship 2013–14 42 2 6 0 1 0 8 0 57 2
Total 236 13 19 0 7 0 8 0 270 13
Career total 490 22 34 1 21 0 13 0 558 23
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the Football League Trophy, Football League play-offs, FA Community Shield and UEFA Europa League.


As of 29 February 2012[57]
Barbados national team
Year Apps Goals
2008 2 0
2009 0 0
2010 0 0
2011 2 0
Total 4 0


Wigan Athletic

Personal life[edit]

Boyce is married to Lucy, with whom he has three children, two boys and a girl.[58][59]

Boyce became the first international ambassador for Street Soccer USA, an organisation which develops sports programs to help the homeless, and he has made appearances at homeless shelters in various cities across the United States.[60] He was first introduced to the organisation after reading about it during a business trip to the United States. On his new role, Boyce commented that "Soccer is a global sport, it can lift all of our spirits and improve all of our lives and I want to promote the use of the beautiful game in this way. It is a privilege and an honor to be named the first International Ambassador for Street Soccer USA."[61]


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External links[edit]