Aylesbury's Emmerson Boyce talks about life after football

Former Wigan Athletic footballer Emmerson Boyce has been talking to The Bucks Herald about life after football.

Boyce, 39, who hung up his boots in 2016, is now involved with various football projects and enjoys spending time with his children.

Emmerson Boyce (left) and confirmation of his golden jubilee award (right)

Emmerson Boyce (left) and confirmation of his golden jubilee award (right)

Boyce said: "I found the transition from playing football to not playing the game anymore hard.

"I struggled with a bit of depression when I retired but I had good people around me to help me.

"The important thing to remember and the message I am constantly pushing out is that there are organisations that can help if you are going through a dark time.

"I have got involved with various projects - I have been working at the Wigan academy for the past six or seven months helping some of their youth players, I have joined the Wigan board of trustees and I am working towards my coaching badges.

Emmerson Boyce, alongside colleagues from Wigan Athletic, with the FA Cup trophy

Emmerson Boyce, alongside colleagues from Wigan Athletic, with the FA Cup trophy

"I have done a bit of radio work for BBC Manchester and I wouldn't rule out TV punditry in the future."

Emmerson's sporting pedigree seems to have been passed on to his children - Jayden, 12, Kylan, 11 and Maya, seven.

He explained: "Jayden is currently at the Wigan academy, Kylan is a keen golfer and Maya she is fearless - she's a great tackler when she plays football!

"I would never push any of my kids into doing football - if they want to then great - but it's for them to choose the path they want to pursue."

Emmerson Boyce (right) tussles with Manchester City player Sergio Aguero for the ball during the FA Cup final in 2013

Emmerson Boyce (right) tussles with Manchester City player Sergio Aguero for the ball during the FA Cup final in 2013

Boyce looks back fondly at his nine seasons at Wigan Athletic, which included winning the FA Cup in 2013.

He said: "Winning the FA Cup was a great achievement - it is the only time Wigan have won the competition and it was very special.

"We went on to get relegated but people in the town just talk about the Cup win.

"We obviously went on to play in Europe which was amazing for a club like Wigan and we had another great run to the semi-finals a year later."

Boyce, a citizen of Barbados, received a Barbados golden jubilee award in 2016 - these awards are given to Bajans who have contributed to the UK - other winners include popstar Rihanna, singer Sir Cliff Richard and former West Indies cricketer Gordon Greenidge.

Boyce said: "Winning that award was a very proud moment for my family - only about 50 people have such an award so to be on a list alongside people who are great in their field is a real honour."

Boyce is very proud of his family's Bajan roots and is passionate about making football as diverse as possible.

He said: "I went to a big diversity event two years ago in London and there was a big focus on ethnic minorities in football.

"I think the platform is there for people of all backgrounds to get involved in the game and progress is being made on that front."

Boyce still takes a keen interest in the local football scene in Aylesbury, visiting the town regularly.

He said: "When I drive past Aylesbury United's old ground it saddens me that it is empty and that it looks in such a sorry state."

When we spoke, Boyce was also keen to share his thoughts on Aylesbury FC's enforced relegation at the end of the current league season due to not being able to meet Football Association regulations related to the size of changing facilities.

He said: "Every negative has a positive and I think the merger with Bedgrove Dynamos (which will take place over the summer) can only help in the longer term.

"It will give them a chance to really focus on getting their youth system set-up.

"The FA have rules which aren't always fair and it is a real pity they will be relegated but I hope they can establish a club that Aylesbury can be proud of."

Boyce also had a message for the family of Luca Campanaro, a 14-year-old who died after an on-pitch collision during a Bedgrove Dynamos match in December 2018.

He said: "I would like to say that I wish the family all the best.

"It is a terrible thing to happen but the way football comes together at times like this is inspiring."

Finally, Boyce reflected on his time at the now demolished Quarrendon School.

The former site of Quarrendon School will become a satellite school for St Michael's Catholic School, which is based in High Wycombe.

Boyce said: "I have driven past the site a few times and seen the building work taking place.

"It looks like being a big school and I certainly have very good memories of my time at Quarrendon School.

"I am sure the new school will provide a great education for the young people of Aylesbury and the surrounding area."