West Ham football legend Billy Bonds will soon be kicking a ball around with his grandchildren again – thanks to a hip operation at The Horder Centre in Crowborough.

Billy, 68, was back at the orthopaedic centre this week for a check-up from surgeon Mr Hugh Apthorp after the operation last month.

Although he played nearly 800 first team games for West Ham until the age of 42, Billy was very lucky in terms of injury over such a long playing career. He twice broke his nose and had an operation for a groin injury when he was 38, but escaped damage to his legs despite playing in several positions including right back, right wing, midfield, central defence and as a forward.

About five years ago, he started developing problems with his hip and when it began to hurt after walking a few miles, Billy decided it was time for something to be done.

Orthopaedic Surgeon Hugh Apthorp (left) with Billy Bonds (right)

He said: “I chose The Horder Centre because an actor friend of mine, whom I see once a year, had just had an operation there and said it was absolutely brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of it. When I came round after my operation, the first thing I saw were a couple of rabbits dancing in the woodland outside.

“All the staff, from the surgeon to the hall porter (apart from the fact he supported Spurs), were top drawer. I think it is the attention to detail that makes The Horder Centre special. My brother, who had a similar operation elsewhere, couldn’t believe it when I told him that a nurse escorted me to my car when I left.”

Since the operation, Billy has been doing exercises at home in Chislehurst, and is aiming to be back doing long walks in the countryside, and even kicking a ball around with his two grandchildren, very soon.

At the start of this football season, Billy took his family to Upton Park, where he received a lifetime achievement award from West Ham. He joined the club from Charlton in 1967 where he stayed for the rest of his playing career before taking over as manager for four years.

 

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