Stevenage legend Lawrie Wilson: My tribute to Ronnie Henry

PUBLISHED: 17:21 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:34 08 May 2019

Lawrie Wilson and Ronnie Henry during 2011. Picture: Alan Millard

Lawrie Wilson and Ronnie Henry during 2011. Picture: Alan Millard

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I had the great privilege of returning to The Lamex on Monday to play in the testimonial match celebrating the career of Ronnie Henry. Now, I want to pay my own tribute to him.

Stevenage skipper Ronnie Henry takes the applause of the Lamex crowd after his testimonial on Monday. Picture: Jake CookStevenage skipper Ronnie Henry takes the applause of the Lamex crowd after his testimonial on Monday. Picture: Jake Cook

It's nearly 10 years since I played with these guys at Stevenage, the famous Conference winning squad of 2009/10.

We formed special bonds during that time that will last forever, so being back on the pitch together after so long made the testimonial even more memorable.

Ronnie and I played together between 2007 and 2012. In those years we got promoted, made the League One play-offs and won the FA Trophy.

We were among a team that grafted notoriously hard under Graham Westley and were the infamous 'drinks breaks boys'.

Ronnie Henry (left) and Lawrie Wilson (right) during Stevenage's League Two play-off semi-final first-leg clash with Accrington Stanley in 2011. Picture: Alan Millard.Ronnie Henry (left) and Lawrie Wilson (right) during Stevenage's League Two play-off semi-final first-leg clash with Accrington Stanley in 2011. Picture: Alan Millard.

The squad during those years experienced more than most do in their whole footballing careers. There were epic highs and gutting lows, but whatever was thrown at us we stood shoulder to shoulder, like brothers in arms.

Ronnie was such a integral part of that team on and off the pitch. He was a joy to be around, always there laughing, joking and smiling with those massive front teeth.

We had an excellent understanding with each other on the pitch. I would help him defend and he would help me attack. Although I did always have to fill in for him when he'd gone round me and didn't have the legs to get back.

One of my favourite memories is from a meeting in which Graham Westley asked Ronnie to pick his best XI to play, in front of the whole team.

Stevenage v Torquay Utd League Two play-off final. John Mousinho celebrates scoring the only goal of the match with Lawrie Wilson. Picture: Daniel WilsonStevenage v Torquay Utd League Two play-off final. John Mousinho celebrates scoring the only goal of the match with Lawrie Wilson. Picture: Daniel Wilson

He didn't put himself in the team. Some would say selfless and committed to the team at all costs, but GW said it was pathetic and hammered him for it.

We all laughed about it for months. In fact, we still laugh about it now.

It goes to show how special that team was, that we still have a squad WhatsApp group all these years on.

The atmosphere at the testimonial was full of love and a credit to Boro's former skipper. He's very much stitched into the lining of Stevenage FC.

Lawrie Wilson takes the applause of the Lamex crowd. Picture: Daniel WilsonLawrie Wilson takes the applause of the Lamex crowd. Picture: Daniel Wilson

My years at Stevenage were some of the hardest but most rewarding I've experienced and will always be looked back on with pride and a full heart.

It was an honour to play with you, Mr Henry.

Stevenage FC legend Ronnie Henry at the Bragbury End training ground after making his 500th appearance for the club against Swindon Town. Picture: DANNY LOOStevenage FC legend Ronnie Henry at the Bragbury End training ground after making his 500th appearance for the club against Swindon Town. Picture: DANNY LOO

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