Ronnie Henry. The lad who saw more empires rise (and fall) at Boro’ than pretty much any other to wear the red and white. In the years of stellar service he gave us, he hit the top of the list for number of appearances. And then he went onto make it 500. In the club’s professional era, no-one will come close to replicating that feat. Ever.
First coming in as a central defender, Henry found himself moving across to right back. It was a role that he tirelessly fulfilled during our ascent up into the Football League; firstly from non-league football, but also again when we won promotion to League One.
In his time with us, Henry saw managers come and go: Graham Westley (twice), Mark Stimson, Peter Taylor and Gary Smith, as well as Darren Sarll, Teddy Sheringham and Dino Maamria. Pause for breath. He almost served under twice as many gaffers as the number of goals he managed for us.
So, how do we start to sum up Ronnie Henry’s impact on Boro’? Well, he sped past our all-time appearance maker in January 2018; taking to the field away to Morecambe took him past former record holder Mark Smith. The following year, Ronnie would ease past 500 too. And it was only right that he got a well-earned testimonial in summer 2019 to bring the curtain down on an outstanding career.
Ronnie Henry: Before Boro’
Boro’ secured the services of the former Spurs defender on a free transfer back in January 2005; Henry becoming an integral part of our defence in the years to come. Awareness and co-ordination, in particular, two of the factors that would firmly establish him at the Lamex Stadium.
Smith was the man at the helm when Ronnie left us for the first time; losing his first team place towards the end of the 2011-2 campaign. We’re not sure what was more gutting; his departure or the fact that he wound up at Luton Town. The man is better than that.
Ronnie Henry: After Boro’
It wouldn’t be the end of the love affair between us and him, however. Maybe taking his cue from his two-time former boss, the return of GW for a third stint saw the way open for Ronnie to return likewise. He’d just helped the Hatters to return to the League, but we’ll forgive him that oversight.
If 2012 was farewell, what was 2019 then? With Ronnie into his mid-30s, time had come once again for the defender to move on. A door was, however, left wide open for a return in some form.
Stats do not include the expunged Chester City fixtures in 2009-10.