Billy Ayre


It was announced on 17 April 2002 that former Mansfield Town defender Billy Ayre has died from Cancer of the Lymph Nodes at the age of just 49.
He died peacefully in his sleep with his family around him.
It had been reported in September 2001 that he was battling against cancer.  


Billy Ayre played 67 league games for the Stags between 1982 and 1984, scoring 7 goals. He was signed by Stuart Boam in July 1982, from Halifax Town where he had been captain and player-coach. He was one of six experienced players signed in pre-season, along with Joe Laidlaw, John Dungworth, Keith Kennedy, Alan Waddle and John Matthews.

Ayre is pictured scoring with a header on his first team debut in a Football League Trophy game against Northampton at Field Mill.   In January 1983, Boam was sacked and Ayre was appointed as caretaker manager until Ian Greaves was appointed as manager a few weeks later. In February 1983, Stags played a Manchester United XI including Gidman, Grimes, Buchan, McGrath, Wilkins,  Macari and Hughes at Field Mill and won 3-0. Ayre is pictured tackling Lou Macari.   At the end of the 1983/84 season, Ayre was released.  

Most recently, Ayre had been coach at Bury up until his illness.  

We send our best wishes to Billy Ayre's family.  

Compiled by Martin Shaw