Oxford United are heartbroken to report the death of Micky Lewis, a true club legend.
His family have asked us to pass on this short statement:
"It is with deep sadness that we have to tell you our beloved Micky has lost his short battle with cancer. Micky fought with typical bravery and tenacity having been diagnosed only two weeks ago with a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. As we all know Micky loved football, loved people and loved life and we will miss him so very much.
We would appreciate some privacy right now but will announce any details in due course because we know how loved Micky was."
Suzanne and Zach Lewis
Micky started his playing career with the West Bromwich Albion youth team, winning the Baggies’ Young Player of the Year award in 1984 and winning seven England Youth caps. After making 33 appearances for West Brom he moved to Derby County in November 1984 for £25,000.
Micky was with the Rams for just under four years, scoring one goal in 50 games, before joining Oxford in August 1988 as part of the deal that took Trevor Hebberd to the Baseball Ground. In over a decade with United Micky played successfully both in central midfield and central defence; he was a model of reliability and an integral member of the 1996 promotion-winning side. After that promotion season Micky stopped playing and became the U’s youth team coach. However, injury problems saw him recalled to the first team in August 1999. He went on to play a total of 351 games for United, scoring seven goals.
In October 1999, Micky was made caretaker manager following the departure of Malcolm Shotton after which he returned to coaching the youth team while acting as Smith’s assistant. After Smith’s resignation in October 2000, Micky became assistant to caretaker manager Mike Ford, then became player-coach at Oxford City before giving up playing to become assistant manager, having spent the summer of 2001 as player-coach with US side Des Moines Menace who he took to second place in the Premier Development League.
While with Cit, Micky also became coach to the Oxford University football team, who he led to three consecutive Varsity victories. Micky left Oxford City in December 2003, becoming coach at Slough Town the following month. He remained at Slough until July 2005, at which point he was appointed David Penney’s assistant manager at Doncaster Rovers.
In August 2006, the pair left Doncaster and Micky returned to Oxford, where he coached Abingdon Town, Oxford United under-11s and the University side again before he replaced new manager Darren Patterson as Oxford United’s youth-team coach,
In November 2007 he became Assistant Manager and played a key role in the club’s Wembley win in 2010
He finally left the U’s in 2015 after a 28-year association. He managed Hayes & Yeading United after which he continued coaching the Oxford University side. Most recently, Micky was the Head Coach for the male programmes for the Oxford City Velocity education programme.
Tributes have already poured in.
Chris Wilder, who with Micky guided the club to promotion from the Conference in 2010 told us:
“I am absolutely heart-broken. He was a brilliant coach but also brilliant company. We remained great friends and it was an honour to know him. It has happened so quickly and someone who loved life and loved football will be a massive miss to everyone who knew him. My thoughts are with Suzy, Zach and the family at this incredibly sad moment.”
Mike Ford who played alongside Micky for almost a decade said
“It’s such sad news for Mick to be taken so early. We spent a lot of time together at Oxford and I came to know him well. He was a top bloke; honest, hard working, such fun. He will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace Micky.”
Phil Gilchrist, another to play with Micky said
“So sad to hear the news. What a sad day this is for his family and all of us who knew him. My wife and I will always remember him from the time we spent with him and his kindness towards us when I first joined the club. RIP Micky.”
Jake Wright, one of countless players to work with Mick as coach said
“He was an outstanding coach but also such a fantastic character. We all loved him and we send our love to his family”
Former U's defender Mark Creighton said
“Micky was a great coach and servant to the club but football aside he was a great listener and mentor. He knew what to say and how to say it while maintaining honesty and integrity at all times. I will never forget him taking our warm ups around the cricket pitch while riding a knackered old bike: we never knew if it was his knees clicking or the bike braking! They were great times We knew he was struggling and like a lot of people I sent a message which he replied to straight away but if I could I would have jumped in the car and driven down to tell him in person how much he meant to us all. In fact I would have walked if I had to. One of the most genuine people I have ever met and we are going to miss him so much.”
Peter Rhoades-Brown said
“I literally can’t believe it. Mick was such a great man, a great coach and one of football’s true gentlemen. We all loved his enthusiasm and passion for football and life. Everybody who knew him only had good things to say about him. We will miss that gruff voice and laugh. RIP my friend.”
Chris Williams, the club’s Communication Manager writes:
“It is just heart breaking and on behalf of the club we send all our love to Suzy and Zach. Micky was a friend for life to everyone he met: one of the biggest hearts in football and genuinely brilliant company at all times. I never heard him speak ill of anybody, and nobody ever had a bad word to say about him. For the illness to take him so quickly is tragic but over the last week or so I know a lot of people have sent him messages so he knew how loved he was.”
The club will hold a minute’s applause ahead of today’s game at home to Charlton Athletic.