The life and achievements of our late, great, friend and colleague Micky Lewis were celebrated by thousands of people at an emotional celebratory memorial match on Sunday.
More than 3,000 of Micky’s friends, family, colleagues past and present and supporters gathered for ‘One For The Road’ at a sun-kissed Kassam Stadium to remember Micky who sadly passed away in March following a short illness.
The match was played by four teams – Oxford City All Stars, Oxford United Legends, ‘Boys of 2010’ and Oxford University – who all had close links with Micky and featured for 45 minutes each.
City players included Steve Basham, Alex Fisher, Zac McEachran, Reece Fleet, Jefferson Louis, Scott Davis, Josh Ashby and Harvey Bradbury. Justin Merritt, David Oldfield and Andy Sinnott were among the coaching team on the touch line.
United players included Chris Wilder, Joey Beauchamp, Jim Magilton, James Constable, Jake Wright and Alfie Potter. Others in attendance were former England manager Steve McLaren, Matt Elliott, Denis Smith and Malcolm Crosby. Velocity Football coach Lauren Haynes played for both City and United on the day.
Leading the warm-ups for Oxford City All Stars on the day were Ignite Sport UK’s Aliyah Anthony and Jordan Piper.
Micky’s wife Suzanne and son Zach received a standing ovation when they were introduced on the pitch and there was a minute’s applause during the fourth minute of the match, as Micky wore shirt number four during his playing days.
Zach received the biggest cheer of the afternoon when scoring a spectacular late brace to wrap up a 5-0 victory for a youthful University team against Oxford United Legends. Earlier in the game Oxford City All Stars draw 1-1 draw with Oxford United Boys of 2010, with Basham scoring for City.
The evening saw players, colleagues and close family and friends gather for a private party at Oxford City FC. Rich Snow from Sandy’s Piano Bar in Oxford had guests singing to Micky’s favourite songs as chosen by Suzanne while The Oxford Food Company supplied food.
Justin Merritt, Director of Ignite Sport UK and Oxford City FC, led our tributes to Micky and his family after full-time.
“It was fantastic to see such a positive turn out of people on an afternoon tinged with many emotions and memories,” said Justin. “Micky’s dedication, commitment and passion to his job not only established him as a legend in Oxfordshire’s footballing community, but also across the UK.
“The support shown by his teammates, colleagues and friends from seasons gone by at Sunday’s game epitomise how well-respected he was. Micky’s legacy lives on and we continue to think about what he would have done when making daily decisions.
“It was a day of mixed emotions really. We all miss him desperately, but the day provided everyone with an opportunity to share their stories and memories of Micky.”
Lauren Haynes added: “Micky was a great role model and inspiration to everyone.
“I will forever look up to Micky and be in awe of his warm, funny and genuine personality which made him so popular among the Oxfordshire and wider footballing communities.
“It was a great honour to play on Sunday in front of such a supportive crowd – a moment I will never forget.”
Josh Ashby said: “Micky was a great character in football, and I dearly miss his presence on the pitch. He was a great coach who could bring the best out of everyone regardless of their ability.
“He would always make time to speak to people and the support shown by his friends, family, colleagues and fans during One For The Road proves how well-respected he was by everyone.
“It was a fitting send off and one I was extremely proud to be part of.”
And Chris Wilder added: “It was a bitter-sweet day. Micky would have loved to have been in that changing room.
“It’s fantastic that Oxford City FC and Oxford University were part of the day and so many ex-players who were all so close to Micky.
“Micky would’ve been the life and soul of the changing room and it’s tragic what happened.”
All proceeds from ‘One For The Road’ ticket sales will be sent directly to Micky’s family to support their immediate future. Supporters unable to attend the game on Sunday afternoon who still wish to donate to the Micky Lewis Memorial Fund can do so via the official GoFundMe page.