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Tributes paid to ex-Oxford, Derby and West Brom player who dies aged 56

Tributes have been paid to ex-Oxford United, Derby County and West Brom player Mickey Lewis who sadly dies aged 56, it’s confirmed.

‘Mad Dog’ as he was also known, was a former professional footballer and manager who played at a variety of level within English football.

From October 1999 to February 2000 and then again from January to March 2014 he was the caretaker manager at League One club Oxford United following the departure of manager Chris Wilder to Northampton Town, before Gary Waddock was appointed head coach.

He left the U’s in the middle of 2015 after a 27-year association with the club, and 8 years as a member of the coaching staff, before then being appointed as a head coach/manager at Hayes & Yeading United in May 2016 after the departure of Garry Haylock. He stepped down as first-team manager in October 2016. He has also been an assistant at Doncaster Rovers as well as part of the coaching set-up at Oxford City, Abingdon Town and Slough Town.

He won the Baggies’ Young Player of the Year award in 1984 and made seven England Youth caps. After making 33 appearances for West Brom he moved to Derby County in November 1984 for £25,000 going on to score 1 goal in 50 games for the Rams over four years.

He joined Oxford as part of a deal that saw Trevor Hebberd head to the Baseball Ground, and in the 351 games for United, he scored seven goals including a screamer against Stockport.

His family have asked Oxford United 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.”

Chris Wilder, who with Micky guided the club to promotion from the Conference in 2010 told Oxford: “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.

News that the Birmingham born ex-defensive midfielder had passed away was posted onto social media late on Friday night.

WBA Former Players wrote: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Mickey Lewis at the tender age of 56. Mick had a short illness, our sincere condolences go to his wife Suzanne, his young son, family and friends. RIP Mickey.”

Oxford United fan group @YellowArmyOUFC said: “There is only one Mickey Lewis. After a short illness Mickey passed away earlier today. He will always be remembered as an Oxford United legend. Mad Dog, we will miss you. Thank you for everything. Our thoughts are with Mickey’s family and friends at this sad time.”

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As well as fans, it was players who had been part of the teams coached by the ex-Oxford, Derby and West Brom man that also posted tributes…

@SimonBeasant: The word legend gets banded about far to easily these days, but when it came to Mickey Lewis it’s the only word that absolutely is fitting for him. R.I.P mad dog, fly high legend.

@ChrisJHudson: RIP Mickey Lewis, 56 is no age at all these days.

@sihath1: Such sad news about Mickey Lewis. I hope his friends and family can take a little comfort in the fact that he was so clearly loved by everyone that knew him

@GrundyOxford: Sad to hear that Mickey Lewis has passed away. I met him a couple of times and was a nice chap to chat to. Did a lot for the club.

@wrighty1313: Woken up this morning to terrible News that my old boss Mickey Lewis has passed away. During my time at @OUFCOfficial he was my coach and mentor and I’m deeply saddened by this news. Mickey Lewis was one of the hardest but nicest football guys you could wish to meet #RIPMICKEY

@DavePritchard83: Knocked sideways by the Mickey Lewis news. He had an infectious enthusiasm and was a joy to be around. The warm tributes elsewhere say it all – one of the good guys gone far too soon. When we can all get together again he deserves a big send-off.

@DCFC_CMH: Played 50 times for the mighty Rams , hard as nails, wore the shirt with pride . @dcfcofficial Rip Mickey Lewis #dcfc @Ed__Dawes

@bookiemonster81: Brutal news to wake up to. RIP Mad Dog Mickey Lewis. A club legend who will be sorely missed by so many. My thoughts are with his family at this very sad time #oufc

@snaggle44: Terrible news about Mad Dog Mickey Lewis. Club legend, gone far, far too soon. RIP Mickey!!

@YellowColonia: Met Mickey Lewis a fair few times at Oxford games or even shopping. Always had time for a chat and always seemed genuine. Thoughts go out to the family. Absolutely gutted by this. Mad dogs yellow Army #OUFC

@KeithOufc: Terrible sad news that Mickey Lewis has died. A tenacious player who went on to do absolutely everything for our club. He was a true club legend. Sad day #RIPMadDog

@leicesterox: Really sad news Mickey Lewis only 56, did everything at @OUFCOfficial in his time with club, thoughts with his family & friends #RIPmaddog

@McraeStuart: Such sad news RIP Mad Dog, Mickey Lewis Mr Oxford United, a real fans favourite

@JoeNicholls10: This is truly tragic news. One of my heroes as I stood on the London Road as a teenager. Mickey Lewis is an absolute legend and I am deeply saddened. Rest in peace Mad Dog. #RIPMickey

@_CallumRolfe_: The news about Mickey Lewis has hit me! I would like to thank him for everything he has done for me since I was little! I have learnt a lot from you and I will always appreciate it! Rest in Peace and thank you for being a great mentor

@cbarrett1987: Wow .. gutted to hear about the passing of Mickey Lewis one of the nicest blokes I ever had the pleasure of knowing a man who helped me become a better coach and someone I know will be forever missed by so many my thoughts go out to his family RIP Mickey 💔🥺

@awayonsaturday1; Shocked that former Doncaster Rovers assistant manager Mickey Lewis has passed away at just 56. Played his part in helping #DRFC establish themselves in League One from 2004 to 2006.

@Keithharris76: What awful news about Mickey Lewis. Thoughts with his family and friends at this horrible time. A fantastic servant to #OUFC both as a player and off the pitch #RIP

@deanoufc: Shocked and extremely saddened by the loss of Mickey Lewis. He was a great character with infectious enthusiasm. Had the pleasure of discussing Oxford Utd with him on a few occasions and he was just a top bloke. RIP Mad Dog… You will be greatly missed

@CUSSLEWIS: Extremely saddened at the news of Oxford United legend Mickey Lewis. Completely numb if I’m honest. RIP Mad Dog

Tributes continued to be paid to the ex-Oxford, Derby and West Brom player who dies aged 56…

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