To attempt to characterise Mike’s fourteen seasons with Leicester City is to risk an unfortunately not overly glib analogy with the footballing cliche “it’s a game of two halves”. For seven years after his £ 25 000 move from Mansfield Town the tanky outside-left was one of the most feared attackers in the country, forming lethal left-wing partnership with Davie Gibson and racking up a healthy goal tally.
He was also taking a disproportionate amount of stick though, from defenders otherwise at a loss to curb his pace and strength and the league was further seven year of courageous struggle and determination as Mike fought off a succession of near crippling injuries, to continue to give his all for Leicester City.
Mike had developed at Field Mill under Ratch Carter, making his league debut League bow at 17 alongside Ken Wagstaffe, playing at Filbert Street in the inaugural Football League Cup tie, and soon impressing Matt Gillies as a likely successor to Gordon Wills. He hit 19 League and Cup goals in his first full season at Leicester City, including the looping header past Liverpool’s Tommy Lawrence which assured City of a 1963 Wembley appearance an for five years thereafter his season goal tally never dropped below double figures, while the number of strikes attributable to his crosses was countless.
Mike was a scorer in the 1964 League Cup second leg against Stoke, took a runners-up memento from the next year’s finals v. Chelsea, and to still, with eight goals, City’s all time leading scorer in that competition. Injury problems really began to bite, however, during the 1968/69 League relegation / FA Cup final campaign and a catalogue of operations, comebacks, breakdowns and sheer frustrations ensured. Yet all this time even a semi-fit “Stringy” was a valuable squad member, and his April 1975 testimonial game against Wolves was barely adequate recognition of the club’s depth to he early excellence and later against the odds example.
He remains only the second player after Arthur Chandler to figure in the club’s top ten records for both appearances and goalscoring. Mike’s spell with Nuneaton was brief and he subsequently ran pubs in Narborough and Littlethorpe before moving into the newsagents business, latterly in Enderby. His nephew Ian, began a senior career with Mansfield Town in 1986.