Tributes paid to popular Devon football referee who suffered heart attack during match – Devon Live

Tributes have been paid to much loved Plymouth referee Mike Gleed, who died this week at the age of 66.

Mike started as an official in 1976 and racked up more than 40 years’ service officiating in the Plymouth and West Devon Football League.

Despite having a mild heart attack on the pitch mid-game, Mike carried on refereeing until the end of the match, reports the Plymouth Herald.

He later passed away surrounded by his close family, after receiving a triple heart bypass.

Refereeing three-times a week meant Mike became a very popular man within the city, and will be remembered for his dedication to the sport by several generations of players.

Mike was as passionate about his family as he was football; he had two daughters, Michelle and Amanda along with four grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Amanda said: “He loved football ever since he was a young boy – he used to jump over the wall when his mum wasn’t looking and run down to St.Levans Park to watch people play.

“He even took it upon himself to become their ball boy.

“His father started to taking him to Argyle with his sister from a young age, and I think that where his passion really started to grow.

“Even after his heart attack on the pitch; he was in hospital and seemed more concerned at making sure he was registered for next season.”

Mikes services to football were recognised by the Devon FA at the end of the 2015/16 season, on completion of 40 years’ unbroken service and again in the Herald’s Sports Personality of the Year awards 2017, when Mike was named as our Official of the Year.

Speaking at the presentation, Mike said: “It’s very important to me as I’ve done over 40 years now as a referee and it’s a long time. This is something very special for me.

“I just enjoy it – I used to play and I wanted to put something back into football.”

Amanda explained: “He was sure he wouldn’t win, but he was so proud to receive the Official of the year award.”

Mike was also known around the city for playing in multiple pubs and bars as a lead guitarist in his band ‘Spotlight’ during the 1970s.

He later took to karaoke and performed in his last gig just six weeks ago

Amanda explained, “He would always be out singing in pubs, when my sister and I used to go out when we were younger, we would hope he was never in there so we wouldn’t get caught.”

Described as ‘always smiling’ and a ‘true family man’, Mikes’ grandson Luke told The Herald he was a ‘true legend’.

Ian Leonard, chairman of the Plymouth & West Devon League said: “It is with very deep sadness that I have learnt of the death of Mike Gleed.

“Mike was a great servant to our League as a referee, and he was also considered a friend to many of us.

“Mike was part of the local football scene for well over 40 years and would always greet everyone with a smile and a chat. I never knew of a time when Mike would not help out and do a game even at short notice.

“We will all miss his cheery disposition and friendliness and regret the passing of yet another local personality in our football family.

“Local football is a loser today with the passing of a fine referee and gentleman.”

Mike joined the referee’s panel of the Devon Wednesday League in 1981 and also acted as a linesman in the South West Peninsula League when it was first formed in the late 1990s.

Many current and ex-players around the county have taken to social media to share their fond memories of Mike after The University Of Plymouth Football Club left a moving tribute to Mike.

Sam Davenport wrote: “Great referee and man, always had the time to talk football when he came in my pub; so generous too, he always brought me a pint.”

Lee Chapman shared, “RIP Ref. Plymouth footballers at all ages have many memories of this gentleman.”

The local football community have said Mike will be ‘sorely missed’.

Reporting by Plymouth Herald.

Tributes paid to popular Devon football referee who suffered heart attack during match – Devon Live

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