Sad goodbye to ‘another son of Liverpool’ killed in New York
HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to pay tribute to a talented Merseyside football coach who was murdered in New York.
Michael Jones, 25, who worked as a coach for the New York Red Bulls soccer team, was stabbed to death in Manhattan on October 7.
Villagers lined the streets of Tarleton, near Southport, as a funeral procession made its way from the young footballer’s former club Tarleton Corinthians FC to the funeral service which was held at Holy Trinity Church yesterday.
Many people wore red badges and wristbands with a 6 on – central defender Michael’s old shirt number – and his nickname Jonesy.
Michael was a former pupil of Tarleton High School and studied sports science at Edge Hill University, before he got the job with the New York Red Bulls, one of the leading soccer teams in the US.
Two coaches who worked with Michael on the club’s junior teams told the packed church he had been “a committed, confident and passionate footballer with a dedication to make every kid a better player.
“His ability left him idolised by thousands of players and respected by their parents.
“He did more in 25 years than most men can hope to do in 100.”
A minute's applause was staged for Michael at New York Red Bulls' game against Sporting Kansas City earlier this month where players, including captain Thierry Henry and former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, wore special number 6 shirts.
In a tribute read out by The Rev Nicholas Davis, the avid Liverpool FC fan’s parents paid tribute to their son for being “a very independent person with huge ambition who was truly loved by many people of all ages.
“He touched the lives of everyone in this room and everything he did he wanted to be the best.”
The Beatles song In My Life was played as Michael’s parents urged mourners to remember “another son of Liverpool who was killed in New York” in a poignant reference to John Lennon, who was killed in the same city in 1980.
Friends of the tragic football coach also remembered Michael’s “charisma, charm, banter and wise words.”
One said: “We called Jonesy the ‘Tarleton Travolta’. He was the life and soul of the party, the first person on the guest list and the last to leave the dance floor.
“He was the loudest, the funniest and lived his life to the full but he always remembered his roots.”
Another friend said: “Mike was always looking for an adventure or the next party.
“We all wish we could have one more beer and one more laugh.”
New York police are still searching for suspect Orlando Orea, 32, in Mexico, where he fled two days after the killing.
It is thought Michael may have been mistaken for someone the suspect had an argument with in a bar.