Feb 14 2013 by Joe Thomas, Ormskirk Advertiser
TALENTED footballers will join the friends and family of Mike Jones in a memorial tournament to celebrate the murdered football coach’s life.
The Jonesy Sixes will see 12 six-a-side teams take each other on in the tribute competition. Players will travel from as far away as the US for the tournament.
The memorial was initially set to be a football match but interest was so high it grew much bigger.
Dan Minhinnett, who coached at New York Red Bulls with Mr Jones in 2008, said: “The original idea was to have one match as a celebration, only it got a lot bigger and we thought there would be a lot more people that wanted to play than just 22 people with rotating substitutions, so we came up with the idea of a tournament, the Jonesy Sixes – because he used to wear the number six.”
Twelve squads of 10 players will line up on the 3G pitches at Hesketh Bank on Saturday to battle for glory. Mr Minhinnett, who now coaches at Sunderland FC, believes the Jonesy Sixes will be a fitting tribute. He said: “He was a top lad and anyone you speak to will always say the same thing. His death was shocking, it still doesn’t seem real. I hope this is a fitting tribute to him, it’s going to be a big event. Everyone is coming together for the same reason, it’s not a nice reason, but it’s going to be a celebration of Jonesy and hopefully we will do him proud.”
Mr Jones’ father, Perry, will be among those taking part and four teams of current and former Red Bulls coaches have signed up. On Saturday a memorial night will also be held for Mr Jones, who was murdered in a street attack in New York last October. The 25-year-old from Tarleton had been on a night out during his fourth stint as a coach in America.
The reception at the Mere Brow Club has sold out and a collection of signed football memorabilia will be auctioned off. All money will go to cover the costs of the day and to the Mike Jones Memorial Fund.
Mr Minhinnett wished to thank all those who had helped organise the event, particularly John Birchall, Dave Nelson and Karen Walton. To donate, visit: www.mikejonesmemorialfund.com.