by Colin Vickers
Michael Murray Dent
Born 11th July 1951, Died 17th June 2023
Lived in Kuala Lumpur
Many in the Table Soccer world, both here and abroad, will have met, and possibly played, Mike during the 1960’s to 1990’s and will be saddened to hear of his passing.
I first met Mike in 1968 when, as 17-year-olds, we were both good enough to play for our respective countries in a TS international in Scotland.
A couple of years later he moved to England, joined the English National League division 2, and the Waltham Forest League, which at the time was the premier league in the country. So, our paths crossed again, and more frequently.
Mike’s reputation to many, and his lasting legacy in the TS world, is summed up by the phrase “HELLO – 1-0” that he used to shout when he scored the only goal he needed to score in any game. But it wasn’t always so!; in the 1970-71 season in the National League Division 2 he beat Stewart Goldman 5-4, Jeff Parsons 5-3 and Norman Gleave 4-1 and in the Waltham Forest League won the Handicap Cup 4-3 and lost the League Cup 4-3 (to John Cordell, Kevin’s dad! – he did get his own back for this in the South East Championship, beating John 1-0 in the final).
However, after this season he seem to have had a strange epiphany and his approach became more defensive. As an economist by profession, he decided that if you win 1-0 you get 2 points, and that scoring any more was a waste of time and effort as you didn’t get any more points! Although he won the Europa Cup, the only Scot to do so (never saw himself as English!), he told me that his proudest achievement was winning an event in Hayling Island by only scoring 1 goal in a total of 4 games, winning three on shots!!
I moved to Basingstoke in 1976, and by my good fortune Mike lived there so we became closer friends during this time. We used to practice together and I feel that I made some contribution to his winning the Europa Cup as we practiced chipping the ball over a tictoc mints box frequently – both his winning goals in the final were like this!
Other achievements: what you might not know!
Mike learnt to fly when he was 50 and he became a light-aircraft pilot and, later, an instructor. He also learned to scuba dive and became an instructor at this too. He was a good chess player and was part of the winning chess team in Basingstoke in the late 70’s. He travelled the world in his job at DHL, but when he left them he started a new career in KL as a lecturer and ended his days as a university professor. There have been well over 400 tributes to him on Facebook sites from ex-colleagues, colleagues, and students who all say the same thing, that he was kind, generous of spirit, and helpful to others, and I cannot disagree with that.
Finally, Mike was my friend and has been a big part of my life for over 50 years, and I am sad that we shall not see each other again, but I will never forget him.