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Goodbye, Mike Dent, you will be greatly missed

By Tony Banks

I first met Mike when I joined the original Surrey County Table Soccer Club down in their Surbiton base in around 1974 or 75. Already there were players of the calibre of Paul Donovan, Richard Stock, Rob Lovett and Alan Freeman. Colin Vickers was also around as myself and Mike Absolom arrived. What a team/teams we had then!!

And what fun we had as we rattled around in Rob’s old car to places like Wembley, Taunton, Milton Keynes and, famously, Cornwall to play in tournaments and Inter County Cups.

I learned so much from Mike about what competitive TS was all about. As in, 1-0 is enough! What a generous tutor he was. European Champion, World vice champion when World Cups were not played every year, had the unique privilege of achieving the champion status for both England and (twice) Scotland. He was certainly among the very elite in Britain

and Europe. You knew you were playing against the best.

We lost touch over the years as life intervened, and then re-connected through social media. We talked about meeting up again, maybe at a Surrey Saracens even, but sadly it never happened, and now it never will.

The best player I ever saw or played against. Meticulous, frighteningly accurate, utterly deadly when he got anywhere near your goal. But also unfailingly generous, scrupulously fair and ever willing to pass on tips and advice on how to play the game. We all learned so much. We were all so privileged to play with him.

More importantly, a great bloke. Funny, clever, modest and helpful. Those days rattling around in the Lovett mobile (and the Donovan mobile occasionally) were such great memories. Even if we did have to listen to Deep Purple.

RIP Mike. Travel safely old chum.

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