Date published: 27/01/2017
It was with great sadness that we at the Football Foundation learnt of the passing of our former member of staff, Mike Overton.
Mike was a long-serving, popular member of staff at the Football Foundation.
He had previously worked as a consultant for the Foundation’s forerunner, The Football Trust, where he oversaw seismic improvements in the safety of stadia, following the directives laid out in the 1990 Taylor Report that was set up in the wake of the Hillsborough tragedy. Part of Mike’s legacy in working at The Trust can be seen when you look across the country and consider that we now boast the most impressive and comprehensive inventory of quality football stadia seen anywhere in the world.
His impact in that role impressed The Football Trust’s Board members so much that they asked him to join the newly-formed Football Foundation in 2000, as part of a two-man Technical Team which covered the whole of England. When the level of demand for better football facilities became clear, his quiet persuasion influenced the creation of regionally-based teams to provide greater support to projects, a way of working that continues to this day.
His work as a Technical Advisor was hugely respected by his peers and the clubs and projects that received his support. Mike’s work was typified by a professionalism, depth of knowledge and ability to guide a project of any scale or complexity.
This was not the main reason for his great popularity though, Mike had a keen sense of humour, was always approachable and considered by all who met him as one of life’s gentlemen.
When Mike retired in 2011 he was long past the official retirement age, but had carried on working simply because he enjoyed it and believed in what the Foundation does. His generosity was boundless and his willingness to share his experience and skill was greatly appreciated by new recruits to the Facilities Team, as it was then called. It is no exaggeration to say that the standards set by Mike are those that his former colleagues still aspire to.
Those of us who worked with Mike are deeply saddened by his loss, but consider ourselves fortunate to have had the chance to learn from him.
Mike’s funeral is being held on 2 February. Football Trust and Foundation colleagues, past and present, will be attending, along with representatives from The FA and Premier League.