BOYS grieving for the loss of their football club boss are planning a host of tributes as they vow to continue in his name.
Micky Gibbons, 41, died suddenly at his Washington home earlier this month, with his loved ones gathering to say their final farewell to him on Saturday.
The dad-of-one set up NSG Athletic with the aim of developing its players as people, rather than as a competitive side.
Now its four young squads, his family and friends have pledged to press on with his plans to expand the club as a legacy of their chairman’s work.
Michael Nelson, the side’s coach and club ambassador, who ran the club with Micky and head of football Tony Sugden, said: “The players can’t understand how they are not going to see him again.
“They’ve been coming up with ideas, if they score a goal for him and what they want on their strips.
“They have taken it hard, but they have comforted each other and spoken to each other about it.
“Micky didn’t want the club to grow into a business where there were so many kids he didn’t know them.
“He wanted to know the names of every child.
“It wasn’t about football and to become like a Premier Division team, but about manners, ethics and confidence.
“Each was an individual. He coached them to play, but it was more about them as a person.”
The club, which takes its name from its three founding members’ surnames, is based at Oxclose School and was set up two years ago when Micky decided to launch his own group after helping out a team his son Connor, 11, played for.
Within six months his club, which plays in the Russell Foster Youth Leagues, had made the Durham FA’s chartered standard.
Micky, a former project pursuit manager for Emerson Process Management, would travel hundreds of miles from schemes he was working on to take the Tuesday night training sessions for the under 12, who won promotion in their first season, under 9s, and two under 7 sides.
Micky’s widow Roslyn, 41, said she has been inundated with hundreds of cards following his death.
She said: “It was his life and he loved it.
“He would always text or ring if the kids had a great game and he would call every single child to tell them how well they had done.
“They were like his family. It was his focus and it was all for the kids.
“We will keep the club going as his legacy, it won’t close.”
Donations in lieu of flowers at his funeral will go to help support the club, which is set up as a community fund.