Well known on the local football circuit, Mick went on to have two spells as manager of Wivenhoe Town Football Club. Born in Colchester on 8th December 1942 he played for the Wilson Marriage youth team and Colchester Casuals in the Essex & Suffolk Border League initially as a midfielder. With both of these sides having an affiliation with Colchester United at the time, it was a natural progression for him to move on to the U’s Reserves where he played as an Amateur in the Football Combination. Signing as a Professional in August 1961, it was during his days in the Reserves that he was used as an emergency centre half where he quickly proved to be a natural at the heart of the defence. So impressive were his performances that then Colchester Manager Neil Franklin oversaw his progression into the First Team in that position to make his senior debut in 1964.
I came across this Colchester United programme reproduced below which shows Mick in the line up for an F.A. Cup First Round Proper tie played on Saturday 14th November 1964. Some reading this will no doubt remember one or two of the businesses advertising in this publication at the time and, from a Wivenhoe point of interest, you can see adverts for Cedric Coaches (long time associated with Dragons away travel) and the now defunct Park Hotel which was run at the time by Mr & Mrs H. McKea.
In total Mick made 122 First Team appearances (during which time he scored 7 goals) over the next three seasons playing mostly on a part-time basis. When Dick Graham replaced Franklin as Manager in July 1968 he was prepared to allow Loughton to continue with the same playing arrangement as before but insisted on increased commitment in terms of training hours however Mick was unable to agree due to his involvement in his family’s business and therefore departed from Layer Road. He joined Brentwood Town on the eve of the 1968/69 campaign (apparently doubling his wages in the process !) and won the Southern League First Division Title with them. On a personal note Mick played in the first ever football match I attended as a seven year old at Crawley Town’s now long gone Town Meadow ground and reproduced below are the programme line ups (who would have thought that years later I would be involved with the same club as him. Just goes to show, it really is a small world).
In the summer of 1970 Brentwood Town were merged/absorbed by Chelmsford City and he was one of several players to move to New Writtle Street. Winning the Southern League Premier Division Championship (as well as a two-legged play off against Northern League Title winners Stafford Rangers to become overall Non League Champions) in 1971/72, Mick made 383 appearances for City (scoring 29 goals) and went on to have two spells managing the club (broken by a stint as Boss of Tiptree United) between 1977 and 1984.
Mick arrived at Broad Lane in the summer of 1985 to initially assist then Dragons Player Manager Micky Packer but, just two weeks into the season, he took over First Team affairs at the beginning of September and guided the side to the Runners Up spot in the Essex Senior League enabling us to gain promotion to the Isthmian League Division Two North. With limited resources available and thus being unable to hold on to several of his better players in pre season, Mick parted company with the Dragons in December 1986 to pave the way for the return of Geoff Bennett to Broad Lane weeks later. Despite the circumstances of his departure it spoke volumes for Mick’s character that he offered his services to the club once again with the Dragons struggling badly in the Isthmian League Premier Division in early October 1991. Having lost all 14 of our opening fixtures in all competitions, he took over First Team affairs in November and, with Alan Springett as his assistant, built a side that eventually comfortably avoided relegation. ” The club looked doomed in October and it was a real challenge. Pulling things round has given me more satisfaction than any other thing I have achieved in football. It has been a minor miracle.” he said afterwards and no one would argue with his statement. There was also some minor silverware as the club won the Woodbridge Challenge Cup.
Once again, with only a limited budget, it was great credit to Mick that he managed to retain the majority of the squad for the 1992/93 campaign but off the field events saw Wivenhoe plunged into further problems and the club’s financial plight brought it to the very brink of closure. Immediate cash supplies were exhausted and further dramatic cuts to the budget understandably saw a disappointed Loughton leave the club as he resigned following a 0-4 home defeat at the hands of Enfield on Saturday 23rd January 1993 prior to linking up with Heybridge Swifts. In more recent years Mick continued his involvement with football as a scout for the likes of Dagenham & Redbridge and Luton Town and is remembered as a well liked and respected figure here at Broad Lane.