Aldershot Town manager Andy Scott has mourned “a massive loss for the Club and for his family” after the death of long-standing supporter and groundstaff volunteer Mick Jenks, at the age of 80.
A committed fan of the Club renowned for his sharp, self-deprecating sense of humour, Mick first supported The Shots during World War Two and had been a member of Andy Nunn’s team for seven years.
Born in Basingstoke, Mick was a goalkeeper of some repute, and enjoyed a spell at Portsmouth before playing for the successful Romsey side of the 1950s and representing the RAF. He then played senior local football in Hampshire and, when his own career ended in 1969, became a fixture on the Recreation Ground terraces.
Cycling from Basingstoke to Aldershot for every match, his early visits to The Rec were for the Army’s annual challenge fixture against Aston Villa – the team which most of his Birmingham-born family supported – and then to watch an array of internationals turn out for The Shots during the War.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Mick,” says Nunn. “He was always happy, and was all ‘hands-on’ when work needed doing. He loved being among volunteers and the staff. On occasion, I had to tell him to have time off and he would look at me and say, ‘what for?’. He’d always say ‘don’t worry about me, I’m alright’.
“He was also a man who cared for his family, especially his grandchildren, who he adored.”
Mick’s son, Steve, accompanied him to every game and the pair became volunteers at the same time. “We answered one of Nunny’s appeals for help shifting snow, and it all really snowballed from there,” he laughs, before remembering how Mick was a thoroughly deserving but rather reluctant recipient of the Paul Muddell Volunteer of the Year Trophy.
“He walked away from the presentation with a tear in his eye but he was so embarrassed at having to pick up the award. And that’s what he was – he was a humble man who didn’t want a fuss. He just wanted to come in, do his thing, watch his football, and go home. And if he could help, he would.”
“Mick worked tirelessly for years, and the amount of help that he has given Andy and myself on the pitch is amazing,” recognises Scott. “He was always there to help. He was a terrific guy and this is a time when we all should remember Mick and why he loved the Club so much, and do as much as we can to make sure that he’s looking down from above and being proud of what we’re putting out there.
“He followed the Club home and away for years – he was with us at Dover on Tuesday night – and passed that love down the generations of his family. That’s what this Football Club is about. It shows what this Club does for people and that’s what we should be representing on the pitch.”
“He’s left so many people with a lot of memories that will live on for many years,” concludes Nunn, but son Steve knows that such fulsome praise was not really his father’s style.
“All he wanted to do was help people. He gave so much and took so little – that’s all I can remember him by. He wouldn’t want people to be upset and he wouldn’t want to hear all of these tributes. But they would mean so much to him.”