Of all the people associated with The Eastenders’ recent rise to prominence, none is more instantly recognisable than Mike Wilson – “Mickey Bo” as he has become more familiarly known during his 36 years involvement with the Club.
Born in 1943 in Patrington (while his father was stationed with the Army at nearby Kilnsea) Mike’s family moved back to their native Kent at the end of the Second World War. While there he went for trials with boyhood heroes Gillingham in 1962. Unfortunately, ‘Gills’ manager Harry Barrett was left untouched by his talents and after a trial with the reserves, the young left-footed Wilson was rejected.
The call of the East End brought Mike’s parents back up north in 1966 where their son joined them seven years later. Having moved to Easington he began his long and happy association with United when making his debut as a 29-year-old on 14 April 1973; scoring in a South Holderness Cup defeat by Ottringham. Although his regular playing career finished in 1979, Mickey Bo was often called upon over the next decade to make one-off appearances and plug gaps in various depleted line-ups. The last of his 114 appearances came in the 7-0 win at Leconfield Seconds on 13 October 1990 during the County League Division 3 title-winning campaign. Appointed manager at the 1979 AGM, he was also elected vice-chairman of the Club during the Eighties, a position he still holds today, while 2007 also saw him step back into management when he agreed to fill the vacancy at reserve team level “until a long-term replacement could be found”.
But it’s for the 24 years he spent as first team manager at Low Farm that Wilson will be remembered best. He oversaw promotion from Division 4 in his second year at the helm but it was during the Nineites when he steered the Club to a level of success unparalleled in their history.
He can still be found down at Low Farm marking the pitches most Saturday mornings, the smoke from his trademark pipe wisping out behind him. Long may it continue.
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