11 May 2017

Nigeria: Funeral Service Held for Former England Defender Ugo Ehiogu

Photo: Ugo Ehiogu/wikipedia
Ugo Ehiogu, late former England and Aston Villa defender and coach of Tottenham Hotspur's U-23 team

The funeral of former England defender Ugo Ehiogu has taken place in London.

The 44-year-old, Tottenham's Under-23s coach, died in hospital last month after collapsing at the club's training ground. He suffered a cardiac arrest.

England Manager, Gareth Southgate, who played with Ehiogu at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, was among the mourners at St Michael's Church, Highgate, and gave a speech in tribute to his friend.

A fundraising page set up in Ehiogu's memory has raised more than £23,000.

Villa team-mate and best man at his wedding, Dwight Yorke, helped carry his coffin into the church, and said the service was an "amazing occasion".

Former England defender Ledley King and fellow former Spurs players Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood also attended, along with ex-Middlesbrough stars Paul Ince, George Boateng and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Villa stalwarts at the service included former managers Brian Little and Ron Atkinson, and ex-striker Dion Dublin.

Dublin said: "The service was beautiful, as I expected. Ugo's way. Done right, everything was on time, all the people he wanted there were there. I'll miss him."

Ehiogu's widow, Gemma, said her husband's dream was for every child to be able to play football, and the money would be used to create a charity to help enable that.

"He had already put the wheels in motion. This fund will make his dream become a reality," she said.

"We don't have a set target; every donation will help. Thank you, In memory of Ugo Ehiogu #DoSomethingKind."

The hashtag, used by Ehiogu in a final tweet about giving a homeless girl £10, gained huge momentum on social media after his death on 21 April.

The appeal has so far had donations from Middlesbrough, Arsenal and Rangers football clubs and former Villa team-mate Mark Bosnich.

A message left by Middlesbrough read: "Ugo Ehiogu. One of our heroes. You will never be forgotten by Middlesbrough Football Club or the people of Teesside."

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