Mike King turned from goalscoring to entertaining and joke-telling
Tributes have been paid to comedian and after-dinner speaker Mike King who has died at the age of 83.
King compered the PNE Former Players’ Association’s annual dinner at Deepdale and was himself on North End’s books as a youngster.
He was a past president of Longridge Town and to this day holds their goalscoring record – bagging 77 league and cup goals in one season.
Known as ‘Kingy’, he was a regular on the after-dinner circuit in the region. He was an expert at his trade, able to keep the room entertained and laughing.
Ian Rigby, secretary of the PNE Former Players’ Association, said: “Anyone who attended a sportsman’s dinner function over the last 40 years or so, in and around Lancashire and beyond, must have seen Mike King at work.
“Mike worked with many celebrities over the years and was up there with the best with his witty stand-up comedy and his brilliant talent of being able to do all kinds of accents, local or foreign with seemingly ease.
“He helped arrange and compere all of the Preston North End Former Players’ Association dinners since our inception in January 1998 with great professionalism and sincerity.
“Not many people will realise that Kingy, a past president of Longridge Town, holds their goalscoring record, having once bagged an amazing 77 league and cup goals for them in a single season.
“On the strength of that he joined Preston North End in 1955. On his ‘B’ team debut in a North End shirt he scored six goals in a 10-3 win at Stockport County.
“What a dream start and he told me that it could only go downhill from that!
"The former policeman will be sorely missed and his passing is a great loss to the comedy profession and especially to the Former Players’ Association who owe him their gratitude for services rendered above and beyond the call of duty.
“Those who really knew him know that he was a kind and generous family man.
“Our condolences go out to his family and friends, of which there were many.”
King passed away peacefully at his home in Fulwood on Monday.
Longridge Town are to hold a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to him before their home game against Charnock Richard.
A statement from the club read: “Mike, along with Brian Parkinson, was instrumental in setting up a new club, combining two Longridge teams.
“He was forever proud of the club and everyone associated with it for its continuing development, sponsoring at least one game per season.”
Sports commentator John Gwynne tweeted: “This is really sad news. I had the pleasure of working with and for Mike on a number of occasions. He was a one-off.”