Michael “Mick” Massingham, from Grantham, passed away early in the morning of Wednesday 29th November 2023, following a short illness. Mick was a leading member of the Football Family of Lincolnshire for over 60 years and will be missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
The term local legend can only rarely be used to its true value, but in the case of Mick Massingham the title is more than fitting.
Mick was part of the fabric of football in and around the Grantham area for over sixty years, and his passing following a short illness has been felt deeply.
When Mick received his Lincolnshire FA County Recognition Award for Outstanding Contribution to Refereeing, he began his acceptance speech with a story of how as a 14-year-old, he was pressured into action for a local Men's team when they were one short, and played the game in his school shoes. The telling off he received from his Mum on returning home did little to diminish his excitement.
He would go on to sign for Lincoln City at 16 and, following two seasons there moved to Grantham Town who then played in the Southern League. In 1970, it was on to Sleaford Town and Sleaford Rangers on a Sunday. He finished his football career as a player where he started, back in his home village of Gonerby, also taking on the role of Manager.
In 1978, it all changed when he completed the Referee Course and commenced his journey with the whistle, something he continued to do into this season. He became a Class 1 Referee in 1983, refereeing mainly on the Central Midlands League.
In 1986, he was elected by his fellow local Referees as Chairman of the Grantham and District Referees Association, a position he held proudly for an unprecedented 30 years until retiring in 2016.
During this period he was also an FA Referee Instructor for 20 years, teaching hundreds of new Match Officials in that time.
Lincolnshire FA Referee Development Manager, Michael Brader, reflected: “Refereeing can be a divisive occupation at times, and to have the longevity in football that Mick did whilst being able to retain the respect and admiration of others says everything about him as a person. He was known far and wide as a fair and consistent man with a warm smile and wise words for those who wanted to listen. I know his Wife and Family have been heartened by the kind words and messages they have received.”
The funeral will be Thursday 28th December 2023, 11.45am at St Sebastians Church in Great Gonerby followed by a private family service at the crematorium. The wake will be held at Great Gonerby Social Club.