The funeral of Former England and Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu, took place today with his family, friends, England manager Gareth Southgate, Gary Mabbutt, Pat Jennings, members of the Academy Squad and former team-mates in attendance to pay him their last respects. The 44 year old died last month after suffering a cardiac arrest at the club’s training ground on Thursday. Before his death, he was the coach of the under 23 team of Tottenham hotspur.
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.
Ehiogu, who was Spurs’ Under-23s coach, was capped four times by England. Ehiogu made over 200 appearances for Aston Villa between 1991 and 2000 and then spent seven years at Middlesbrough. He won the League Cup with Villa in 1994 and 1996, and also with Boro in 2004.
The centre-back also played for West Brom, Leeds, Rangers and Sheffield United, before retiring in 2009. He began coaching at Tottenham in 2014.
Ehiogu was a co-founder of music label Dirty Hit, which has British indie band The 1975 on its books. He married his wife, Gemma, in 2005. He had two children – son Obi Jackson and daughter Jodie.
Middlesbrough bought Ehiogu for a then club record fee of £8m in 2000 and he became a mainstay of the defence alongside Gareth Southgate as Steve McClaren’s side won the League Cup.
Former Villa boss Ron Atkinson, who brought Ehiogu to the club in 1991, said: “It is a complete shock. He was a big physical specimen, a strong man. You realise that can happen to anyone.
“He was a defender that liked defending, he loved a full-blooded challenge. He didn’t have the best of starts for Villa and made a couple of blunders against Norwich that cost us the result, and it took him a long time to live that down. But he showed character and developed into a centre-half who would have got a lot of England caps but for injury.”
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino added: “Ugo was a lovely man and we had a very good relationship. It’s a huge loss personally and for all the Tottenham family.”
Club chairman Daniel Levy said of his passing: “This is an incredibly sad day for the club and a tragic loss of a talented member of our Spurs family. Ugo was an extremely popular and respected academy coach, a tremendous influence on our younger players, both in training and away from the pitch.”
Football Association chairman Greg Clarke said he was “a hugely popular figure across English football but particularly at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. He was also close to many at Wembley and St George’s Park through his England connections – both as a player and as a coach”.