Fred Miniken RIP
It is with deep sadness that we have to report the passing of Mr Fred Miniken, former manager and supporter of St Albans City Youth FC over many years. Fred was a dedicated member of the City Youth Committee under the Chairmanship of George Walker and then Mervyn Morgan, providing advice and guidance with a huge amount of knowledge.
Fred's son, Chris Miniken said that his father passed away on Monday night (14th January), surrounded by his family at Shrewsbury Hospital. There are still many within the club who remember Fred from his time at St Albans City Youth and also from his work with St Albans City FC.
Dave Tavener (Mr Clarence Park) said "it was a sad day when Fred upped sticks and moved from his home in Batchwood Drive to the Welsh border.
Fred will be missed by all at both St Albans City Youth FC and St Albans City FC.
Our condolences go to Fred's family at this sad time.
Image (thanks to Dave Tavener) shows Fred advising a very young Arsene Wenger which of the City Youth youngsters Arsenal should look out for in the future.
Here are two wonderful tributes to Fred from two of his old friends at St Albans City.
Firstly Dave Tavener's tribute titled 'In memory of ‘Whispering’ Fred Miniken'
It is with immense sadness that we have learnt of the death of our long-time friend Fred Miniken who passed away on 14th January at the age of 76.
Fred, who was born in Clacton on 15th August 1942 seven months after the death of his father, will be remembered in these parts not only for his connections to St Albans City Youth but also for his other sporting connections and interests that spread far beyond the football pitch.
As a youngster at Colchester Royal Grammar School he played rugby as well as football. Although he frequently tuned out at right-back for the school he was more often found in goal, a position that stood him in good stead when he turned out in the slips for the cricket teams of, amongst others, Clacton and Wivenhoe. He was a fast bowler and those of us who knew him as an amiable colleague, who would not hurt a fly, would be surprised to discover that he was a fast bowler who had no sympathy for the batsmen who stood between him and the wicket 22-yards away.
His batting, though, left a bit to be desired. His method was simple; plant one foot down the wicket, swing the willow with all his might and either the ball or his stumps would go sailing off into the sunset.
His love of sport was extended to also playing water polo and badminton.
Fred was a well-known teacher in St Albans schools but learnt his trade at Bishop Otter College in Chichester before branching out in Prettygate School in Colchester. Upon moving to St Albans he became deputy head at Killigrew School and was coach to the school football team. It was here that Fred was the Form Teacher to current St Albans City owner Lawrence Levy who said that he has very fond memories of those days. An email sent by Fred some years ago was less complimentary about Lawrence’s ability as a footballer.
Under Fred’s leadership and guidance the school football team enjoyed great success, winning numerous trophies while Fred himself went on to run the St Albans Primary Schools District team for 15 years. He was also manager to St Albans City Youth and, under the chairmanship of George Walker and, later, Mervyn Morgan, was a dedicated member of the St Albans City Youth Committee.
His connections with the City Youth led to him also becoming involved with the senior team. For a couple of years he was the stadium announcer at Clarence Park where he gained the nickname ‘Whispering Fred.’ It was a moniker that he would occasionally use to sign off emails.
Former City hon. secretary Steve Trulock recalls that Fred was an Ipswich Town supporter. Following a pre-season friendly with Ipswich (19th July 1999) Steve arranged for the Ipswich players to sign a shirt that he then took and presented to Fred who, at that time, was in St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. Fred’s wife Su was also in attendance and it was with tears in his eyes that Fred received his surprise gift.
His love for cricket resurfaced during his time here and he played for Leverstock Green as well as the Garden Fields School Parent’s team in St Albans.
Fred suffered with medical problems for many years but even when he and his family moved from St Albans in 2005 he did not turn his back on football and soon popped down to see local side Berriew following the move to mid-Wales.
Fred was a more than keen gardener, as his son Chris explained his dad’s garden and orchard grew larger and the vegetable plot more productive. He threw himself into village life and after winning prizes for his vegetables and dahlia blooms jumped onboard with the organisers and relaunched his ‘Whispering Fred’ career to the entertainment of show goers.
Fred took on a multitude of tasks that would keep his mind active and despite his health issues his family are pleased to say that he was involved in everything they did over Christmas and New Year but that his health deteriorated rapidly before his sad death in Shrewsbury Hospital last week.
We have lost a true friend who is most fondly remembered in these parts and we send our most sincere condolences to his wife Su and their two children at this sad time.
Followed by Steve Trulock who also recalls the presentation to Fred of a Signed Ipswich shirt.
At St. Albans City FC home games Fred was virtually ever present during the 1990’s, indeed right up to the time he moved away.
He was always there to take control of the Youth players, whether it was helping to organise penalties at half time or as we have seen in the photos, taking control of the mascots and football the display by City Youth players at the prestigious pre-season friendlies we had at the time with clubs bringing their first teams to the park, like Arsenal, QPR, Tottenham etc.
Fred was the sort of person who I could never imagine having an argument with or falling out with, he carried authority (must have been the school teacher) but always had a pleasant relaxed manner, even when under pressure.
I remember Fred missing one pre-season at the park and was taken ill, missing the friendly against Ipswich Town (His team). We mentioned Fred’s illness to the Ipswich staff and they kindly donated a signed shirt for him which I took to him at St Marys Paddington. At the time I didn’t realise quite how ill Fred was, but he soon cheered up when he saw the shirt.