St Albans boss and former Arsenal attacker Ian Allinson pays warm tribute to ‘wonderful’ former Saint and Love Island star Michael Thalassitis
PUBLISHED: 16:32 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 20 March 2019
St Albans boss Ian Allinson has paid a moving tribute to former Saints player Michael Thalassitis who sadly died at the weekend, writes Layth Yousif.
Tributes have been pouring in for the 26-year-old who featured for the club in 2016 scoring six goals in 15 league games during his spell at Clarence Park.
The Love Island star – who was given his first professional football contract at Stevenage in 2011 – was found dead on Saturday morning in a park near his childhood home in Edmonton, north London, the Metropolitan Police confirmed. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
Saints boss Allinson honoured the popular former footballer with a warm tribute.
He said: “He was so full of life, he was a wonderful character in the dressing room. It’s so sad. He was a genuinely a nice, young lad who had the whole of his life in front of him.
“He brought a lot of joy to everyone at the club in the time he was with us. He celebrated his goals with such joy.
“On the pitch he was a big, strong athlete who covered a lot of ground and off the field he was such a good person that everyone warmed to.”
Mike – as he was known when he appeared on the ITV reality show in 2017 – joined Stevenage’s youth system ahead of the 2010-11 season, earning his first contract after scoring 17 goals in 26 games.
The striker played for Boro six times between 2011 and 2014 after making his debut in a 1-0 away defeat to Milton Keynes in August 2011, with six loan spells while still on Stevenage’s books.
The first of those spells was with Allinson when he was in charge at Boreham Wood when Thala netted five goals in 11 matches during the 2011-12 season.
Allinson added: “He did well for me at Boreham Wood. He was a lively boy that everyone couldn’t help liking.
“If only he could have picked up the phone and talked to someone. He could still have played football for many years yet. It’s just tragic.”
After being released by Stevenage in May 2014, the Cyprus U19 and U21 international went on to play for Bishop’s Stortford, Chelmsford City, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead Town, among others, before signing his last football contract in February 2017 in a second spell at Margate.
In the summer of that year he appeared on ITV’s Love Island, where he was affectionately known as ‘Muggy Mike’ after being a hit with the ladies.
In the wake of the news of his death, the show’s host, Caroline Flack, posted: “Mike... you were a total gentleman... I won’t forget that... it’s so sad... you will be missed. RIP.”
Stevenage’s Kady McDermott, who was a Love Island finalist in 2016, has raised questions over the lack of post-show support provided to those who find fame after appearing on reality TV.
She said: “Hopefully going forward reality shows will help more with the aftermath of being on one, because I can say it definitely didn’t happen after my series when lots of us needed it. People’s lives change overnight and no one can mentally be prepared for it. The good and the bad.”