Ugo Ehiogu: the gentle giant

The football world is in shock today after it was confirmed that ex-England international Ugo Ehiogu had sadly passed away at the age of just 44 after suffering a cardiac arrest at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground yesterday.

Playing career

Ehiogu was undoubtedly a great player – he won the League Cup three times, achieved cult hero status at almost every club he represented and formed half of one of the most formidable centre-back partnerships in the Premier League during the 00s, with the other half comprising of none other than current England manager Gareth Southgate.

After retiring from professional football, Ehiogu looked to forge a career in coaching – a path which he was striding along with great success.

His last position at Tottenham Hotspur as coach of their U-23s is testament to this, as many of Tottenham’s recent crop of outrageously talented young players passed under his tutelage at some point.


Ehiogu’s commitment on the pitch was second to none. His performances in the Premier League for Aston Villa – where he won the first two of his three League Cup medals – and Middlesborough occasionally bordered on heroic. Indeed, his name is etched into Middlesborough folklore, having been, in the words of Boro’s chairman Steve Gibson, “one of our heroes at Cardiff when the club won it’s only major trophy [the League Cup in 2004]”.

However, it is perhaps north of the border, during his time with Rangers, that he scored his most memorable goal against bitter arch-rivals Celtic.

A 90th minute overhead kick to win the Old Firm derby? At least there is no doubt that Ehiogu will retain a spot in almost every Rangers fan’s heart because that of single iconic moment, which was eventually voted goal of the season.

A legend on and off the pitch

But despite Ehiogu’s imposing physique and warrior-like performances on the pitch, he was a gentleman off it. This is summed up by the fact that almost every tribute being paid to Ehiogu references his incredibly kind demeanour in some way.



However, perhaps the greatest summary of his character is best left to the man himself – his final tweet before his passing encapsulates just how much of a legend on and off the field of play this man was and that he is not only a loss to the footballing world, but to the world in general.

Rest in peace, Ugo Ehiogu.

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