A Story Of Different Partings

Contrasting Lives Of Kent Brothers

Paul Kent during his Norwich career.

More information has come to light about Mick Kent, the briefly-seen former Wolves midfielder whose funeral takes place on Monday.

We wrote at length about Mick on March 26 after learning of his death at the age of 70 but are now in a position to share more with our readers.

His younger brother, Paul, was kind enough to indulge us with a long chat on the phone and pointed out that their dad, who lived to the age of 91, had himself been a very talented footballer who was closely watched by Rotherham.

The sporting gene was certainly passed down a generation. While Mick was signed later than usual and went straight on a professional contract at Wolves, full-back Paul was given an apprenticeship by Norwich in 1970 during the Ron Saunders era.

In terms of first-team games, the siblings were closely matched, playing twice for Wolves and three times for the Canaries respectively before their paths crossed again in Norfolk when Mick went there on trial.

Paul has a theory on the brief nature of his brother’s playing career – and also some regret that too much of their time was spent apart.

“Mick liked the nightlife and was like George Best without the fame,” he said. “He had plenty of ability but loved to have a good time.

“He also became detached and I hadn’t seen him for 17 years. Before that, he had gone missing but we somehow found him for my daughter Lisa’s wedding. When he left after that, he said: ‘Right, I guess we will meet again in another ten years.’ He was liked by everyone but his family didn’t see much of him.

“He had no sense with money. If he had it, he spent it. I don’t know how they traced me to say he had died but I knew he wouldn’t have left anything.

“Later in his life, he had a chauffeuring job but would just earn enough and then disappear to Benidorm for a few months to live it up. He would come back and earn some more, so he could plan to go again. But, if he had a fiver and you had nothing, he would share it with you or give you it.”

Mick and Kenny Hibbitt were born a week or two apart and had a combined 21st birthday bash in January, 1972 – the month in which a high-flying Wolves won 3-1 at Manchester United in the League.

Mick Kent at Molineux more than 50 years ago.

And Les Wilson, who had not long left Molineux to join Bristol City, is not surprised by the new life Paul pursued following his football career. He got to know him when they were playing colleagues at Carrow Road and remembers him as the cutter of hair for many of the squad members.

Paul, who made his first-team debut as a substitute against Manchester United on the day the Canaries were relegated in April, 1974, followed up a playing stint also partly spent with Halifax and Cambridge United by becoming a professional hairdresser in Norwich – a business he still has now in the second half of his 60s.

A look at the pictures accompanying this story will confirm that the brothers were well blessed with hair but Mick had tragedy in his life, too, the first of his wives being killed in a motorway crash in Yorkshire while working.

He also twice broke his leg – once while playing for Sheffield Wednesday under Derek Dooley and once while accompanying Paul Walker on a temporary stint in South Africa while they were Wolves colleagues.

Mick, who had no children, died in hospital several weeks ago and will be cremated in Norwich.

Thomas Publications
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