Former Wisbech Town, Luton Town and AFC Bournemouth ‘keeper Mark Ovendale loses cancer battle

FOOTBALL clubs across the country have paid tribute to former Wisbech Town ‘keeper Mark Ovendale who died from cancer this week aged 37.

Official and unofficial websites of a host of clubs, including AFC Bournemouth and Luton Town, have all had messages of condolence posted on them.

Message boards have also been flooded with tributes to the much-travelled and well-liked goalkeeper, who made 181 appearances in the Football League.

The shot-stopper - who went to school at Queen’s in Wisbech - begun his career at the Fenmen in 1991 after signing from Leverington. He made 81 appearances for Wisbech before making the move into professional football by joining Northampton Town in 1994.

The Leicester-born star set a League of Wales record at his next club, Barry Town, after going 1,072 minutes without conceding a goal.

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He moved to AFC Bournemouth in 1998 for �30,000 before Luton paid �425,000 for his services in August 2000.

Mr Ovendale - affectionately nicknamed ‘Ovengloves’ - played for York City before moving back into the non-league game with Tiverton Town and Newport County.

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A hip injury effectively ended his playing career in 2007 although he did play a few matches for Wimborne Town, in Dorset, where he had a coaching role.

Ken Stewart, Wimborne’s chairman, said on the Southern League club’s website: “We are all deeply shocked.

“Mark came to us as goalkeeping coach. He was very professional and well liked. Mark’s work helped put us the road to our eventual promotion. Our thoughts go out to his family.”

Mr Ovendale had been battling terminal cancer in a South Wales hospice before he died on Monday.

The talented sportsman also starred for Wisbech Town Cricket Club as a bowler.

• Leave your tributes to Mr Ovendale below.

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