Tony Banks dies

Tony Banks, ex-Labour MP, former sports minister and avid, lifelong Chelsea fan has died at the age of 62 after suffering a massive stroke whilst on holiday in the United States.

I never met Tony Banks in person, but whenever I read, heard or saw him in the media (he regularly appeared on Chelsea’s own television channel) I was always struck by his charisma and passion, be it for Chelsea Football Club, animal rights or the arts.

He was a regular at Stamford Bridge, along with ex-Tory minister and friend David Mellor, and is sure to be sadly missed.

Chelsea are discussing what would be an appropriate tribute to his passing.

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Banks family hold private funeral · Update

The funeral of Tony Banks has taken place in London, with mourners paying tribute to a “lord of misrule” and “a loveable rogue”.

Mr Banks’ friend, and fellow Chelsea fan, David Mellor, told the congregation that his death had robbed British politics of one of its most passionate and colourful practitioners, and Chelsea football club of its number one fan.

“Tony ate, slept and breathed Chelsea, not one of life’s softest options when you think that for more than two decades he represented West Ham.

“Tony was a diehard and occasionally an embittered partisan, impassioned, not to say inflammatory, in his opinions.”

Mr Mellor spoke about Tony Banks’ “glorious simplicity”, saying he had no side, no pomposity and certainly no self-love.

“A lord of misrule, a cheeky chappy, call him what you will — he can be defined, but he cannot be replaced.”