August 22 2014 Latest news:
by Lorraine King, Digital news editor
Monday, June 23, 2014
A player for a grassroots football club in Brent has died suddenly at the age of 21 while on holiday in Spain.
Alex Stephens, a player for AFC Wembley, passed away last week – two months after the death of the club’s co-founder Trevor Hutton.
Mr Stephens, who grew up in Hawthorn Road, Willesden, was snapped up by Mr Hutton last year where he became a popular player in the club.
He had previously played for youth clubs in Brent before he joined Watford and went on to play as a left-back at Norwich City academy from 2009 to 2011.
His sudden death has shocked the grassroots football community including Tajean Hutton, son of Trevor who died from coronary heart disease on April 30 at the age of 52.
He said: “I am really shocked about Alex’s death.
“He was a quiet and humble man and will be sorely missed.”
Michael Edghill, is the manager of AFC Wembley’s first team.
He persuaded Mr Stephens to join the club while giving him driving lessons.
Paying tribute to ‘one of the team’s better players’, he said: “We are all upset with the news about Alex’s death. He was popular and helped the team to progress as he was one of our better players.
“This is very sad and he will be greatly missed.”
Chris Ampofo, the chair of Brent Schools’ Football Association, told the Times: “This is devastating news. Alex was a lovely lad and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Shocked friends of Mr Stephens and football fans have left tributes to the former pupil of Burlington Danes School in White City, on social networking sites.
On the official Norwich City FC Facebook page Richard Waugh said: “What a tragedy, bad enough any death in a family but for someone with their whole life ahead of them.... My thoughts are with his family and friends, RIP”.
Pearl Day added: “RIP Alex gone to soon. You had a great time at the academy and will always be remembered for your smile achievements and politeness a great lad xx”
Ricky Martin, from Norwich City academy said on behalf of the football club: “He was a bubbly and easy-going lad, very well-liked by his team-mates and staff during his time with us.
“Our thoughts are very much with Alex’s family and friends at this time.”
Mr Stephens death is not being treated as suspicious.
He was cremated in Spain earlier this week but a service to remember his life will be held tomorrow at St Andrews Church in Willesden High Road, Willesden, at 11am.
Following the service his life will be celebrated at the Learie Constantine Centre in Dudden Hill Lane, Willesden, from 2pm.
His parents have requested that no flowers are brought to the service instead everyone should bring a balloon with a message on it for Mr Stephens.
The balloons will be released after the service.