A much-loved footballer who tragically died on the pitch has been remembered at a memorial game.
Spital FC player Alan Padley, of Talbot Crescent, Hasland, unexpectedly died during a Sunday friendly against Bolsover AFC.
On Thursday, both teams came together to remember the 43-year-old “club legend”, affectionately known as Paddy.
Manager Mark Green said: “It was a fantastic night with a great turnout – I’m sure Paddy was looking down cheering us on.
“He always turned up with a smile, played with a smile and left with a smile – he was a club legend.”
Club secretary Ian Clifford added: “Paddy was such a relaxed, easy-going guy who loved his football – he’s very sadly missed.
“His death was absolutely tragic, unexpected and inexplicable.”
The team has had ‘Paddy’ printed on the back of their shirts to serve as a permanent reminder of their friend.
The memorial match, which was won by Bolsover AFC, was attended by many of Mr Padley’s family and friends and included a minute’s silence for him.
Mr Padley, who worked as a tree surgeon, had lived in the area all his life.
Despite frantic efforts to revive him, the much-loved footballer died on the pitch towards the end of last month’s friendly between Spital FC and Bolsover AFC.
Mr Green said: “We were thinking about packing it all in after what we saw – but we’re going to carry on playing football as that’s what Paddy would have wanted.”
An inquest into Mr Padley’s death recorded a verdict of natural causes.