Sad news reached us last night with the death of the Exeter City striker Adam Stansfield at the age of thirty-one, after a four month battle with cancer of the bowel. Born in Tiverton, Stansfield spent the whole of his nine years as a professional player in the South-West and West of England. Having started out in non-league football with Elmore, he went on to play for Yeovil Town, Hereford United and Exeter City, where he had been a valued member of the first team squad since 2006. Former manager Gary Johnson, who gave him his opportunity at Yeovil, described him as, “probably one of the hardest working footballers I’ve ever worked with”, a strong tribute indeed for a coach that is renouned as a hard task-master.
No official announcement has been yet over whether Exeter’s match at Dagenham on Saturday will go ahead. Whether to go ahead with the match or not under such circumstances is always a difficult judgement call to make, but perhaps the best tribute that can be laid on by the players is to out on Saturday afternoon and play their hearts out for his memory. Supporters’ tributes have, of course, already started to arrive at St James Park. Significantly, there have also been fulsome and heartfelt tributes left on the forums of other clubs. To lose an athlete, until recently presumed to be in the fullest of health, in such an arbitary seeming way is a loss for us all and serves as a timely reminder that we, as supporters, have been in common than we do between us. It is, let us never forget, only a game.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and also with everybody connected with Exeter City FC – players, officials and supporters – at this difficult time. Anybody wishing to leave a message of condolence may do so here.
***A quick update on the 12th August – It has been confirmed that Exeter’s match at Dagenham & Redbridge has been postponed.