TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘kind and wonderful’ footballer who died hours after his grandmother’s funeral.

Shane Stanley, who was just 31, had suffered an epileptic fit in the weeks before his death late on Friday.

However, friends have said he showed no other signs of ill-health.

The young father, who had been married for around a year, played for Poole Borough Football Club for a decade and was one of the club’s most popular players.

He had also turned out for a host of other teams around Poole.

Chairman Fred Thomas said: “He was a young, healthy man – it’s just horrendous and it’s knocked us all sideways.

“He’s one of our longest-standing players, and had been with us on and off for around 10 years.”

Mr Stanley, who worked for Barclays Bank, had two young sons and a daughter.

Mr Thomas said: “He was a gentleman.

“He played hard on the pitch but off it, he was just Shane Stanley – a great man. You can’t say more than that.

“Everyone loved him.”

The footballer lived in the Turlin Moor area of Poole.

The club decided to continue with their planned game against Mere Town FC on Saturday, shortly after learning of Mr Stanley’s death, and a minute’s silence was observed before the match. Steven Harvey, the chairman of Hamworthy United Football Club, said: “Shane played for us for a couple of seasons.

“He used to play for Corfe Mullen United, one of my former clubs, which is where I met him.

“He was an absolutely lovely bloke and it’s awful news.”

Branksome Railway, who made it to the last eight of the FA Sunday Cup yesterday, dedicated their 2-1 win over New Salamis to Shane.

Dozens of comments were added to a Facebook tribute page at the weekend.

He was a 'club legend'

A STATEMENT issued by Poole Borough FC on Saturday said Shane was a ‘club legend’ and added: “Shane was a loved and respected member of the Boro family both on and off the pitch.

“Not only for his ability, but also for his commitment and leadership.

“He will be sorely missed not just around the local football scene from his time playing with us, Poole Town, Hamworthy United and Merley CS, but also around his local community and around his home town.

“We, along with everyone else, are shocked and saddened by the news and we send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to his family and close friends whom are affected most by this horrendous news.

“We would also like to thank the officials, players and management of Mere Town FC, who agreed to a minute’s silence, which was impeccably observed.

“Also a mention for our first team today, some of whom were close friends of the big man, for agreeing to play in such tragic circumstances.

“Again, we as a club would like to pay our respects to Shane, not only as a player but also as a great man, and appreciate all that he did for us.”