Tributes have been made to a popular youth team football coach who has died aged 36 after falling in his Dudley home.
Father-of-two Darren Owen, who managed Stourbridge Football Club Under-11s, was hailed for his work with the youngsters. Neighbours said that they believed Mr Owen fell while collecting Christmas decorations from the loft in his home.
He died in Russells Hall Hospital on Saturday night due to head injuries following the fall.
He leaves behind his wife Becky and two children Luke, who plays for the club, and Joe. Yesterday Mrs Owen said she was too upset to talk and was ‘struggling to get my head together’ following her husband’s death.
Stourbridge Football Club director Andy Bullingham said the club had been in contact with the family.
The club cancelled last Sunday’s game as a mark of respect. He said: “We know he fell from his attic and was found by his wife.
“Paramedics were called and he was put on a ventilator, but died in hospital.”
Under 11s assistant manager Peter Thompson said: “I don’t think anyone can quite yet believe what has happened. Darren was a great man.”
The side’s administrator Simon Westwood also paid tribute. He said: “All of our thoughts and prayers are with Darren’s family, Becky, Luke and Joe, at this tragic time. Darren was a great manager but most importantly a great person.
“Darren was not in football for self gain, he was in it foremost for the kids.”
He added: “We would like to thank all the people and other clubs, managers and coaches who have passed their condolences.”
Black Country coroner Robin Balmain opened an inquest into his death yesterday. It was adjourned for investigation.
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