Triumph dedicated to tragic Stourbridge youth football manager

A youth football team in the Black Country is dedicating its cup success to its late manager who died in a freak accident midway through the season.

With the cup are Darren Owen’s sons Joe and Luke with the team, manager Pete Thompson and coach Simon Westwood
With the cup are Darren Owen’s sons Joe and Luke with the team, manager Pete Thompson and coach Simon Westwood

Father-of-two Darren Owen died aged 36 after a fall while collecting Christmas decorations from the loft of his home in Dudley in December.

He had managed Stourbridge Football Club Under-11s, which has now scooped silverware in the league cup.

The side, which includes his 10-year-old son Luke, won the Stourbridge and District Youth League Under-11s competition, beating Kewford Eagles South 2-0.

Darren Owen
Darren Owen

At the game at The Dell Stadium last Sunday, Darren’s wife Becky handed out the winning medals to the side while his other son Joe, eight, was a ball boy.

Last night, following a league game against Halesowen Town at King Edward VI playing fields, the team met up again with Mrs Owen for photographs to be taken.

Coach Simon Westwood said: “Darren’s death was a massive shock to everyone involved at the club.

“It affected us all, but after the two weeks off the players came back determined to give their best and achieve something in memory of Daz.

“The league asking Becky to award the winning medals at the game only spurred the team on and it was a great moment when we lifted the cup.”

Former assistant manager Peter Thompson has since taken over as manager of the side.

The team is fifth in the league’s top division, but has games in hand and could still come top.

At last night’s game, which the Stourbridge side won 3-0, the players turned out in specially-made polo shirts with Mr Owen’s name on them.

Mr Westwood, 39, from Brierley Hill, said: “He was a brilliant person, a hard-working man, but most of all a lovely man.

“The success of the side was down to him. It was him who laid down the foundation, me and Peter have only followed his lead.”

Mr Westwood said Mr Owen would always been remembered for his hard work.

“He was loved by the kids and popular with all the managers in the division and what we have achieved is all down to Darren’s work during the pre-season,” he said.