Thousands raised in memory of much-loved footballer Leon Taylor who died aged 36

Thousands of pounds have been raised in memory of popular and much-loved footballer Leon Taylor who died at the age of 36.

Leon Taylor
Leon Taylor

The striker, who lived in Walsall and was well-known across the West Midlands football scene, was taken ill on Wednesday.

It was announced on Thursday he had passed away which prompted a string of poignant and heartfelt tributes to the footballer.

A fundraiser was later set up by Darlaston Town 1874 – where Taylor played most recently – to help raise money for his family.

As of Monday morning more than £13,800 had been donated in a widespread show of support from friends and the footballing community.

Leon Taylor pictured in action for Darlaston Town 1874

Dean Gill, who managed Taylor at Darlaston, said he wasn't surprised with the amount which had been raised within 24 hours – which was testament to how much the footballer was loved.

He said: "No, the answer is no [not surprised with how much has been raised] because I knew what Leon was to the football world. There was always the trust and belief in me, I guess, that the football family would come together when it needs to and I'm absolutely ecstatic and made up [with the amount raised].

"He was a complete football fanatic and he was fundamentally a people person. He was a shy man but a very very popular guy in football which is 100 per cent demonstrated by the donations and the kind words as well and they're all true.

"There's not a bad word that's been said about him and there's millions of words being written about him, they are all true and it really is heartbreaking."

The fundraising effort is being led by Darlaston Town 1874 with people still encouraged to donate to help Taylor's family in the short-term with living costs and provide them with some financial stability.

The description on the GoFundMe page said: "Following Wednesday night's tragic events where we lost our great friend and player Leon Taylor, we are asking the football and wider world to come together with ourselves to support Leon’s partner Kelly and his 2 beautiful children Tia-Nicole and Theo.

"The money will go directly to Kelly to support the family in the coming months however she requires. The love shown to Leon has been remarkable over the last 48 hours and we thank everyone for their love and support to Leon and the family and thank you in advance for your kind donation however big or small."

The footballer was most recently at Darlaston Town 1874 and also counted Sporting Khalsa, AFC Wulfrunians, Brocton, Wednesfield, Bilston Town, Bloxwich United, Tividale and Walsall Wood among his former clubs.

Clubs across the Midlands paid their respects to Taylor on social media – with Dudley Town describing him as a "fantastic character, player and man" whilst Walsall Wood described him as a "top bloke who was loved by everyone at the Wood".

AFC Wulfrunians added: “We are extremely saddened to hear the news that one of our former players, Leon Taylor, has passed away.

"He only made a couple of appearances for us but played against us on many occasions and was a great lad. Our thoughts are with family and friends at this sad time. RIP Leon.”

People can donate to the fundraiser by visiting gofundme.com/f/darlaston-town-1874-fc-in-memory-of-leon-taylor

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