Spurs supporters urged to honour young fan
Tottenham fans are being asked to mark the death of a young footballer during their match against West Ham this weekend.
Jack Atkinson, 18, suffered a suspected cardiac arrest whilst playing for his local team, Holland FC, at a tournament in Clacton, Essex, and died the following day.
Friends and family of the teenager described as a ‘gentle giant’ are now campaigning on social media for a 60 seconds of applause on the 18th minute at Saturday’s game at White Hart Lane.
Tyler Rose, Atkinson’s best friend, has been leading the efforts to ensure the tribute goes ahead.
“Jack was so caring, so relaxed – I never once saw him lose it at anyone when playing” he said.
“He was a massive Spurs fan and loved football like the rest of us. He was so well-liked by everybody.
“I loved playing with him, especially when we won every game together last season, he was a great player with a very promising future.”
Jack’s parents gave an interview to BBC Essex as they try to deal with the shock, with his father stating that he “died doing what he loved”.
“Words can’t explain, but it’s so nice to know how popular and well-loved he was,” he said.
“The doctors said he wasn’t in any pain which is a blessing, but he died over there doing what he loved.
“He was nice, so, so nice. Everyone has a bad bone in their body, but you would struggle to find Jack’s, he was so amazing, he really was.”
Shane Spacey, another close friend of Atkinson, has set up a GoFundMe page to help support his family. So far, it has raised nearly £6,000 of its £8,000 target.
“We knew each other since we started secondary school at the age of 11, and he really was the nicest guy you could ever meet, a great friend.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what his family are going through. Jack was loved by everybody, and if you look at his donation page it speaks volumes. Everybody has given what they can.”
Rose tweeted on Monday evening, calling on all Spurs fans to honour Jack this Saturday.
Since then, the tweet has generated huge recognition with over a thousand retweets, one of those being by ex-Spurs player David Ginola.
BBC News Essex reported this week that Tottenham are aware of the planned applause this Saturday and have been in contact with Jack’s family to offer their condolences to his family during this difficult time.
Mark Sorrell, chairman of Holland FC said: “Jack was a nice boy, always very polite and conscientious.
“He was not disliked by anybody and he really was a great kid, a very promising footballer. He’ll be missed by all of us.”
Local League Two club Colchester United also offered their condolences via social media.
The U’s tweeted: “The thoughts of everyone at #ColU are with @MightyHolland and the family of Jack Atkinson after the sad news at the weekend. Rest in peace.”
If you would like to donate via the crowd funding page, click here.