Football united in grief after tragic death of Daniel Wilkinson

Flowers laid at Brighouse Town's ground in tribute to Daniel Wilkinson
Flowers laid at Brighouse Town's ground in tribute to Daniel Wilkinson

The Evo-Stik NPL have sanctioned the postponement of Brighouse Town’s re-arranged home game with Colne on Saturday.

It follows the tragic death of Shaw Lane FC’s Daniel Wilkinson, who collapsed during a League Cup match at the Dual Seal Stadium on Monday.

Daniel Wilkinson
Picture: Hull City

Daniel Wilkinson Picture: Hull City

However, Town’s home game with from Conference club Hyde United will go ahead as planned on Monday (7.45).

Shaw Lane, who play in Division One South were expected to call off their home game with Romulus this weekend.

There was a minute’s silence observed at all the other Doodson Integro League Cup preliminary round ties on Tuesday night and the league’s Premier Division League games. On Saturday all league matches and those Evo-Stik clubs playing in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup will also observe a minute’s silence with their opponents and wear black armbands.

Town will observe their minute’s silence on Monday evening with visitors Hyde.

Family and friends of centre-back Wilkinson visited Town’s ground on Tuesday to lay flowers in the penalty box where the former Hull City and Scarborough Athletic player collapsed.

Brighouse vice-chairman Darren Laycock joined them to lay a basket of flowers and offer his club’s sincere condolences.

This was an area where his manager Paul Quinn and physio Matthew Schofield worked flat out alongside the Shaw Lane staff to give CPR while the club’s defibrillator, engaged within 90 seconds, was also working.

“Paul and Matthew continued to assist when the two responder units arrived quickly at the stadium ahead of the ambulance,” informed the vice chairman. “Everybody was willing Daniel to pull round and when there were signs he was responding you could hear his players saying, “come on Dan”.”

Town’s players had initially been asked to go to the dressing room and Shaw Lane’s boss Craig Elliott wanted his players to stand away but they were just rooting for their team-mate who was fighting for his life.

Young referee Jonathan Bickerdyke, who was taking his fourth game after promotion, was pulled aside by Brighouse chairman Charles Tolley and, shortly afterwards, Ellis Aked and former Town official Chris Lister were heading to the bulk of the crowd in the main stand to inform them the game had been abandoned.

At the time of Daniel collapsing there was nobody near him and Town were battling away in the bottom left-hand corner of the pitch to try and pull back a 2-0 deficit after goals from Jack Tuohy and Alex Byrne.

The manager had made several changes from Saturday’s comprehensive 4-0 away win at Mossley, goalkeeper Ed Hall having his first game of the season, midfielder Cameron Murray introduced and Lee Spires returning from suspension while centre-back Sam Hewitt was rested.

On Tuesday morning after Wilkinson’s death had been confirmed at the hospital overnight, the electronic

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and written media were active from 7.30am.

BBC TV Look North, ITV Yorkshire and Sky TV News were all contacting both clubs and the chairmen and managers of both clubs and their secretaries were either interviewed and what information they could give was handed over.

“The Evo-Stik League officials Angie Firth (secretary), Laura Drew (administration officer) and John Jones (referee liason officer) were tremendous with their support and sorting things out for both clubs and later in the day the FA in London sent a communicae offering the very best professional counselling available to sporting bodies,” added Mr Laycock.

“The Football Association is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Daniel Wilkinson at last night’s Northern Premier League Cup match and we are sure a sense of shock is being felt by all those who were in attendance at the game.

We are aware of the impact this will have had on those who witnessed the incident and we would like to offer support to those players, Club Officials/volunteers, and match officials who may have been affected. Consequently we have been in contact with our colleagues at Sporting Chance who have agreed to provide private and confidential counselling/support to anyone who requires additional support at this time.

Support will be tailored and could be in the form of a Club group session and/or private individual support.

There will be no cost associated to this and the important issue is to provide the necessary support at this time.”

On the footballing front last week Paul Quinn brought in fullback or centre back Greg Pearson from Frickley Athletic and striker Ruben Jerome from AFC Emley, who is the younger brother of Norwich City’s striker Cameron Jerome.

He still has other irons in the fire and the club in the past 48 hours has been inundated with offers of players on loan from Huddersfield Town, Macclesfield Town, Gainsborough Trinity and a 20-year-old player from a LaLiga club in Spain.