Charity game is a tribute to tragic player

A charity football match will be staged to mark the first anniversary of the death of a teenage Walsall FC player who collapsed on the training pitch. Friends of Anton Reid will play a match at Rushall Olympic’s ground next weekend.

The game will be staged in memory of the 16-year-old, who died last summer.

The youngster from Coalpool collapsed days before he was due to receive his GCSE results.

Cash raised from the event will go towards Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

The memorial game, involving former team-mates from Streetly AFC, takes place at the ground in Dales Lane on Sunday from 3pm. Admission is £3.

Former manager Tony Oakes, who has helped to organise the match, said: “We want his name to live on and feel staging a game each year is the best way to remember Anton, as he lived for his football.”

Walsall FC youth team player Anton collapsed and died suddenly on the training pitch on August 20 last year despite frantic efforts to revive him. Black Country coroner Robin Balmain returned a verdict of natural causes at his inquest.

Pathologist Dr Ye Lin Hock told the inquest that tests after Anton’s death had discovered a heart condition known as idiopathic left ventricular hypertrophy.

More than 1,000 fans packed out a match at Rushall Olympic Football Club in Walsall last year to raise up to £4,000.

At Anton’s inquest his mother Sonia Bailey said: “Football was his passion.”