Stars turn out for tribute match
By Patrick LowmanMORE than 100 people joined an array of former professional and local football stars for a charity match in honour of a popular soccer captain.
By Patrick Lowman
MORE than 100 people joined an array of former professional and local football stars for a charity match in honour of a popular soccer captain.
Father-of-two Nicky Roche, 30, collapsed and died as he captained the Long Melford Working Men's Club in a Martin's Builders Sudbury Sunday League fixture in November last year.
Yesterday's charity game was arranged by the Sunday league officials in honour of Mr Roche and all the proceeds will go to his widow Lisa, 26, and his young children, Megan and Declan.
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Former England and Manchester United star Paul Parker and ex-Norwich City captain Mike Milligan lined up alongside a guest AFC Sudbury side against a select Sunday league team.
First team players from AFC Sudbury, who are currently preparing to play in the FA Vase Final at Upton Park, also played in the game.
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The game was played at AFC's King's Marsh Stadium and former local hero Robbie Devereux, who was forced to retire through injury last year, also made an appearance.
Mr Roche collapsed with suspected heart problems during the match, in which his brother Ciaran was also playing. Team-mates and paramedics tried in vain to save him, but he died.
His brother Ciaran and his former team-mates joined the 100-strong crowd yesterday to watch the match.
Ciaran said: "This is a really good idea and Nicky would have loved seeing these professionals. It is a touching tribute to him and his widow and children will really appreciate the money that is raised."
A raffle, with prizes donated from local businesses, was also held after the game and all the proceeds will go to Mr Roche's widow.
AFC Sudbury manager Keith Martin, who organised the game, said: "All in all I am very pleased that people like Paul Parker and Mike Milligan, who played at the highest level, turned up for the game, it is a great credit to them.
"It is also a great credit to the local business who donated prizes for the raffle. There has been a good turn out and it is a nice little tribute to Nicky and we hope to raise at least £1,000. I wish his widow and children all the best in the future."