Search

Family pay tribute to Islington footballer and Joe Cole’s brother in law who died of heart attack

17:54 12 December 2012

Mitchell with daughter Rhys and son Georgie

Mitchell with daughter Rhys and son Georgie

Archant

Relatives of a former West Ham footballer who died on the same Finsbury pitch he started out on 20 years ago have spoken of their sense of loss.

Mitchell Cole, 27, who scored one of the first competitive goals at the new Wembley Stadium, suffered heart failure at the Finsbury Leisure Centre during a kickabout with friends and family.

A week later his wife Charly – sister of England star Joe Cole – gave birth to their third child Leni Boo, named after Mitchell’s Islington-born and bred grandad.

And his younger brother Ben, who grew up with Mitchell around Old Street, this week paid tribute to him and said the family are staying together in the face of their loss.

He said: “We are coping, but it’s hard. We are trying to be strong for each other. There is no way to put into words how he was. He was a really fun person.”

From the five-a-side pitches at the leisure centre in Norman Street where he started playing aged six, the former Moorfield’s Primary School pupil represented England at schoolboy level alongside Wayne Rooney and regularly turned out for the England C team.

But he was always hampered by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) a rare heart condition causing thickness of the muscle, which can lead to sudden death.

It forced him to leave West Ham aged 17 and eventually retire from the game altogether last year while playing for Oxford United, after a successful spell with Stevenage.

Ben said: “All the family were there when he scored at Wembley – I was on holiday in Spain but I managed to find somewhere to watch it. We are all so proud of everything he achieved.

“The fans at the clubs he has been at have been really supportive and that makes it easier.

“We used to have a little game on a Friday night, all of the cousins and that. It was a social thing really, not competitive. I was meant to play on November 30, the night he died, but something didn’t feel right so I went out for something to eat with friends.

“The staff at the centre were really good and the ambulance came quickly, but there was nothing anyone could do.”

Recently Mitchell had been giving talks and trying to raise awareness of HCM – triggered by Bolton player Fabrice Muamba’s collapse on the pitch last year.

“He was really passionate about it,” said Ben. “It’s a bigger problem in America so he had been doing work over there.”

He leaves behind wife Charly – who he met while playing at West Ham with her brother – his five-year-old son Georgie and daughters Rhys, seven and newborn Leni Boo, as well as father Tim, brother Tim and sister Carly.

Ben added: “I don’t think it hit Charly until she got home with the kids. But there’s a strong family around her and the children will help her get through.”

0 comments

Latest Islington News Stories

10:43
Cllr Claudia Webbe with the solar panel array at Islington's Reuse and Recycling Centre. Picture: Islington Council

Islington Council expects electricity savings of £1.5 million over the next 30 years, after installing more than 1,800 solar panels on three of its buildings.

Flowers at the scene of the crash where Lewis Johnson, 18, died on Tuesday (Picture: Ken Mears)

Tributes have continued to pour in for 18-year-old Lewis “lighty Lew” Johnson, who died on Tuesday after his motor scooter collided with a van following a police chase.

Yesterday, 18:16
Dangerous: The junction of Pentonville Road and Islington High Street (Picture: Google StreetView)

Campaigners say “urgent” action must be taken over a deadly Islington junction after figures ranked it in the top 10 most dangerous for London’s pedestrians.

Yesterday, 14:00
Feeding pigeons in the Palmer Estate could lead to eviction, the letter said. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WIRE

Heavy-handed town hall officials made a bizarre threat to evict council tenants because they had been feeding pigeons.

Yesterday, 12:53
This Girl Can Islington launched in Sobell Leisure Centre last week

A “genuinely affordable” campaign has been launched to break down barriers women and girls face in getting exercise.

Yesterday, 12:23
Pentonville Prison (Picture: PA Wire)

One of Britain’s longest-serving murderers is the only man to have escaped from Pentonville prison in the last five years, a Gazette investigation has revealed.

Wed, 17:41
The planned facade of the development, the former North London mail sorting office

The firm behind the £400m Islington Square development has announced plans to build a luxury cinema where film fans can have three-course meals delivered directly to their seats.

Wed, 14:53
Bunhill Fields graveyard in Islington looking towards Featherstone Street

Islington Council is “disappointed” after Mayor of London Boris Johnson approved controversial plans to build two tower blocks by a historic Islington graveyard.

Most read news

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe