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

Yesterday, 15:45
Islington Square Show Apartment

Interior designers Amos and Amos have created a hyper local show home featuring only furniture and accessories they sourced from shops on Upper Street

Yesterday, 15:39
The vulnerable boy was kept in a cell on multiple occasions since March, but Just for Kids Law claims Islington Council didn't help him. Picture: PA file photo/Paul Faith

A children’s charity has launched legal action against Islington Council, accusing it of failing to house a vulnerable 14-year-old boy being held in police cells.

Yesterday, 11:28
Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council. Picture: Louise O'Gorman

Islington Council leader Richard Watts is inviting people to grill him in a Question Time-style meeting tonight.

Yesterday, 10:34
Islington Gazette July 25, 1986

Lorry driver Stanley Frankland broke down in tears when an Old Bailey jury cleared him of murdering his rival in a “love triangle”.

Saturday, July 23, 2016
Tracey Palmer, Macmillan information and support manager at The Whittington Hospital, and Angel Bellot, the hospital's PALS and complaints manager (Picture: Eve Harris)

Two brave Whittington workers will swap the wards for the sky (and then, hopefully, the ground) when they jump out of a plane for charity this weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2016
MP Andy Burnham visited the New River Green Childrens Centre, in Ramsey Walk in 2013

Parents have just hours left to respond to Islington Council’s cost-cutting plans for its early childhood service, which many fear could have a damaging effect.

Friday, July 22, 2016
Service user Anna (L) with Celia from St Martin of Tours Islington (Picture: Islington Council)

What better way to enjoy the glorious sunshine than with a spot of gardening?

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Whitehall Park School has been in temporary blocks since opening in 2014. (Picture: Nigel Sutton).

Children at Islington’s £10million first free school will spend next term in a college after being forced out of their portacabins before the new building is ready.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now