Footballer and ‘true gent’ killed after van ploughed into team on Christmas do

A talented Sunday league football player has been killed after being hit by a van which ploughed into his team during their Christmas night out.

Named locally as Sam Wilson, 26, the man had just left the pub after 2am with part of his team AFC Curzon, when he was hit in the centre of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, early on Saturday morning. According to the Mail, a man has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of murder following the collision.

AFC Curzon’s club manager Wayne Riley, who had coached Mr Wilson for over 10 years, paid tribute in an emotional post on Facebook.

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He wrote: “He always played with a smile on his face, was never greedy, always wanting to set others up instead of having a go himself. I have lost a very good footballer, a great lad and a good mate.

“Until I can be your football manager again Sam and we meet again on the heavenly pitch R.I.P – you will be truly missed.” Speaking to the Mail, Mr Riley’s wife, Carole, Curzon’s club secretary, said Mr Wilson was a “true gentlemen”.

She spoke of the shocking incident and said: “Not all of the team were out together, but many of the lads were there and saw what happened.” According to her, two of Mr Wilson’s teammates were left with non-life-threatening injuries, one them reportedly “still dazed” by the nightmare that had unfolded.

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She added: “I know people often say when somebody has died that they were such a good person, but that is genuinely true in Sam's case. He was sweet natured and well-mannered and his death has shook everybody.”

According to the Mail, one of its sources said that the team were originally planning to go to Nottingham, but decided against it and went to Ilkeston because it was less busy.

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