A football player with a “heart of gold” has died aged 20.
Michael Britt, who was part of Margate FC’s under-23’s squad and captain of Baypoint FC’s men’s team, died on Thursday night, two days before his 21st birthday.
Both clubs have shared heartfelt tributes to the young player, described as a “born leader and a genuine good guy.”
Michael started playing at Margate at just six-years-old, but left while playing in the under-16s, when “health challenges forced him to step away”, the club said in a statement.
It went on: “Returning this season to our Margate U23s, he became an indispensable part of the team.
“We mourn the loss of this kind, talented soul and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Margate Chairman Ricky Owen added: “This is terribly sad news and one that has hit us at the very core of this football club.
“Michael dedicated his life to playing for Margate Football Club and all our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Baypoint FC said Michael had been part of the club for the past two seasons.
In a statement on Facebook, it said: “Michael was a born leader and a genuine good guy, he will be missed greatly by everyone involved with Baypoint and Baypoint FC.
“Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and teammates at this difficult time.”
In a further statement shared with KentOnline, the club said: “Michael was the first captain of our men’s team. He was the heart and soul of the team, our club, and our community at Baypoint.
“He tied the team together and if you had to write what qualities a captain of a team needed, Michael had them all and more. He led by example, put his team-mates first, was inspirational, positive, caring, determined and was our captain.
“As a community we are devastated. Tomorrow would have been his 21st birthday. We will retire the number two shirt from the first team and will hang it proudly at Baypoint.
“Britt (his nickname) is one of the nicest, kindest, and loveable lads we have had the pleasure of knowing. Taken away far too soon and young! You will be missed by so many people. What a lad and what a skipper.”
Baypoint also shared a tribute from Michael’s manager and his teammates, who described him as a “true one-of-a-kind”.
They added: “A lad who had nothing but a heart of gold and never knew the difference between BBQ sauce and brown sauce. Michael always had a cheeky smile on his face and was always someone that cared so much for those around him.
“We haven’t lost a player, we have all lost a real friend who we love dearly. Forever our skipper and always with us. Rest Easy, Skip.”
Margate FC has confirmed the under 23s fixture against Staplehurst Monarchs will go ahead tonight in Michael’s memory – with the home game being free for all supporters.
Baypoint will hold a minute silence before all club games this weekend.