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Charlie Slocombe remembered by his former Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm

Football manger Steve McKimm has paid tribute to the former Tonbridge Angels player who collapsed on the pitch and died.

Charlie Slocombe was taking part in a six-a-side game on Monday when he had to be rushed to King's College Hospital.

The 26-year-old was put on a life support machine but passed away on Tuesday.

Charlie Slocombe died this week after collapsing on the pitch Picture: Tonbridge Angels FC
Charlie Slocombe died this week after collapsing on the pitch Picture: Tonbridge Angels FC

Slocombe made 32 first-team appearances for Tonbridge and manager McKimm was shocked to hear of his death.

He said: "I felt numb and I felt sad.

"He was one of the lads that came through the reserves with John Gibbons in my first season and he was someone you could rely on. In that season we needed bodies like that.

"He was a nice, humble lad. I never had a problem with him during training or games, whether he was in or out of the team, and he was a credit to his family.

"I feel for his dad, who was our physio for the reserves at that time.

"Charlie was at the club for years, so was Keith and when he wasn’t going to get into the side, he decided it was time to move on because he wanted to play football.

"He knew he was at an age where he needed to play regularly.

"I’m just gutted. It’s frightening to be playing football and going down like that.

Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm Picture: David Couldridge

"I feel for Keith, his wife and Charlie’s girlfriend and everyone connected with their family because it’s such a sad thing at 26 years of age.

"We had it with Junior Dian when he was 24 and now with Charlie as well.

"Even though he wasn’t part of us at this moment in time, he was still a big part of me as my first manager's job. I’m absolutely dumbstruck. It’s a scary situation."

Slocombe's former team-mates were quick to pay tribute when the club tweeted the news on Tuesday.

Nathan Elder called him "a lovely guy" and Luke Blewden described Slocombe as "an absolute gentleman" while Jack Parter remembered "a good friend who never had a bad word to say about anyone."

"You couldn’t not like Charlie," said McKimm.

"He wasn’t one of the household names, one of the so-called superstars of non-league football but when you got to know him and work with him, he was a down-to-earth, really lovely kid that wanted to do the best for you and the team.

"His plaudits or accolades came second. It was all about everyone else other than him.

"He was never someone that wanted to be the main superstar, he let other people do that and he’d just get on with his job quietly, confidently and comfortably.

"I can’t speak highly enough of him while I had him and it’s an absolute tragedy that this has happened."

After leaving Tonbridge, Slocombe went on to play for Hastings, Crowborough and Hythe.

McKimm said: "I spoke to Keith, his dad, at the end of last season when he was doing the bag for Margate.

"Me and Barry (Moore) had a good chat to Keith about Charlie and the stuff he was doing and it seems like yesterday we were having that conversation.

"It was absolutely gut-wrenching to hear the news on Tuesday."

Margate players will pay their respects by wearing black armbands and holding a minute's silence before their game against Ramsgate at the weekend.

Read more: The latest sports news from Kent

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