Tributes paid to former Sheffield Wednesday striker after police Taser death

Dalian Atkinson with Ron Atkinson
Dalian Atkinson with Ron Atkinson
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Tributes have been paid to former Owl Dalian Atkinson who died after he was shot by a police Taser.

The 48-year-old striker's former manager, Ron Atkinson, who managed him at both Wednesday and Aston Villa, said: "This is an out-and-out tragedy.

Ron Atkinson and Dalian Atkinson

Ron Atkinson and Dalian Atkinson

"He was a really popular player with team-mates. He was a really generous lad – sometimes too generous for his own good – but a good lad.

"He always had a smile on his face and I really like that in a player.

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"He also had terrific ability. I always knew I didn’t need to worry about him in big games.

"He was popular in the dressing room, had terrific ability and did it in the big games.

"He did very well for me. I signed him at Sheffield Wednesday and when I joined Villa he was one of the first players I wanted to bring in. It's tragic."

Former Wednesday strike partner David Hirst has spoken of his shock and sadness at the news.

Atkinson suffered a heart attack after being shot by a police Taser following a disturbance at his elderly father's house in Telford, Shropshire, this morning.

Hirst played alongside Atkinson up front for the Owls in the top flight during the 1989-90 season.

"It's a very sad day and a massive shock. This is not the news you want to be seeing," he said.

"I saw the news and was thinking they had surely got it wrong. That should not happen.

"Whatever has happened, I can't comment on that, but I do know he was a great lad and a great character to have around the place.

"We got on great and had one season together before he moved on to Spain and then Ron Atkinson brought him back to Aston Villa.

"He was some player.

"On his day he was unplayable and even on an off-day he could be unplayable because of his lightning pace.

"He was loud and fun to be around. He had an opinion, but who doesn't? It's very sad."

Chris Turner, another former team-mate of Atkinson's at Hillsborough, said: "He was a great lad and well liked amongst everyone at Sheffield Wednesday. He had one of the hardest strikes of a ball I ever faced as a goalkeeper.

"I only spoke to him recently because he had become a football agent and had offered us some players. It's very sad."

Other former Villa teammates took to Twitter to pay tribute to Atkinson.

Former centre-back Paul McGrath posted: "Don't feel to good at the moment, Dalian Atkinson was a huge part of the Villa family I played with lovely kid and friend R.I.P pal Xx."

Goalkeeper Mark Bosnich wrote: "RIP Dalian Atkinson,at his best one of the very best."

Ipswich Town, where Atkinson started his career, paid tribute on Twitter, saying: " Terribly sad news about our former striker. Our thoughts are with Dalian's family and friends at this tragic time."

Former team-mate Tony Daley, who played for Aston Villa at the same time as Atkinson, tweeted 'Devastating news...RIP Dalian' and posted an image of a broken heart.

Another ex-player, Ian Taylor, said: "Just heard news re my old team mate Dalian. Deepest condolences to his family. Only spoke to him last week as well. Sad sad news."

Former England defender Sol Campbell tweeted: "What?! Former @AVFCOfficial footballer Dalian Atkinson tasered?! Shocked and saddened by this news. Thoughts with friends and family. #RIPDalian".