Football comes together to pay tribute to South Shields youngster Jak Fada

Stafford Rangers representatives present a picture in honour of Jak Fada to South Shields FC vice-chairman Gary Crutwell, left. Pic: Peter Talbot.
Stafford Rangers representatives present a picture in honour of Jak Fada to South Shields FC vice-chairman Gary Crutwell, left. Pic: Peter Talbot.

The football community came together as touching tributes were paid to South Shields youngster Jak Fada over the weekend.

Jak, aged 10, tragically died last Monday after suffering a ruptured heart artery.

Jak Fada was a big fan of South Shields FC.

Jak Fada was a big fan of South Shields FC.

The schoolboy was a big fan of South Shields FC, and played as a goalkeeper at the club’s weekly development centre, as well as for Westoe Crown Primary School.

The Mariners paid tribute to Jak following his death last week, and his passing was marked at the club’s game away to Stafford Rangers on Saturday.

A minute’s applause was held in the 10th minute of the FA Trophy match, with supporters of both teams among the crowd of 955 joining in.

Before the game, Stafford presented South Shields vice-chairman Gary Crutwell with a commemorative picture in tribute to Jak, including two pictures of the youngster.

When tragic things like this happen, people come together and do the right thing

Lee Picton

Mariners joint manager Lee Picton was hugely thankful for the gestures made by Stafford.

He said: “Our supporters were unbelievable, with hundreds of them travelling to the game and giving us tremendous backing.

“I also want to thank the Stafford fans, because the round of applause in the 10th minute for Jak was really heart-warming.

“That’s one of the really special things about football, and particularly non-league football. When tragic things like this happen, people come together and do the right thing.”

During the minute’s applause, the large following of South Shields supporters chanted ‘There’s only one Jak Fada’ and ‘He’s one of our own’.

Meanwhile, non-league clubs far and wide also honoured Jak, with supporters of Cleethorpes Town – who the Mariners defeated in the FA Vase final last season – holding a minute’s applause in the 10th minute of their game at Hednesford Town.

Colne fans also held a minute’s applause at their game against Ossett Town.

Many clubs also paid tribute to the youngster on Twitter.

North Shields FC posted: “Sincerest condolences to all Jak’s family and friends, from North Shields #takentoosoon #footballfamily”

Whitley Bay FC added: “Devastating news! Thoughts go out to Jak’s family at this difficult time. RIP Little man! From all at WBFC.”

Cleethorpes Town wrote: “We may be small in numbers but we come together with our friends at South Shields FC for young Jak.”

Matlock Town posted: “Our hearts break for the pain Jak’s family and friends must feel due to his untimely passing, our hearts go out to you all. We think of South Shields FC and their community as a whole at this time.”