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By Nigel Slater Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 13:53
TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular former footballer known for bringing a smile to people's faces.
Ex-Evesham United player Neil Emms was found dead in his car last Friday (November 16) but the circumstances surrounding his death are unknown at this time.
Mr Emms, who was 47, played for the Robins in the 1980s and 1990s and appeared for the Evesham United Old Boys XI against a Manchester United Legends team in July to officially open the club's new Spiers and Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.
Evesham United first team manager Paul West, who knew Neil when he joined Evesham United as a player, said 'Emmsy' was a popular figure around the dressing room.
"This is a real sad occasion for the club and the town, Emmsy will be hugely missed," he told the Observer. "It hit me for six when I found out the news on Saturday morning.
"Emmsy was an Evesham lad and was a well loved character. I always remember the banter I had with him. He was one of them loveable rogue type of characters and certainly put a lot of laughs and smiles on people's faces.
"You certainly knew about it when you met him, he was never someone you would forget easily and always enjoyed a laugh and a joke. But at the same time he wore his heart on his sleeve and would have his say.
"Back then you needed those type of characters in the team and you could argue them sort of characters are lacking in today's game. He was a great lad in the dressing room and whose playing ability was top class.
"And what is even more sad is now with the new ground we have here we wanted former players to come back and enjoy the surroundings of the new facility. But sadly with Emmsy that is not going to be which is a real shame."
Close friend and former team mate Andy Clear added: "Everyone who knew Emmsy is gutted about the news. He was a fantastic footballer and a great friend."
A statement from Evesham United Football Club said: "Evesham United Football Club is saddened to learn of the death of former Robins player Neil Emms last Friday. The club would like to send our condolences to Neil’s friends and family."
The club will hold a minutes silence before Saturday’s (November 24) home match against Wimborne Town and will print a special tribute to their former star in their match-day programme.
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