sport

Cole benefit match planned

Stevenage are planning a benefit match in memory of their former player Mitchell Cole.

The football world was shocked by the death of ex-West Ham, Oxford and Southend winger Cole over the weekend at the age of 27.

Cole was part of the Boro side which lifted the first silverware at the new Wembley stadium, scoring a goal as they beat Kidderminster in the 2007 FA Trophy final.

He retired as a professional player in February last year due to a heart problem.

Stevenage hope many of the players and management who were part of Cole's career with the club will be involved in the match, to be held at their Lamex Stadium in May.

The League One side have said former boss Graham Westley, now with Preston, has agreed to manage the team for 45 minutes and chairman Phil Wallace wants Mark Stimson, the manager who brought Cole to the club, to also be involved.

Wallace told Boro's official website: "It's such a sad, tragic loss of a young life. Mitch was a key figure for us in the seasons that saw us enjoy a lot of success.

"We all knew of his condition but it's simply devastating that a young man with such spirit is taken from us so suddenly. Our hearts go out to his family and also to the players and management that worked with him at Stevenage in his three years with us.

"It will be a fitting tribute to honour Mitch on the football pitch and I've already had offers of help and encouragement from Graham, and skipper Mark Roberts, to contact the people involved in his daily life here, so that they can be a part of a day to celebrate his life."