Cornard United FC and AFC Sudbury FC pay tribute to crash victim Zac Smith, 18, from Great Cornard
PUBLISHED: 14:37 12 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 12 August 2017
Budding football star Zac Smith - who died in a car crash with his best friend - has been described as a “manager’s favourite” who had the talent to move into his club’s first team.
Zac, 18, from Great Cornard, lost his life when the Vauxhall Corsa he was driving collided with a tree on the B1115, near Chilton Airfield and just outside the village of Great Waldingfield, at about 10pm on Wednesday, August 9.
His best friend Kye Mclean, from Polstead and also aged 18, was a passenger in the car and also died at the scene, despite the efforts of paramedics.
Zac had played for AFC Sudbury’s youth teams before moving onto Cornard United’s under-18s side and then progressing onto the reserves.
Today, both clubs will hold a minute’s applause in honour of the promising young player.
Speaking yesterday, chairman of Cornard United, Harvey Doherty, whose son went to school with Zac, said: “We had an under-18s game last night [August 10] against Brightlingsea and a lot of people asked me about stopping the game and I said ‘no, Zac wouldn’t have wanted that’.
“He loved his football. We held a minute’s applause for him before the game. He was quite a loud character himself and wouldn’t have wanted any moping around.”
He said Zac, who had been a student at Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard with Kye, had played centre-half in the reserves and “no doubt” would have progressed to the first team, but was “taken too soon”.
He described him as a “lovely lad” who helped out at the football club, cutting down trees and laying paths.
“He will be sorely missed,” he said.
“My heart goes out to his mum and dad and brother Ben. Ben played for Cornard United.”
Tony New, chairman of AFC Sudbury’s grassroots section, said: “He was with us years. He always wanted to play for the A team, the adult team, and he was always a manager’s favourite, a lad who was always going to be good at football.”
He said Zac was an “all-rounder” on the pitch, and a great character “on and off the field”.
He said his death was a “great loss”, adding “everybody in the community knows Zac and everybody is feeling absolutely distraught for the family as well”.
Yesterday, Zac’s family said they were “devastated” at the loss of their beloved son and brother.