Dozzell, Kiwomya and Milton pay tribute to Dalian Atkinson after Taser death
PUBLISHED: 12:09 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 07:42 16 August 2016
A former Ipswich Town star reported to have died after being Tasered by police was “generous” and “larger than life”.
That is how teammates of Dalian Atkinson have described the ex-striker after the incident early this morning.
Officers were called to a home in Telford, Shropshire, at around 1.30am amid concerns “for the safety of an individual” and a Taser was used.
The man was given medical treatment but died around 90 minutes later, West Mercia Police said.
Reports claim the man was Mr Atkinson, aged 48, who came to prominence at Ipswich Town as a midfielder in the 1980s.
He scored 21 goals in 51 appearances for the club.
He went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, Aston Villa, Fenerbahce and Manchester City.
Chris Kiwomya, who played alongside Atkinson for around four years at ITFC, described him as someone who would “do anything for the people he cared about”.
“He was like a big brother to me,” he said. “When I came to the football club he looked after me.
“He gave me the confidence to go on and be a footballer. Seeing him succeed at Ipswich gave me the belief I could do it, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“I was lucky enough to play for Arsenal and be with other players like Dennis Bergkamp and for me he was up there with them, if not better.
“He was a generous person and would do anything for the people he cared about.
“He’s really going to be missed. He brought so many happy memories.”
Former Town boss Bobby Ferguson, who gave Atkinson his debut at the club as a teenager, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news.
“He was a lovely lad,” he added
“He was a really exciting player, with tremendous pace.
“His mother was a champion sprinter and he was very quick too – a fantastic athlete.
“When he came on for his debut he set the crowd alight.
“He was a smashing lad and would do anything you asked him to.
“He could have been an international player, but he was easily misled; he needed more guidance.”
John Duncan, who was Town boss, when Atkinson scored his famous hat-trick against Middlesbrough, said he was an “outstanding player”.
“There’s no doubt about that,” he added.
“He was probably the best player I ever saw running with the ball at speed and with control.
“He was also a great goal scorer with a powerful shot.
“He would always manage to keep the ball under the bar and on target, which was quite difficult when you hit it with the power he hit it with.”
Mr Duncan said the death was “so sad”.
Simon Milton, who played for ITFC at the same time as Atkinson, said the news came as a “massive shock”.
“I joined the club in 1987 and he had been here a couple of years by then,” he said. “He was a real larger than life character on and off the pitch.
“He was an exceptional footballer. Everybody loved him.
“When he scored the hat-trick against Middlesborough, I was playing that match. It was probably his best performance.
“There were four of us who became really close - myself, Dalian, Jason Dozzell and Chris Kiwomya.
“If I think of Dalian now it just makes me smile, thinking of things he had done and things he said.”
Former ITFC team mate and friend, Jason Dozzell, said: “I’m thinking of his family and friends at the moment.
“I have known him since I was 14. We came through [the academy] together.
“It’s just shocking news. I just can’t believe it.
“He was larger than life, always had a smile on his face, great for banter in the changing rooms.
“You looked forward to going into training because he was a funny guy.
“His glass was always half full. He was just one of those characters.
“Most importantly he was a fantastic football player.
“He was great, you just gave him the ball and he had that ability to run at pace with the ball at his feet.
“His change of direction was just phenomenal. He was so quick.
“The memories of Middlesborough will stay with people for a long time.”
West Mercia Police put a statement on its website which read: “West Mercia Police can confirm that officers responded to a report for the concern for the safety of an individual at approximately 1.30am this morning at an address in Telford.
“Upon arrival Taser was deployed and a 48-year-old man, who subsequently received medical attention, was pronounced dead at approximately 3am.
“West Mercia Police are unable to comment any further as the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as is normal procedure, and will assist the IPCC with their inquiries.”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called by West Mercia Police to an address in Meadow Close in the Trench area of Telford at about 1.45am this morning.
“An ambulance was dispatched and upon arrival found a man who had been Tasered.
“As he was being conveyed to Princess Royal Hospital, his condition deteriorated and he went into cardiac arrest.
“Despite the efforts of the crew and hospital staff, it was not possible to save him and he was confirmed dead at hospital, shortly after arrival.”