Tributes paid to former Norwich City academy player after sudden death

Alex Stephens, pictured at the Norwich City training ground in 2009. 
Photo: Action Images / Matthew Childs Alex Stephens, pictured at the Norwich City training ground in 2009. Photo: Action Images / Matthew Childs

Friday, June 20, 2014
12:19 PM

Tributes have been paid to a former Norwich City academy player who died suddenly this week.

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Sport - 

Ipswich V Norwich football action from Ipswich's training ground in the FA Premier Academy League [u18]
Alex Stephens and Callum Bennett.

pics by Alex Fairfull 01-05-10
Sport - Ipswich V Norwich football action from Ipswich's training ground in the FA Premier Academy League [u18] Alex Stephens and Callum Bennett. pics by Alex Fairfull 01-05-10

Officials from the club spoke of their sadness after it emerged that 21-year-old Alex Stephens died.

The footballer, a popular left-back at the Norwich City academy, joined the Canaries in 2009 from Watford and left the club in 2011.

Ricky Martin, city’s academy manager, said everyone at the club were shocked to hear of the defender’s death.

“He was a bubbly and easy-going lad, very well-liked by his team-mates and staff during his time with us. Our thoughts are very much with Alex’s family and friends at this time.”

Alex had played for Norwich City’s under 17s and under 18 teams. He had played some reserve team fixtures, but never broke into the first team squad.

Former academy players, who played alongside Alex, have also paid their tributes on social media.

George Francomb, who now plays for AFC Wimbledon, said: “So sad to hear and ex-team mate of mine and a lad I shared digs with in youth team has died. A real top guy. RIP Alex Stephens.”

Jamar Loza, who broke into the Canaries first team at the end of last season, said: “Right now I’m speechless! Don’t know what to do or say. Such a nice guy, only 21, taken too soon. RIP Alex.”

Matt Ball, who now plays for Stevenage FC, said: “RIP bro!! Things like this make you realise that you can’t take anything for granted and that every day you have is special. I spent two great years playing football every day with him and every day this guy would of made me laugh! Love you bro!!!”

Josh Dawkin added: “RIP Alex Stephens. Great lad who I shared digs with in Norwich. Always so happy. Thoughts go out to his family.”

Bolton Wanderers striker Marvin Sordell, said: “So sad to hear that Alex Stephens has passed away! I remember back when we were at Watford and him coming to me asking for advice on what more I reckoned he could do to progress in the game.”

“It didn’t work out for him in the end but he still wanted to do all he could to succeed. The kid had some character! May your soul rest in perfect peace!”

What are your memories of Alex? Email your tributes to adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

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