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Grays Athletic Football Club are sorry to hear the news that former player Mitchell Cole, the footballer who scored the first goal at the new Wembley Stadium, passed away last night aged 27.
The 27-year-old retired from professional football in February 2011 as a result of a deteriorating heart condition, which meant it was dangerous for him to continue.
Cole started his career with West Ham United, before signing for Mark Stimson’s Blues side in the summer of 2004.
He was a key player in the Conference South / FA Trophy Double winning season, scoring 9 goals in his 47 appearances. He is best remembered for his rampaging runs down the left wing, and for scoring some spectacular goals.
In 2005 he left to join Southend United where he made 33 appearances, until a mid-season switch to Stevenage Borough, where he won a second FA Trophy in 2007.
A move to Oxford United followed in June 2010; however he only made 6 appearances for the League side.
Mitchell was married to the sister of England international Joe Cole, and has two young children. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family at this most difficult of times.
Hundreds of fans have posted messages on Twitter in response to the news of his death. The Football League also used the social networking site to pay tribute to the player, as well as The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) joining the Football League in expressing their condolences.