Mitchell Cole: A Huge Loss
On December 1st, 2012, the world of non-league was plunged into mourning at the tragic and untimely death of Mitchell Cole at the shockingly young age of 27. He had been forced to retire from professional football in 2011 as a result of a debilitating heart condition.
Mitchell had started out as a youth player at Norwich and West Ham, and the young midfielder played for nine clubs up and down the football pyramid during his all too short life and career. He moved on to Grays Athletic, and won the FA Trophy and Conference South title in his time at New Recreation Ground. He moved on to Roots Hall to join Southend United, and won the League One title in 2005-06.
His most successful spell, though, was undoubtedly at Stevenage Borough, where he won the FA Trophy twice, including the first competitive final at the new Wembley Stadium, in which he scored as Borough came from two down to beat Kidderminster Harriers 3-2. He also helped them win the Conference Premier title, and promotion to the Football League. He also won fourteen caps for England C, and scored seven times for the Three Lions. In total, Cole spent four seasons at Stevenage, playing 140 times and scoring twenty two goals.
He then moved onto Oxford United, but only made half a dozen appearances for the club before being forced to retire from professional football due to him suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition which causes the heart muscle to thicken in certain places. He had been aware that he had a heart condition in his early days at West Ham, but the condition seemed to have improved.
He made a handful of appearances for Stotfold, Hitchin Town, Biggleswade Town and, most recently, Arlesey Town in the last eighteen months before his premature passing.
I would like to express my grief at his death, and extend the warmest and deepest sympathies to his young family left behind after this tragedy.
Rest In Peace Mitchell.