TWO Worthing United Football Club players have been named locally as two of those who died in the Shoreham Airshow crash yesterday.
Goalkeeper Matt Grimstone and midfielder Jacob Schilt were travelling to United’s home game with Loxwood in the Southern Combination League Premier Division when a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed into a busy stretch of the A27.
In a club statement this morning, Worthing United said: “The club will issue a statement in response to reports in the national media and social media in due course.
“We also ask that the privacy of all those affected at this sad time is fully respected. We are liasing with the authorities and will update when we can.
“We would ask that those making media enquiries respect that no formal conformation has been made.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Worthing United Football Club are with those whose families and friends were killed or injured at the Shoreham Airshow crash yesterday afternoon.”
Police have not yet confirmed Mr Grimstone and Mr Schilt as victims. However, dozens of their friends have taken to Facebook and Twitter to express their grief.
Joe Hall, from Portslade, who played football with Matt from youth to senior level at Mile Oak FC has paid tribute to him on Facebook. He said: “I cannot put into words how gutted I am. Matt Grimstone, you were the nicest guy, the most genuine and kind hearted person I had the pleasure of knowing and I am proud to call you my friend.
“My thoughts go out to Matt’s family after such devastating news. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten and will be missed by many. Rest in peace mate xx”
Reece Mills, from Southwick, who also played alongside Matt at Mile Oak FC has described his former team-mate as having ‘the biggest heart going’.
Taking to social media, he said: “I hope we’re all feeling pretty blessed to be waking up alive this morning.
“Yesterday took the lives of too many including my former team mate and absolute true gent Matt Grimstone.
“This news is utterly devastating, I couldn’t sleep last night hoping that our worse fears wouldn’t be confirmed.
“Matt was a quiet lad on and off the pitch and wouldn’t have hurt a fly. This tragedy is awful, he was arguably the best keeper I have played in front of and didn’t have a bad bone in his body.
“My thoughts go out to the entire Grimstone family and those of his team mate Jacob Schilt who also was unfortunately involved yesterday.
“RIP Grimbles #1”
Jacob, a Brighton & Hove Albion fan, had played three times for Brighton’s Robert Eaton Memorial Fund charity team against Crystal Palace. Tributes have been paid to him on Brighton fans’ website North Stand Chat this morning.
Brighton have also postponed tomorrow’s under-21 match against Newcastle, which was due to take place at the club’s training ground, as a mark of respect to the victims of the crash.
Albion chairman Tony Bloom said: “We are all shocked by the devastating events of yesterday afternoon. Our sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies go out to those people who’ve lost loved ones in this very tragic accident.”
Hastings manager Garry Wilson wrote on Facebook: “Shocked and saddened to hear about the two young footballers travelling to play for Worthing Utd FC and losing their lives in the Shoreham airshow plane crash, thoughts and prayers go out to their family and friends from all at Hastings Utd FC.”
The FA have tweeted: “We are saddened to hear two members of the football family, Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, were killed in the Shoreham air disaster when on their way to play for @WorthingUtdFC. Our thoughts are with their family, friends, team-mates and all others affected.”
Local football clubs have also paid tribute on Twitter this morning.
Rustington tweeted: “Thoughts and condolences go out to all affected by yesterday’s tragic events, also to all at @WorthingUtdFC for their loss.”
Burgess Hill said: “Deepest thoughts go out to @WorthingUtdFC for the loss of 2 players in Shoreham Air Disaster. Our sympathy to their family and friends.”
Lancing tweeted: “Our deepest sympathies today to our friends at neighbours @WorthingUtdFC following the tragic loss yesterday. Football becomes irrelevant.”
Eastbourne Borough wrote: “EBFC extend our thoughts and sympathies to all affected by the events on the A27 yesterday, including all at @WorthingUtdFC.”
Eastbourne Town said: “Our thoughts & Prayers are with all those who lost their lives at Shoreham air crash yesterday especially the two @WorthingUtdFC players.”
So far, Sussex Police has said seven people were killed, with more than a dozen injured. However, the force warned yesterday that this death toll could well increase as they continue their search around the crash site.
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