Former Aston Villa and Bolton defender Jlloyd Samuel has been praised as a selfless, honest and positive friend after he died aged 37 in a car crash.
Samuel, most recently player-manager of non-league side Egerton, died in an accident in Cheshire on Tuesday.
A minute’s applause was held at Villa Park before the Championship play-off second leg match between Villa and Middlesbrough.
The supporters sang “there’s only one Jlloyd Samuel” during the tribute.
Ex-Wigan and West Brom striker Nathan Ellington, who played with him at Egerton, told BBC Sport: “It is gut-wrenching, he was an amazing guy. He did so much. He had a positive effect on people’s hearts.
- Ex-Villa defender Samuel dies in crash
“I saw him all the time and would train with him. Everyone loved him, he was a great guy and always moving onto bigger and better things. He will be sadly missed.
“He loved football and giving back. That was the whole point of Egerton. He was at training every day, putting his heart and soul into it and helping the youth players coming through. It had nothing to do with money but a genuine care for people. He was selfless, willing to give back and help.
“He was also a successful businessman and a family man.”
Samuel made 199 appearances for Villa after signing with the club in 1998, and played 83 times for Bolton between 2007 and 2011.
He won two international caps for Trinidad and Tobago, and also played club football in Iran between 2011 and 2015.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association said: “According to reports, Jlloyd was returning home after dropping his kids off to school and collided with an oncoming vehicle.”
Ellington said his friend had spoken of his work in Africa, helping to support regeneration in The Gambia.
“He was helping to rebuild the country and financial structure. He was doing things on a big scale – meeting the president of the country,” he said.
“He could not have had many regrets of how he lived his life. He did everything he could do to make a difference.
“He was always honest and good to you. He had everything you could want in a friend and many others say the same thing. It’s a massive loss.”
Egerton have cancelled all their games this week as a mark of respect.
“Jlloyd was a great inspiration around our club and first team this season,” said the Cheshire club in a statement.
Former Bolton team-mate Kevin Davies said that Samuel was popular with fellow players and fans.
“I remember him being very smart, he was very dapper, always with a smile on his face and he just enjoyed his life,” Davies told BBC Radio Manchester.
Ex-Villa boss David O’Leary, who managed Samuel between 2003 and 2006, told BBC Radio 5 live: “He was a very happy-go-lucky, smiling boy. I just remember him from day one as a refreshing young lad who wanted to do well. It was a pleasure to be his manager for three years.
“He wanted to learn, get better and do well. He wanted to play for you and I was grateful for his attitude,
“He had a personality and an easy going nature about him. He had natural ability and natural fitness. I am so deeply shocked with the news that a really nice person has been taken from us.”
Championship club Villa said they were “deeply saddened” to hear of his death and the players wore back armbands in their game against Middlesbrough.
Samuel was capped by England from Under-18 to Under-21 level and was an unused substitute for a senior international against Sweden in 2004. He later played twice for Trinidad and Tobago, the country of his birth.
Cheshire Police said they were called to a serious collision involving a van and a Range Rover in High Legh, Cheshire at 07:55 BST on Tuesday, and the car driver Samuel died at the scene.
The van driver, a 54-year-old man, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Football pays tribute
Bolton Wanderers: “Rest in peace, Jlloyd. Our deepest condolences are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Cardiff City: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Cardiff City defender, Jlloyd Samuel. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Charlton Athletic: “The club are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jlloyd Samuel, who began his career in Charlton’s youth system. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Nathan Ellington was speaking to BBC Sport’s Matt Davis