The heartbroken family and friends of talented teenager Jason Baker have spoken of their love for the “phenomenal” footballer.
The 19-year-old striker died hours after scoring a 35-yard wonder goal for his new side.
His distraught teammates have vowed to don black armbands in his memory for the rest of the season.
He loved football, fishing and music – and who always had a smile on his face.
and music – and always had a smile on his face.
“He was just one of a kind, there was nobody like him,” said partner Becky Booth, who was also the mother of his two-year-old son Tyler.
She lovingly recalls “cheeky” Jason, adding: “He was such a wind-up merchant, and he loved to laugh.”
Jason died suddenly on Saturday August 23, a day after starring for his new football team Eastway Sports Club.
His teammates have now had his number 11 shirt framed, where it will be proudly placed on the club’s wall.
Never far without a football at his feet, the Arsenal fan was thought of as the “complete forward” by those who played alongside him.
“He was good in the air, good with his feet – he was the perfect striker,” said his manager Bart Newham.
“He was so strong for his size, and he had all the talent in the world.”
But it wasn’t just football that the Eastfield teenager enjoyed.
“He loved rave music,” said best friend Mark Taylor, who also played football alongside him. “He loved a party and he was the party. But he was just a fantastic friend and one of the best lads you would ever know.”
The former Pindar School pupil also had another major passion – the outdoors.
A keen fisherman, he would often trek down to The Dell with his pet dog Bud.
Now, in his memory, his mother Ann is planning to erect a bench at the nature spot.
There will be a collection at his funeral to raise funds to make that wish possible.
Holding back the tears, Ann fondly remembered her outdoor-loving son, who as a child would always walk around in wellies, and who as a man, doted on his young family.
“He was a lovely wee boy,” said Ann, speaking on behalf of Jason’s father Glenn and his five brothers.
“But when he got older, Tyler became his life and Becky was his world.”
She, and all of those in Jason’s life, will now work together to make sure that Tyler – the apple of his father’s eye – will grow up to do his father proud.
“That little lad will want for nothing,” said Ann.
Jason’s funeral will be held at the Scarborough Crematorium tomorrow at 10.40am.
There will be family flowers only, with donations accepted towards his memorial bench.
An inquest has been opened into Jason’s death.