BRIGHTON & Hove Albion have released a club statement this afternoon as club employee Matt Grimstone and Seagulls supporter Jacob Schilt are believed to be among the victims of yesterday’s Shoreham Airshow crash.
Matt and Jacob were on their way to United’s home game with Loxwood in Southern Combination League Premier Division when a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed into a busy stretch of the A27.
In the statement, Brighton said: “Brighton & Hove Albion employee Matt Grimstone and Seagulls supporter Jacob Schilt are both believed to be among the victims of yesterday’s tragic Shoreham air crash.
“Matt, a member of the club’s ground staff at the club’s training facility in Lancing, a keen amateur footballer and talented goalkeeper, was on his way to play for Worthing United against Loxwood in the Southern Combination Premier Division at Lyons Way, along with his Mavericks teammate Jacob.
“The vehicle in which the pair were travelling to the match was hit by the aircraft which crashed on the A27 at Shoreham during the airshow.
“A former Varndean student, Matt, 23, has worked at the club for the past seven years - starting with the Albion as part of matchday event team at Withdean.
“He became an apprentice groundsman in 2013, and was given a full-time role with the grounds team having successfully completed his apprenticeship.
“Jacob, who alongside Matt was part of Worthing United’s Sussex County League Division Two championship-winning side last season, also played for an Albion supporters’ team in this year’s Robert Eaton Memorial Fund match against Crystal Palace at Lewes in April.
“Chairman Tony Bloom commented: “The thoughts and prayers of everybody at the club are with Matt and Jacob’s family and friends at this shocking time. Our thoughts are also with all the people who have lost loved ones in this horrendous accident.”
“Albion manager Chris Hughton said: “We are all shocked and deeply saddened by this news. Matt has been part of a great team we have at the club, and our thoughts go out to his and Jacob’s families at this devastating time.”
Chief executive Paul Barber added: “Matt’s been a very popular member of our ground staff team and has proved to be an absolute credit to the club and his boss Steve Winterburn.
“I also got to know Jacob as one of the REMF squad, during the coaching sessions we held leading up to this year’s charity match against Crystal Palace. As well as being a very good footballer, Jacob is a popular and impressive young man.
“It is hard to the find the right words to express the full extent of our shock and sadness at this time, but Matt and Jacob’s family and friends are very much in our thoughts - along with all those who’ve been affected by this terrible tragedy.”
Matt and Jacob also played played for Sunday league side AFC Shoreham and Matt previously played for Mile Oak, who said in a statement this afternoon: “Everyone at Mile Oak FC wishes to send their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of former Oak goalie Matt Grimstone - one of the nicest guys to ever wear the orange and black kit. And to his Worthing United and AFC Shoreham teammate Jacob Schilt - both tragically killed in yesterday’s Shoreham Airshow disaster.
“Forever in our thoughts. RIP. Football family united in grief.”
Worthing Football Club wrote on their website: “Worthing Football Club would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the two Worthing United players killed in yesterday’s plane crash at Shoreham Airshow.”
Littlehampton FC tweeted: “Our thoughts and condolences to @WorthingUtdFC for the tragic loss of Matt and Jacob in yesterday’s incident.
“Our thoughts also to local lad Matt Jones known by many of the players who also tragically lost his life in the incident at Shoreham.”
Hastings United tweeted: “Heartfelt condolences to all affected by yesterday’s tragic events at Shoreham, and thoughts with @WorthingUtdFC at this difficult time.”
Chichester City tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in the air show accident including two players for @WorthingUtdFC from all at @chicityfc.”
Steyning Town tweeted: “Our thoughts are with everybody at @WorthingUtdFC today, as well as all other famies and friends affected.”
The FA tweeted this morning: “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.”
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