Our reporter Stefan Davies looks back at fond memories of watching Adam Stansfield, having been fortunate enough to watch the striker play for both Hereford United and Exeter City.
As a young Hereford United supporter, I was treated to the fantastic football that Graham Turner’s sides put together during the 00’s and Adam Stansfield was very much an important part of that.
Stansfield scored 35 goals during his spell at Edgar Street and was part of the side that gained promotion to the Football League, thanks to a 3-2 victory over Halifax Town in the Conference Play Off Final in 2006. Despite the promotion, Stansfield decided to remain in the Conference and signed for Exeter City.
I regularly travelled down to Exeter, due to having friends in the area that supported City. A fantastic community club and the perfect club for a popular player like Stansfield to see out his career. In 2008, Exeter City gained promotion after beating Cambridge United in the play off final. Stansfield played in the game. Stansfield continued to be a regular in the Exeter side and scored ten goals in the 2008/09 season, which helped The Grecians achieve a second successive promotion to League One.
He decided to remain at Exeter for the 2009/10 season, despite having never played at such a high level and scored eight goals in a season curtailed by his cancer diagnosis. I remember travelling to watch Exeter at Stockport in November 2009. Stansfield scored the winner that day in added on time. Never did I think that would be the last time that I would watch him play football.
Stansfield suffered from abdominal pain in the early part of 2010, and was admitted to hospital for tests at the end of March. On 8 April 2010, Exeter City confirmed to the media that he had been diagnosed with a form of colorectal cancer. The prognosis wasn’t good but despite this he joined the Exeter squad for the first day of pre-season training in July 2010. Sadly his condition deteriorated rapidly and he died on 10 August 2010 in Exeter.
Following Stansfield’s death, his widow Marie had an idea to set up the Adam Stansfield Foundation. It works in offering children football in Devon, Somerset and Herefordshire, the three counties in which he played professionally, as well as increasing opportunities for the disabled to take part in the sport. The foundation also aims to increase awareness of bowel cancer. You can find out more by visiting – http://www.adamstansfieldfoundation.com/
RIP Stanno, You’ll never be forgotten.
Photo Credit: Stephen Niblett