Tributes paid to ex-Owl Atkinson

Tributes have been paid to former Wednesday striker Dalian Atkinson who has died after being tasered by police.

Forty-eight-year-old Atkinson died after police were called to a house in Shropshire in the early hours. He was tasered and then reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to hospital, before being pronounced dead.

Atkinson joined Wednesday in June 1989 in a £450,000 transfer from Ipswich and went on to score 15 goals during the following season, a campaign which saw the Owls relegated from the top flight.

He then signed for Real Sociedad for £1.75m before rejoining Ron Atkinson – his boss at Hillsborough – at Aston Villa.

Wednesday said on the club website: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dalian at this extremely difficult time.”

Ron Atkinson said: ““He always had a smile on his face – and played football with a smile on his face. He was popular in the dressing room, had terrific ability and did it in the big games.

“He did very well for me. I signed him at Sheffield Wednesday and when I joined Villa he was one of the first players I wanted to bring in. It’s tragic.”

Owls legend David Hirst, who played up front with Atkinson at S6, said: “He was a great lad and a great character to have around the place.

“We got on great and had one season together before he moved on to Spain and then Ron Atkinson brought him back to Villa. He was some player and of course at Villa he scored that goal of the season.

“On his day he was unplayable and even on an off-day he could be unplayable because of his lightning pace.”

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