Sam Harding, who played for England schoolboys and a number of non-league clubs, has passed away aged 20 after being struck by a vehicle at a “car meet” on Sunday
Former England schoolboy footballer Sam Harding has sadly died aged 20 after being struck by a vehicle at a “car meet” in Warrington, Cheshire.
The incident happened on Sunday night. Harding, a central midfielder from Stockport, was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead. Cheshire Police have confirmed a 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
Harding played for a number of non-league clubs, including Prescott Cables, Glossop North End, FC United of Manchester and Ashton Athletic. He was a student at the University Campus of Football Business and has been described as “an extremely popular student” and a “promising footballer” by the university.
“We know that there were a large number of people present at the car meet and as part of our investigation we are keen to hear from witnesses,” said sergeant Simon Degg, who insisted Cheshire Police’s inquiries were in “the early stages”.
“The same goes for anyone with any video footage from the event. I’d urge anyone with any information, no matter how small, to get in touch.”
Tributes have poured in for Harding since Sunday evening. “Ashton Athletic are devastated to hear the news of the passing of 2021-22 first-team player Sam Harding,” wrote the non-league club.
“Sam was only at our club for one season and was a huge factor in our improved form since his arrival. He was a quiet, well-mannered young man and he will be sorely missed by everyone at the club. All our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this terrible time. RIP Sam.”
FC United of Manchester academy manager Tom Conroy described Harding as “one of the best academy players we have ever had and that was proven when he was successful in England schoolboy trials, earning caps for his country”.
Conroy added: “Sam is always spoken about to future academy players as a perfect example of the type of player we want at the club, not only with regards to… footballing ability, but the type of person he was – kind, polite, hard working and professional. He will be sadly missed and I would like to pass my love and condolences to Sam’s family.”
The North West Counties Football League – steps nine and 10 in the English football pyramid – tweeted: “All of us at the NWCFL are devastated by the passing of Sam Harding and send our most sincere condolences to his family. A tragic loss for our footballing community, Sam’s dedication and sheer love for the game will always be remembered.”
Glossop North End wrote: “GNE is shocked & deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former player, Sam Harding, who sadly passed away last night aged just 20. Sam came through Glossop Juniors and we all join together in sending our deepest & sincere condolences to Sam’s family at this difficult time.”
Prescot Cables tweeted: “The club are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sam Harding, who was killed in a car accident last night. Sam made a number of appearances for Prescot Cables during the 2019-20 season. Our thoughts are with his friends, former teammates and family at this time. RIP Sam.”