James Dean (Deano)
All of us at Chorley FC Supporters Trust are shocked and saddened by the news about former Chorley FC striker, James Dean. ‘Deano’, as he was universally known by fans and colleagues alike, played for several clubs during his career, including Stalybridge Celtic, FC Halifax Town and AFC Fylde, from whom the Magpies signed him in 2013. During his three years at Victory Park, Deano’s goal-scoring exploits firmly established him as a club legend, hugely popular with the club’s supporters. His presence in the team was a key element in the successful 2013-14 campaign, which culminated in Chorley winning the Northern Premier League title and gaining promotion to what was then the Conference North.
The outpouring of grief on social media channels confirm what we already knew – that as well as being a formidable football player, Deano was a great character and thoroughly decent and likeable person. He was held in equally high regard by other clubs that he played for and even fellow footballers and managers who only ever knew him as a troublesome opponent have taken to social media to post warm, positive comments about him. Football at all levels, including non-league, has its many rivalries and perhaps even enmities, but at a time like this it is clear there really is a ‘football family’ and that such differences are readily cast aside to allow everyone to unite in mourning the loss, reflecting on a life cut short and sharing precious memories.
First and foremost, Deano’s death is a personal tragedy and our hearts go out to his family; most of all to his two young sons who will grow up without their father. Viewed from a wider perspective it is also of course a sad, stark human tragedy. We do not yet have the details about what happened but, based on what is known, many are reminding us of the importance of taking mental health seriously and the need to work harder to overcome any remaining stigma surrounding the subject, not least among those actually suffering the effects of depression and other mental health issues. The established tagline ‘It’s OK not to be OK’ has been seen many times in the past 24 hours and we at CFCST would echo that sentiment. By crucial and natural extension, it is also OK to say that you are not OK and, for those who may observe worrying signs, to ask someone how they are. Let’s all look after each other.
Goodbye, Deano – and thank you for the memories.