Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Friends of England fan who died before Bulgaria football match raise over £12,000
16 October 2019, 12:20
An England fan who died in Sofia has been named by his friends as Rob Spray after they set up an online fundraising appeal to support his family and return his body to the UK.
In an online fundraiser on gofundme.com, friends Roger Wootton and Sam Tongue wrote:
"Don’t know exactly what’s happened but we do know Spray was the nicest softest lad everyone ever met.
"What happened is nothing but a tragedy. We all need to come together to support Spray’s family as much as we can."
The page that was created just 14 hours ago has been inundated with support and donations from people offering their condolences to the family and friends of the 32-year old.
One message on the page read: "Couldn’t sleep last night, thinking of you and your beautiful family. I have no words."
Another read: "No one should go to watch football and not come home. Condolences to family and friends."
The page has been shared by his sister, Katie Brown on Facebook.
In a post she wrote, "We need to get my brother home. Could you please help my absolutely broken family get their son back and my brother back home. Anything left over will be given to prostate cancer which my dad is fighting."
Mr Spray was from Heath Hayes in Cannock, Staffordshire and was a keen West Bromwich Albion supporter.
Prominent Baggies fan Mark ‘Snarka’ Whitehouse posted on Twitter that he is auctioning a signed Harry Kane England shirt and Albion shirt, and will donate the money to the fundraiser.
As you may know the England lad who died was a big Albion fan I've managed to get harry kanes signed England shirt and a signed Albion shirt which I'm auctioning to raise money to get him home please help by bidding or retweeting— snarka 🏴 (@snarka) October 15, 2019
Rob Spray had travelled to Bulgaria with friends to watch the Bulgaria v England European Championship qualifying match on the evening of Monday 14 October.
He was found on Monday morning at 10am in Sofia city centre in "a helpless condition".
The Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior said he was taken to hospital but he died.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who died following an incident in Sofia, and our staff are in contact with the UK and Bulgarian authorities.”
The cause of death remains unclear.