Tributes as former Stratford Town goalkeeper Matija Sarkic dies at just 26

Matija Sarkic died in Budva, Montenegro
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire)

Tributes have poured in for an ex-Stratford Town FC goalkeeper who has died at the age of just 26. Matija Sarkic died after falling ill in Montenegro.

Sarkic, who played for a string of West Midlands-based clubs including Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City, became ill at an apartment in Budva after being on international duty, reports the Daily Mirror. His friends reportedly dialled 999 but he died at around 6.30am on Saturday (June 15).

Goalkeeper Sarkic spent time at RSC Anderlecht as a youngster before joining Aston Villa. His five-year spell saw him loaned to Wigan Athletic, Stratford Town, Havant & Waterlooville and Livingston.

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Sarkic signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2020 and then had loan spells with Shrewsbury Town, Birmingham City, and Stoke City before Millwall signed him on a permanent basis in 2023. He made 33 appearances in the season just gone, reports the Daily Mirror.

Milwall FC confirmed his passing in a statement which read: “Millwall FC is completely devastated to announce that Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26. Sarkic made 33 appearances for the club since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2023.

“A Montenegro international, Matija proudly represented his country on numerous occasions. Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to his family and friends at this immensely sad time.”

In a post on X, his former club Stratford Town FC said: “Stratford Town FC are deeply saddened to hear the news that our former goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Birmingham City FC said on X: “Everyone at Birmingham City is shocked and saddened to learn of the news that our former goalkeeper, Matija Sarkic, has passed away at the age of 26. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and all those that knew him.”

A statement from Wolverhampton Wanderers said: “Matija was someone who had time for anybody, no matter who they were. He was smart, bright, warm and funny, and gave everything to his profession and the people around him. A teammate, a colleague and a friend. He will be missed by all of us.”

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