Marie Burchill 1/ 5/2008
A DAD has paid an emotional tribute to the ‘football-mad’ son he used to do everything with.
Kevin Garner of Regan Avenue in Chorlton spoke of his sadness following the death of his 29-year-old son Fred Garner – who was a founding member of the breakaway football club, FC United.
Fred was found with a serious head injury at the foot of a fire escape outside the Rex Hotel in Whitley Bay just after 5am on Sunday, April 20.
The football fanatic had made the trip to the north east with his dad Kevin to watch FC United beat opponents Newcastle Blue Star 4-0.
Now Mr Garner, 53, has spoken of the close bond he shared with his son Fred who was ‘loved by everyone he knew’.
Mr Garner said: "Fred was such a happy-go-lucky lad, he just wanted to have fun. He was really popular and was loved by everyone who knew him.
"We used to do everything together, we worked together, went to the football together and watched horse-racing.
"We both had season tickets at Manchester United for 15 years before Glazer’s take-over, that’s when Fred helped to set up FC United.
"I am really into horse-racing and used to go by myself before Fred was old enough.
"I would come back and tell him all about it and he couldn’t wait to get there with me. We went all over to the races, including Ireland and Paris.
"We both followed FC United everywhere too. The team was very important to Fred, he was really passionate about them."
It is thought that Fred – who worked with his dad in the gas industry – may have fallen on the fire escape at the Rex Hotel, suffering a bang to the back of his head.
Earlier he had been watching a Manchester United match in the bar of the hotel with his dad.
Mr Garner decided to go to bed at midnight while Fred made his way to the hotel’s nightclub, which was open until 3am.
Fred was operated on for six hours at Newcastle General Hospital following the incident to remove blood clots from his brain, but to no avail.
The 29-year-old had lived in Chorlton for all of his life.
He was born in Withington Hospital and went to Chorlton C of E primary School and then Oakwood High School.
He lived with his mum, Carol, and dad Kevin on Regan Avenue up until a year ago, when he bought his own flat just off Edge Lane.
Footballers and more than 1,500 FC United fans paid tribute to Fred by holding a minute’s silence at their match against Woodley Sports last week.
Mr Garner said: "It was a really touching moment, everybody observed the silence and about 40 members of our family turned up too.
"Fred had so many friends. He used to go out to The Lounge in Chorlton, but after buying his flat he started staying in more so he could pay for his mortgage."
Northumbria Police said Fred’s death is not being treated as suspicious.