Shock as former Doncaster Rovers media manager dies from massive heart attack

Steve Uttley

Steve Uttley

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Shocked Doncaster Rovers fans have flocked to pay tribute to the club's former media manager and photographer after his sudden death from a massive heart attack.

Steve Uttley, 58, was a familiar face to thousands of Rovers supporters during 14 years at the club as official club photographer and media manager.

Carol Smith, his partner of six years, broke the tragic news on Facebook earlier today writing: "I'm sorry to share that Steve my partner for the last 6 years and best friend who I loved dearly passed away very suddenly last night from a massive heart attack. His family and I are all devastated by his loss."

Steve, who also ran his own photography business, charted the rise of the club from the Conference to the Championship and captured some of the most remarkable moments in the club's history on camera including the League One play-off final victory over Leeds at Wembley in 2008 and the club's dramatic last gasp win over Brentford which earned the club the League One Championship.

He also took photographs of the club's Johnstone Paints Trophy win over Bristol Rovers at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2007 as well as the club's run to the Carling Cup quarter finals in 2005.

Steve was also part of the Doncaster Rovers team which conquered the Inca Trail in South America, joining players James Coppinger, James O'Connor and Mark Wilson for the gruelling expedition which raised thousands of pounds for charity.

He left the club after a shake-up a few years ago and had been working for League Two club Mansfield Town in a similar capacity.

Former chairman John Ryan led the tributes, taking to social media to pay respects.

He wrote on Facebook: "Sad news, lots of amazing memories with Steve Uttley at Doncaster Rovers. Our thoughts are with the Uttley family, our condolences. The man behind the lens, you will be missed."

The club also issued a statement which read: "Doncaster Rovers are saddened to learn of the passing of former media manager Steve Uttley, aged 58.

"Steve, a dedicated photographer, worked for the club between the late 1990’s and 2014; attending hundreds of games and capturing our dramatic rise from the Conference to the Championship in the process.

"Our thoughts are with Steve’s daughter Suzanne who works at the Club as the Football Administrator and the family and friends (of which there are many) at this incredibly difficult time."

Shocked supporters have been taking to social media to pay tribute to Steve, who despite his allegiance to Rovers, was a massive Sheffield Wednesday fan.

Businessman David Plant who was part of the Inca Trek team said: "Shocked and saddened to find out that my Inca buddy Steve Uttley passed away a short time ago. Steve was a great help to me during the trek, but even more than that a great friend. Only recently had we talked on the phone for a good hour remembering the past.

"Steve would do anything to help anybody and got me out a few pickles over the last few years. "There's only ONE Steve Uttley."

Fellow supporter Tony Critchley wrote: "Gutted. Steve Uttley one of the best blokes I know. The best camera man I know taught me many things. Going to be missed massively RIP Steve."

Mexborough-born Steve, who lived in Mansfield, ran his own photography business and in his time at Rovers, was charged with putting the matchday programme together, arranging interviews with players and managers and helping to promote the club both locally and nationally.

He was also heavily involved in the production of Rovers World magazine, the publication produced by the club and Doncaster Rovers during the club's days in the Championship and was a staunch member of the National Union of Journalists.

It is thought Rovers fans may be planning an impromptu tribute to Steve at tomorrow night's game against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park with some supporters calling for fans to chant "There's only one Steve Uttley" during the game.

Watch Steve talking about his golden years at Doncaster Rovers in this interview with Free Press sports writer Paul Goodwin from February 2015 http://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/sport/doncaster-rovers/rovers-news/video-steve-uttley-interview-my-golden-years-at-doncaster-rovers-1-7130262