Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient former player Sammy Winston fundraiser launched after death

Sammy Winston’s death the age of 44 was announced by former club Leyton Orient on Tuesday.
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A fundraiser set up for ex-Spurs youth player Sammy Winston, whose death aged 44 was announced on February 28, has nearly trebled its goal.

Winston reached the FA Youth Cup final with Tottenham, and went on to play for clubs including Leyton Orient, Sutton United and Kingstonian.

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His sister-in-law, Julie Browne, set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with the funeral costs, and told London World: “Sam had nothing, he didn’t have life insurance. He had no money, there was nothing.”

She said he was a “very happy-go-lucky guy”, but that he struggled with his mental health.

The Islington footballer started his career at Spurs youth team, but never made a first team appearance for the club.

A move to Norwich City also resulted in no starts, but he made his senior debut for Leyton Orient in 1996, scoring in their 2-1 FA Cup first round win over Merthyr Tydfil.

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The striker would go on to make 11 appearances for the club in total, and have spells at Sutton United and Kingstonian in the capital.

Winston joined the London Fire Brigade in 2004, with his sister-in-law saying he “absolutely loved” working as a fireman.

Sammy Winston, playing for Kingstonian FC. Sammy Winston, playing for Kingstonian FC.
Sammy Winston, playing for Kingstonian FC.

Julie said the former Spurs man “loved telling his football stories” to the point where they’d have to jokingly tell him to “shut up” before he’d go on another ramble.

She said the outpouring of love from the wider football community shows “how much he clearly was loved and thought of”, adding: “If only [he] knew.”

Winston is survived by his wife Karen and daughter Abigail.

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The family says the GoFundMe page was initially set up to pay for a funeral with “no bells and whistles”, but that any extra money will go towards the service and potentially creating a memorial in the footballer’s honour.

It has so far raised £11,015 after a £3,995 goal was set.

Julie said: “Everything we get, no matter what it goes to now, will all go to Sam, the memorial of Sam.”

If you would like to contribute to the fundraiser you can follow the GoFundMe link here.