It is with great sadness that Chelsea Football Club has learned of the passing of our colleague Eric Asiedu.

Eric was a hugely popular figure at our Cobham training ground in his role as Academy kitman, always going about his work with an infectious smile and wonderful positivity. He will be sadly missed by us all and the pain of his sudden passing will be felt by many.

Affectionately known as ‘boss’ by players and staff alike, Eric went above and beyond to develop strong relationships with those he worked with in the Under-18 age group. He was a caring mentor and confidant in the dressing room to players taking their first tentative steps into full-time football, while carrying out his daily duties in meticulous fashion.

A humble and warm character, Eric joined Chelsea FC in April 2013, his presence and personality proving integral to the values of our Academy culture. He has been a constant on the sidelines during a great many of our youth team successes over the years.

Head of youth development Neil Bath gave his personal memories of Eric and his special standing in the Academy.

‘We are completely shocked and totally devastated to hear of Eric’s passing,’ he said. ‘When you get the good fortune to lead an organisation like an academy, you quickly realise that while players, coaches and staff get the public praise, there are key individuals behind the scenes who truly are the absolute key to developing and maintaining a successful culture.

‘Eric the boss man was a real example of the values we want to promote, a caring and supportive individual who created the sort of unity and family spirit that so many leaders struggle to find. It is impossible to put into words the depth of sadness we all feel at this news but the reaction from staff, parents and players, both current and past, gives a sense of the incredible love we all felt towards Eric.

‘The picture above, and what it represents, gives me as much pride as any trophy we’ve ever won or any senior minutes we’ve achieved. Eric really was one of a kind – a special, smiling superstar.’

Eric’s passion for the job, the players he supported, and his love for Chelsea was evident for all to see and will be sorely missed. All at Chelsea send our deepest condolences to Eric’s family and friends at this most difficult time.