FOOTBALL fans are mourning the death of former Yeovil Town striker Adam Stansfield who has died of cancer at the age of just 31.

Stansfield, who played for Yeovil, Hereford United and most recently Exeter City, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April.

A statement was made by Exeter City last night which read: “"It is with great sadness that Exeter City Football Club have to confirm the news that Adam Stansfield passed away this evening. Our thoughts are with his wife, family and friends at this time."

Stansfield was playing for Elmore when Gary Johnson, the then Yeovil manager, took him to Huish Park in October 2001 and he became an instant hero with supporters.

He scored 16 goals in that 2001-02 season – including a goal in the Glovers’ 2-0 victory over Stevenage Borough in the FA Trophy Final at Villa Park.

A Yeovil Town spokesman said: “He became an instant hit with the Glovers supporters with his all-action, fast-moving style and a lethal eye for goal. He scored loads of goals including many in the successful FA Trophy run of that season.

“He scored twice against Tiverton Town in one of the earlier rounds before scoring one in the first game at Huish Park against Doncaster Rovers. The replay, unforgettable for anyone who was there, saw the Devonian hit two more in the last ten minutes to help seal a remarkable 5-4 victory.”

Stansfield began his career at Cullompton Rangers before joining Devon rivals Elmore from where the then Yeovil boss Johnson spotted him.

He had become one of the biggest prospects in non-league football, but disaster struck in the opening game of the 2002-03 against Gravesend and Northfleet when he suffered a broken leg which saw him ruled out for the entire season.

He recovered and came back and played a leading role in Yeovil’s first-ever season in the Football League but left the Glovers at the end of the 2003-04 campaign with the club having just missed out on the Nationwide League Division Three play-offs.

Stansfield went on to join Hereford United before moving to Exeter City where he had been a mainstay of the side which has seen the Grecians win promotion from the Conference and the Coca-Cola League Two to their current spot in League One.

Stansfield was last seen at Huish Park playing for Exeter in January earlier this year in which he scored against his former Glovers.

As a mark of respect he did not celebrate his goal.

Now as we mourn the loss of such a popular lad, we shall respect his memory.