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Inquest reveals how ex-Stoke, Sheff Utd, Shrewsbury, Accrington player died aged 43

An inquest reveals how the ex-Stoke, Sheff Utd, Shrewsbury, Accrington Telford player Stephen Jagielka died aged 43, six months ago.

Having begun his career without success at Stoke City, he broke through at Shrewsbury Town, where he spent six seasons before losing hi splace under Jimmy Quinn as they were relegated to the Conference in 2003.

He then moved to Sheffield United for a season, which had the presence of his younger brother and Premier League player Phil and a good relationship with manager Neil Warnock.

Jagielka then spent two seasons at Accrington Stanley, playing a part to their promotion to the Football League as Conference champions in 2006.

Jagielka also spent a season at Droylsden, helping them win promotion to the National League, but decided to leave due to difficulties navigating from Shrewsbury where he was running a plumbing business. Remaining in Shropshire, he signed a one-year deal with AFC Telford United of the Conference North after initiating a call with their manager.

The former versatile midfielder was living in Rodington and passed away, with the cause of is shock death revealed six months after his passing.

The death was drug-related, an inquest has concluded as Shropshire Coroner John Ellery heard Steve Jagielka had been preparing to move house at the time.

Mr Ellery said there was no suggestion his death in March was deliberate.

Mr Jagielka’s ex-wife, Jo Fallows, said he was a “fun-loving and charming character” with a passion for football.

She added: “Steve had a lasting impact on many people’s lives.”

The medical cause of death was recorded as aspirational pneumonia due to methadone toxicity.

The inquest at Shirehall in Shrewsbury heard there had been reports of possible cocaine use in the days leading up to his death.

Speaking after the hearing, Miss Fallows said: “Wherever he went, everybody knew him.”

She commented football was “all he had ever known”, adding, “I think the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) should help them a little bit more.”

Steve was a popular member of several teams he was with, especially at Shrewsbury. He involved in their great escape victory at Exeter in 2000. He also played in the FA Cup victory over Everton.

In recent years he turned out for Shrewsbury legends teams in charity matches.

He also featured for Market Drayton Town and Ellesmere Rangers, where he was part of a management team.

The attack-minded midfielder helped Telford lift the Setanta Shield in 2009, where he played in the final, a penalty shootout victory over Forest Green.

He was a popular member of Rob Smith’s side between 2007 and 2009.

Jagielka, who only turned 43 a week before his death, was one of just a select group of players to play more than 200 games for the club since 2000.

AFC Telford tweeted: “AFC Telford United are extremely saddened to announce the passing of former player Stephen Jagielka.

“The former skipper played for the club between 2007-2009 under Rob Smith & Larry Chambers.

“All our thoughts at this difficult time are with Steve’s family & friends.”


Youth career
Stoke City

Senior career
1996–1997 – Stoke City
1997–2003 – Shrewsbury Town – 176 games (18 goals)
2003–2004 – Sheffield United
2004–2006 – Accrington Stanley – 68 games (9 goals)
2006–2007 – Droylsden
2007–2009 – AFC Telford United
2009–2012 – Hednesford Town
Ellesmere Rangers
Market Drayton

As an inquest reveals how the ex-Stoke, Sheff Utd, Shrewsbury, Accrington, Telford player died aged 43, Twitter users gave their reaction…

@Cal_Marx_: Would be good to see Town be proactive in supporting former players after this. Maybe one the STFC ITC team could get involved in

@B_and_A_Fanzine: Several times I have approached the club about an ex player association, and offered to be a part of helping to organise it. Did a presentation on it. It was heading towards something pre COVID and now has stalled… need to get back on it…

@PDickinDelcam: Terrible news, will always be remembered for his part in the Everton game and many others

@BucksWriter: Just dreadfully sad to think of a guy like Jags, who was so popular and a big character, finding life after football so challenging. There may be scope for the @PFA to do more, but looking after each other and being able to be open about our worries is the biggest thing of all.

@r16hw: Probably more common than we realise at all levels. Similar feelings I imagine army vets have. Just that being part of something, involved with lots of people for years and all ending while still fairly young. to just switch it all off and go to a normal life must be hard.

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