Dad’s football tournament tribute to tragic son

Steven's dad Andy and brother Michael. Picture: Scott Louden
Steven's dad Andy and brother Michael. Picture: Scott Louden
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A HEARTBROKEN dad has organised a football tournament as a poignant tribute to his tragic son.

Steven Slater, who played for Hearts as a teenager, was found dead near his Musselburgh home in March.

Steven Slater. Picture: Contributed

Steven Slater. Picture: Contributed

The 25-year-old fulfilled a boyhood dream when he signed for the Gorgie club at 16, but left in 2008 without making a first-team appearance.

Now dad Andy and brother Michael are aiming to honour his talents by hosting Steven Slater’s Festival of Football in Musselburgh tomorrow.

At least 80 friends and family are set to take to the pitch at Olivebank Stadium – the home of Musselburgh Athletic – for a seven-a-side tournament.

Andy believes the idea, sparked by his son’s friends at his funeral, will prove a fitting tribute.

He said: “We just want to celebrate Steven – he’s not here because of tragic circumstances, but I don’t want to call it a memorial.

“I don’t know how it’s going to affect me, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m delighted the kids [Steven’s friends] wanted it to happen.” And he joked: “At first I thought they were just drunk, but they were deadly serious.”

Spectators to tomorrow’s football festival – which kicks off at 1pm – will be asked to make a donation to raise funds for Musselburgh Grammar School and Musselburgh Windsor FC.

One of the teams taking part will be the school side Steven reached the Scottish Cup semi-final with in 2003, with coach Scott Robertson unearthing the original strips and bringing the side back together.

Two former Hearts youth team-mates are flying from London to take part, while Andy is putting up the awards for the winning teams, with a player of the tournament prize also to be handed out.

Steven’s body was found close to Musselburgh railway station near the end of March. Police officers at the time said there were no suspicious ­circumstances surrounding his death.

The talented young footballer joined Tynecastle FC at the age of 12 before signing for Hearts on a full-time contract four years later.

After leaving his boyhood heroes in 2008, he travelled to the United States after being offered a three-year scholarship, but returned from Los Angeles a year later.

Steven’s mother, Margaret, died three years ago after a battle with cancer.

katie.richardson@edinburghnews.com