A HAMPSHIRE football club put on a show and paid tribute to their friend and former coach by firing in 12 goals in one match.

Darren Burdle, a 50-year-old father-of-three, died suddenly while watching football at Shamblehurst Barn, Hedge End, on Tuesday.

His club, Sholing, were ready to call off last night's Southampton Senior Cup tie at home to Hedge End Rangers but the players requested the game go ahead, preceded by a minute’s applause, in tribute to their popular coach who joined them from Folland Sports last year.

And they won it for Darren in style, cruising to a 12-0 victory.

Darren ran his own cleaning business, was part of a well-known Southampton footballing family, his brother Colin having played for Blackfield & Langley and Hythe & Dibden.

A Sholing statement said: “On an emotional evening, the Boatmen put on a show for our friend Darren.

"It would have been tough tonight for any side to face the lads, who were all determined to play at their best and it was one-way traffic from the first minute to the last.

“But the night was all about the ‘Birdman.’ RIP Darren."

Sholing manager Dave Diaper tweeted: ”The cycle of life has struck again by taking Dazzer from us.

"He would have been pleased with the 12-0 win tonight, that was for you mate RIP.”

Darren’s playing career was spent at Esso Fawley, Brockenhurst, Lymington Town, Blackfield & Langley, BAT, Brendon and Folland Sports.

A holder of the UEFA B Licence, he went on to coach at Folland Reserves, Hamble Club, Winchester City and Lymington Town before rejoining Follands to coach the first team from 2012-15.

Leading the tributes, a Sholing statement said: “Our hearts go out to Darren’s family and friends, especially his three children Connor, Dylan and Brooke.

“Football seems so trivial at times like this, but football was a massive part of Darren’s life. One that he lived to the full.

“A larger than life personality, his pre-match warm-up drills were always lively and, although he put the lads through the wringer at times, it was always done with a smile and many jokes at the players’ expense.

“It was no coincidence that we started games positively as a result of his infectious enthusiasm.”

Danny Bowers, former Folland Sports manager, said: “It’s devastating news.

“Richard Gregory (former Follands player) was with Darren. They’d gone to watch the game and Darren collapsed in his arms. Richard called me in the early hours.

“Loads of people have texted me. Darren was an amazing person, a true gentleman and one of the kindest people you could meet.

“He was so energetic and brought such great professionalism to Follands. His coaching was first class.

“He got on with everyone and was such a lovely man. I’m devastated for his family.”

Stuart Hussey, who knew Darren through football, work and family, said: “My thoughts go to his three children and his mum, Pat.

“I first met Darren when he went out with my sister and we’ve been near best mates ever since.

“He recently set up his own cleaning business and he’s done some work for me, my brother Matt and dad.

“Football-wise, he was with Matt and me at Follands, Hamble Club, Winchester and Lymington and we were together at Sholing for 18 months.

“We went to Las Vegas this year to celebrate Darren’s 50th and my brother’s 40th.

“No one had a bad word to say about Darren.

“He lived a road up from me in Sholing. It’s a big loss when someone you saw so often is suddenly out of your life.”