Dalian Atkinson
Dalian Atkinson, representing Aston Villa, in a Premier League match against Crystal Palace, April 1995Gary M. Prior/ Getty Images

The death of Dalian Atkinson has been met with shock and grief across the sporting world. The 48-year-old former Aston Villa striker was Tasered by police at his home in Telford. Atkinson died at the Princess Royal Hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.

Atkinson was one of the big stars in Premier League when it was launched in 1992. He scored BBC Match of the Day’s goal of the season in the inaugural campaign.

As well as Villa, Atkinson also played for English teams Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, before moving to Spanish side Real Sociedad. He was sold to Turkish outfit Fenerbahce but was loaned to Metz in France and Manchester City.Between 1997 and his retirement in 2001 he played for clubs in Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Dalian Atkinson
Police remain at the home of former Aston Villa striker Dalian AtkinsonTwitter/Anonymous via Storyful

Former Villa manager Ron Atkinson, under whom Atkinson won the League Cup in 1994, told the Birmingham Mail: “This is an out-and-out tragedy. He was a really popular player with teammates. He was a really generous lad – sometimes too generous for his own good – but a good lad.

“He always had a smile on his face and I really like that in a player. He also had terrific ability. I always knew I didn’t need to worry about him in big games.”

Aston Villa

Former Villa defender Paul McGrath said on Twitter: “Don’t feel to gud [sic] at the moment , Dalian Atkinson was a huge part of the Villa family I played with lovely kid and friend R.I.P pal Xx.” Mark Bosnich, who also played alongside Atkinson, described him at his peak as “one of the very best”.

In a tragic coincidence, Aston Villa marked the anniversary of its first ever goal in the Premier League – which was scored by Atkinson on this day 24 years ago – with a trip down memory lane on its official website. His former clubs, ex teammates and current players have paid tribute to him across social media:

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

RIP Dalian Atkinson. You’ll never be forgotten!

Dalian Atkinson
Aston Villa paid tribute to the club’s first ever Premier League goal, scored by Dalian AtkinsonAston Villa

The thoughts of everyone at Wednesday are with the friends and family of Dalian Atkinson this morning. RIP

Terribly sad news about our former striker. Our thoughts are with Dalian’s family and friends at this tragic time.https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/765128093644316672 

RIP Dalian Atkinson. Loved watching videos of him & always remember his great goal vs Wimbledon. My thoughts are with his family & friends.

Absolutely shocked at the news of Dalian Atkinson sudden death, a good man, great talent in his day! Rip mate ????

Shocking news regarding Dalian Atkinson. Thoughts and prayers with his family at this sad time. RIP

RIP Dalian Atkinson, scorer of one of the great goals in Premier League history…