A SHOCKED Midlands football fraternity has weighed in with more than £12,000 in little more than a day to support the family of late ex-Worcester City footballer Sam Oji.

The respected defender, who was with Arsenal and Birmingham City as a youngster, died at the weekend aged just 35 following a short a short illness prompting a flood of tributes from across the country.

READ MORE: Tributes flood in following death of ex-Worcester City defender

Worcester News:

His brother Franki Rozay posted an emotional message on fundraising website Go Fund Me and a wealth of former team-mates, opponents and friends from the professional and semi-professional ranks have contributed, hundreds of pounds each in some cases, to help out Mr Oji’s widow and two children.

The message read: “I recently lost my brother Sam Oji which has come as a shock to the family.

“Sam was one of five brothers that made up the household. To be writing this at this current time in my life is very painful as Sam was a big part of my transition to who I am today.

“He was my biggest supporter, my role model, my younger but older brother in certain situations. He provided the strength for me to overcome many situations in life, a true lion at heart.

“He was the heartbeat of the family, the peacemaker. Words can’t describe the impact he had on my life and the rest of the family but through us he will continue to live on and be celebrated.

“He leaves behind a wonderful wife and two beautiful kids who are his twins in appearance so I set this up for them. It won’t bring my brother back but it will allow people to reach out and show their love for him.

“He was loved by many so we come together as one to celebrate the life of big Sam and continue his legacy.”

Mr Oji played in the Football League for Doncaster Rovers, Bristol Rovers, Leyton Orient and Hereford United.

After three seasons in Ireland playing for Limerick and Galway United, Oji returned to England to sign for Worcester City in the summer of 2016 and left when City dropped down from National North to the Midland Football League a year later.

After spending time as a player with City’s league rivals Highgate United he was appointed as assistant manager to new boss Simon Johnson this summer and held that post until his untimely passing.

You can donate to the fund set up in Sam Oji's memory here