Tributes pour in for life-long Pool fan

Keith Griffiths at the 2010 play-off final with (left to right) grandaughter Clare Tomlinson, wife Shelia, granddaughter Louise Tomlinson and youngest daughter Sarah Robinson

Keith Griffiths at the 2010 play-off final with (left to right) grandaughter Clare Tomlinson, wife Shelia, granddaughter Louise Tomlinson and youngest daughter Sarah Robinson

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WIN it for Keith.

That was the message from the Blackpool family of lifelong Seasiders fan Keith Griffiths, who tragically died during Pool’s first leg play-off win against Birmingham on Friday.

And his loved ones today urged the team to make it through the second leg in the Midlands on Wednesday and on to the Wembley final as a tribute to the 76-year-old, who died after suffering a heart attack in the stands in the first half of the semi-final game.

Since his death tributes have poured in from fellow Blackpool fans, with many saying the tragedy took the gloss of Pool’s victory.

But Mr Griffiths’ family want to thank all those who fought valiantly to save his life – and urge the team to get the promotion he wanted them to.

Seasiders manager Ian Holloway has passed his condolences to the family.

Mr Griffiths’ daughter Michelle Tomlinson, who was at the game with her father, said: “While my dad was receiving treatment in the tunnel the players came past at half-time and Ollie went into the changing rooms and then came back out and put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘keep me informed’. No other manager would do that and it was comfort for me.

“The family want to thank the medics and stewards at Blackpool Football Club who rushed to help him, everyone who was there on Friday night was fantastic.

“The fans have been fantastic too, everybody is shocked but we want to thank everyone who has put comments online on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook and on The Gazette.”

Mr Griffiths, a retired policeman from Bispham, had supported Blackpool since 1953 and had been a season ticket holder at Bloomfield Road since 1984.

Mrs Tomlinson said he brought his three daughters and three grandchildren up as Pool fans – and managed to convince his wife of 52 years, Sheila, to accompany him to the play-off final at Wembley back in 2010.

And on Wednesday night the whole family are planning to head to Uncle Tom’s Cabin at Gynn Square – where Mr Griffiths had been planning to watch the second-leg against Birmingham City – to pay tribute to him.

Mrs Tomlinson, 50, added: “My dad was a caring family man who loved his family first and Blackpool FC second. He loved people and didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody.

“He worked in Blackpool for 30 years as a policeman and he was loyal to his town.

“We are all going to watch the second leg because that’s where my dad and my sister, Sarah, would have been anyway, and I think my mum is going to come too.

“Fingers crossed they can win and we can go down to Wembley. It cost him a fortune to take us all last time and we have to get there now for my dad, I think there will be a few more family members clamouring to come too as a tribute to him.”

The family is asking that any donations in Mr Griffiths’ name be made to Brian House Children’s Hospice via www.justgiving.com/blackpoolfan.

The Seasiders won the first leg 1-0 and will take on Birmingham City in the second leg, away, on Wednesday.