Kieran FEST 2015

In memory of Kieran...

13 April 1994 - 16 January 2013

from Andrew Mcintyre, FC Bluestar

I shouldn't have to write this. No one should have to. But someone has to record the absolute tragedy that is the death of Kieran Crump Raiswell, one of the loveliest boys to ever play for our club.

On Wednesday 16 January, at 2.20pm, Kieran was walking along the street, not too far from his home, when he was stabbed to death in a brutal, unprovoked attack. He was just 18 years old.

They are the cold facts that you'll read in the newspaper. But that tells you nothing about Kieran and who he was to us. Maybe all violent deaths are senseless, but to anyone who knew him, Kieran's death is totally incomprehensible. He was the most gentle boy, shy until you got to know him, growing up into a thoughtful and caring young man, liked and loved by all who knew him and with a bright future ahead.

I was Kieran's football coach from the age of 11, but as a family friend, I'd known him since he was born. My son, Joe, is the same age and I have a photo of the two of them, a few months old, wriggling on a baby mat.

Another picture shows them at Joe's 2nd birthday party standing over the cake, blowing out the candles; two innocent little boys full of excitement.

They'd spend hours and hours playing football on our driveway, trying out their emerging tricks and skills, faithfully keeping the score, breaking for orange squash when it was 73-71 and going back out for more. First one to 100 wins! Kieran was a lovely friend to Joe and we can't believe he's gone.

For all his gentleness, Kieran was a competitor on the football pitch. He had a quiet confidence in himself, and was a gifted forward, happy to take on and beat the last defender, knowing exactly what he wanted to do with the ball. Watching Kieran, you could see he had real composure, a calm stillness on the ball, never panicking amongst the screams and yells of the penalty area, always backing his own ability, always giving himself the time and space he needed to score.

Many is the time his team-mates (and, I admit, his manager) would see him under pressure and be urging him to pass it, only for Kieran to pull one of the tricksy turns he practiced with Joe on the driveway, or somehow seemingly 'drift' past an opponent (how did he do that?) and calmly slot the ball into the net.

And never once a showy celebration, just a little pleased smile lighting up his face as he walked back to the half way line. I'd like to think that, as his coach, I helped Kieran along the way and I know he thrived in the positive ethos at FC Bluestar, but he was still surprising me at U18s level with things I didn't know he could do and that I wouldn't begin to know how to teach him.

Writing this, I'm remembering all kinds of fun things Kieran did with his FC Bluestar team mates; outdoor adventuring in Wales, rope climbing in Gorton and our fabulous trip to Germany. But I especially remember one late-night football quiz, which all the boys fancied themselves to win, but in which Kieran (in league with team mates Joe and Tom Smart), got every single question right. Intrigued, the rest of the team took turns to bombard them with more and more obscure and difficult questions but no one could catch them out. Serious trivia kings!

Kieran, with a handful of his original U11s team mates was inducted into FC Bluestar’s new Hall of Fame last July with a trophy recognising that they'd stuck with their team all the way through the club to U18s. The citation read:

“Completely comfortable on the ball and with the confidence and skill to take on, ghost past, and unlock opposition defences. He‘s scored well over 100 goals and unselfishly made countless more for his team mates.”

Kieran loved his football. Indoctrinated at an early age by his parents' passion for Crewe Alex and Chester City respectively, he became a fervent blue, passionately following Manchester City's rise. He got to see them win the Premiership.

Kieran was a clever boy and, typically for him, he studied hard for his coaching badge and began to coach and encourage younger children. That's who he was. As his coach, I feel more proud of that than of any of the countless goals he scored for us.

After 'A' Levels, he'd just spent the first part of his gap year coaching children's soccer in the USA and was looking forward to starting University in Sheffield this autumn. My son, Joe, was hoping to join him there.

Kieran's loving and supportive family, his mum Christine, dad Roland, sister Anna and brother Paddy have lost a child and big brother. I can't begin to imagine their pain. I just want them to know that we are all devastated by Kieran's death, that we are all thinking of them and that we will be remembering the joy that Kieran brought into all our lives.

FC Bluestar players will be remembering Kieran's in our next round of matches. We will be setting up a more permanent memorial to him later in the season.
Kieran remains a role model for all FC Bluestar players. He was special and we will miss him terribly.

FC Bluestar

17 January 2013
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Kieran was a gentle, lovely boy...

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Joe and Kieran blow out 2nd Birthday candles

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A huge City fan!

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Kieran and Joe in our U11s team photo