Lost for words – former team-mates of Christian Mbulu mourn death of ex-Millwall centre-back

Tributes have been paid to the former Millwall, Motherwell and Crewe Alexandra defender who was found dead at his home today.

Police had this afternoon been called to the address at Cottam near Preston, with the death not being treated as suspicious.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We were called at around 1.30pm today (May 26) to an address on Greenfinch Avenue, Cottam, to reports of a sudden death.

“We attended and sadly found the body of a man aged in his 20s.

“There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a file will be passed to the coroner in due course.”

Lions midfielder Ben Thompson tweeted: “Lost for words. RIP brother.”

Wide man Jed Wallace added: “So shocked tonight. Honestly just one of the most polite & humble lads I’ve met in football. Unbelievably sad news today. You’re going to be missed by so many Christian. RIP my friend. Life isn’t fair!”

Alfie Pavey, another ex-Lion now at Barnet, said: “Today we lost a friend who brought so much light onto peoples life, A guy who would go to war for any of his team mates, a friend anyone could ask for. I am sending my love & support to your family at this difficult time. You will be missed my friend RIP brother love ya #Mbulu”

Millwall academy director Scott Fitzgerald said: “This is truly shocking and tragic news and our hearts go out to Christian’s family and friends.

“Christian was incredibly popular with team-mates and staff alike during his time here and looked set for a very bright and successful future in the game. He was thoroughly professional, hard-working and courteous and remained in close contact with many people within the club.

“All of us have so many fond memories of Christian from his time with Millwall and it had been so encouraging to follow his progress and development as a player from afar. We are truly shocked and saddened by this horrific news.”

Den chief executive Steve Kavanagh added: “Everyone at Millwall would like to send sincere condolences to Christian’s family and friends at this immensely difficult time.

“I cannot begin to imagine just what they are going through at the moment but we will offer every bit of support that we can.”

Mbulu began his senior career aged 17 at non-League Brentwood Town in the 2013–14 season. He played a total of 72 games across two seasons including a play-off winning 2014–15 campaign of the Isthmian League North. He was watched by Dagenham & Redbridge and Norwich.

Mbulu signed his first professional contract for Millwall on his 19th birthday, 6 August 2015.During his time at The Den he was also watched by Chelsea, Swansea and Watford and Crystal Palace but the Lions released him in 2018.

Mbulu signed a one-year contract with Motherwel and in October 2018, was named as Player of the Round for the third round of the Scottish Challenge Cup after scoring to help Motherwell’s under-21 side to a 2–0 win against Sligo Rangers.

Mbulu made his league debut for Motherwell on 11 November, when he came on as a second-half substitute in the 77th minute of a game against Rangers at Ibrox. On 9 December, two Hearts supporters were arrested on suspicion of racially abusing Mbulu during a match at Tyncastle. On 21 May 2019, Motherwell confirmed that Mbulu would be released at the end of his contract on 31 May 2019.

Mbulu signed a short-term contract with Crewe but was released at the end of it on 24 January 2020.

He joined Morecambe on a deal until the end of the season. His last game was as a 20-minute sub for Morecambe in a 1-1 League Two draw with Mansfield.

 Motherwell paid tribute to their ‘friendly and pleasant’ former player.

A club statement read: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Christian Mbulu, a former player at the club.

“Christian was with us in the 2018/19 season, making six first team appearances and a further three for our Under 20s in the Challenge Cup.

“Twenty-three years old, he left Fir Park in May 2019 and went on to play in England with Crewe Alexandra and then Morecambe”

Fir Park chairman Jim McMahon added: “We are shocked to hear of the news of Christian’s death.

“He was such a friendly, pleasant young man who we loved having around Fir Park.

“Our thoughts are with his family during this incredibly difficult time. We hope their privacy is respected by everyone as they try to come to terms with their loss.”

Fans paid their respects – for example @amomentinsport tweeted: “I am in shock, taken so young. Christian was the first person to send his condolences to me when my dad passed four weeks ago, such a nice guy. RIP Christian.”

 


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