‘Inspirational’ football coach dies aged 28

Kieran Miller
Kieran Miller

Tributes have been flooding in following the death of a courageous young football coach.

Kieran Miller, who managed an under-nines team in Preston despite suffering from cystic fibrosis, died this week at the age of just 28.

Described as “truly inspirational” by his club Ribbleton FC, Kieran coached the Under-9 Black side and also ran girls’ sessions.

Club officials led the tributes to a young man who they said worked so hard to develop young football talent despite having severe health problems - he underwent a double lung transplant three years ago.

A club statement read: “It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of our U9 Black coach Kieran Miller.

“Kieran was a much loved and respected coach who was truly inspirational. Despite his illness, he had a smile for everyone and the heart of a lion.

“We are so proud that Kieran chose to coach and manage at Ribbleton. As well as managing his own team he ran our girls night and he also helped out at our development night. Whenever we needed help he was there and he loved our club so much.

“He will be sorely missed by all of his players, parents and fellow coaches. We send our condolences to his family, partner and friends.

“Breathe easy Kieran, we will never forget you. Forever Green Army.”

Last year, backing a Post campaign to get more people to register as organ donors, Kieran talked to us about his battle with the illness since the age of three and his subsequent transplant at the age of 25.

“Things got so bad, doctors told me I only had six months left to live,” he said at home in Dalby Close, Ribbleton.

“Before the transplant, I could not even have a bath or get dressed without help and being a 25-year-old lad at the time, that wasn’t nice.

“Not having to rely on oxygen to breathe made such a huge difference to my life.

“But I still feel very lucky as considering I was told I had six months to live, I have already had an extra 18 months.

“I am very grateful to my donor family as my double lung transplant has made a massive difference to me. Without it, I would not be here today.”

Within 18 hours of his death being announced the club’s Facebook page had almost 250 tributes from friends, colleagues and many of the other junior football clubs in the Preston area.

Ribbleton FC chairman Terry Clayton wrote: “Kieran you will be sadly missed by all at Ribbleton FC.

“You lived and breathed this club and you couldn’t do enough for us, and you didn’t even have a child at the club. A true example of how a kids football coach should be.

“You will never be forgotten by us, always smiling and it was a pleasure to have met and coached with you. It’s people like you that make this club the great club that it is.”

Craig Barlow posted: “Kieran was the nicest guy. Always had a laugh and a positive attitude.”

Donna Stonier said: “Grassroots will certainly miss him.”

Kirsty Bryson, wife of former PNE skipper Ian Bryson, wrote: “You will certainly be missed. The Bryson family.”

And Mark Whalley added: “RIP to a great man and an inspiration to grassroots football.”