Mansfield Town FC, the Chad and local football were in all shock today after learning of the sudden death of photographer Steve Uttley from a massive heart attack on Sunday night.
Steve, 58, of Mansfield, was a regular at Stags games for the Chad and even better known in Doncaster after his 14 years at the club as official Rovers photographer and media manager.
Carol Smith, his partner of six years, broke the tragic news on Facebook earlier today, writing: “I’m sorry to share that Steve, my partner for the last six years and best friend who I loved dearly, passed away very suddenly last night from a massive heart attack.
“His family and I are all devastated by his loss.”
Official Stags club photographer Chris Holloway, of Bluewheel Event Photography, was Steve’s regular pitchside companion at One Call Stadium and said today: “Steve and I would often joke how the players at Mansfield Town would run towards him rather than myself when they scored.
“I owe a lot of what I know today to Steve. He was a truly professional photographer and a real friend. He will be sadly missed.”
Regular Chad Stags photographer and multimedia images editor Marisa Cashill said: “That was such shocking and sad news today.
“Steve always approached every task with such professionalism.
“He went the extra mile to get great images. He was so enthusiastic about everything he set out to do and always keen to pass on his knowledge of the football photography business to anyone wanting to learn the trade.
“Steve managed to take some iconic images of Doncaster Rovers in the dressing room at Wembley celebrating their victory, along with being the exclusive photographer when Louis Tomlinson visited the Keepmoat Stadium.
“He was such a kind man and it has been a pleasure working with him. It is a great loss to the photography industry.
“My thoughts go out to his family, who should be proud of all Steve achieved.”
Johnstone Press North Midlands picture desk manager Brian Eyre said: “Since we started to use Steve for Mansfield games this season he has been professional and helpful and willing to try anything new we asked.
“He as also covered news including the general election and remembrance day parade. He will be sadly missed.”
Chad sports editor John Lomas said: “Steve texted me on Saturday morning about doing a stock picture of me in the press box before the Yeovil game.
“I let him know when I arrived and he came up and snapped the pix and swapped a few pleasantries before heading down to the pitch. I can’t believe that’s the last time I will ever see him. Lovely guy, what a shock.”
Steve’s facebook was also full of tributes today. They included:
Collette Duke: “Very sad to hear Steve Uttley died last night - a great man who served DRFC for many years and helped raise a lot of money for good causes along with adding his voice in support for people who where suffering. RIP Steve.”
Alexandra Parker: “So sad to hear of the passing of Steve Uttley. He was such a lovely man and very much adored by so many people in Doncaster. My love goes out to his family at this truly heartbreaking time.”
Maz Caley: “Absolute top bloke, shocked is not the word! The photog family looses one of its best. RIP Steve Uttley.”
Mick Largent: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the sad passing of Steve Uttley. A Rovers legend, a great photographer and more importantly a top bloke. Rest in peace pal.”
Chris Donald: “Devastated to hear the news of Steve Uttley passing away. Gave me my first chance in working in media and was always there for advice during my time at Rovers and afterwards. Was always happy to help anyone and had a great relationship with all Donny fans. My thoughts are with his family.”
Nick Lough: “Devastated to hear the news that my friend and photographer Steve Uttley has passed away. He was one of the most genuinely passionate men I’ve ever met in football, and tremendous with a camera. Rest in peace Steve, you’ll never be forgotten. #RIP.”
Katie Donald: “Such a shame to hear about Steve Uttley. Helped everyone he ever met, such a nice genuine man and he will be extremely missed. Thoughts are with his family.”
Steve, who also ran his own photography business, charted the rise of Doncaster from the Conference to the Championship before moving to Mansfield after a shake-up at Rovers.
He was part of the Doncaster Rovers team which conquered the Inca Trail in South America, joining players James Coppinger, James O’Connor and Mark Wilson for the gruelling expedition which raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Former Doncaster chairman John Ryan wrote on Facebook: “Sad news, lots of amazing memories with Steve Uttley at Doncaster Rovers. Our thoughts are with the Uttley family, our condolences. The man behind the lens, you will be missed.”
Click HERE to watch Steve talking about his golden years at Doncaster Rovers in this interview with Free Press sports writer Paul Goodwin from February 2015