THE shocking death of popular Black Country footballer Ryan Passey who was stabbed and killed while at a Stourbridge nightspot has left friends and family heartbroken and the community questioning ‘what is happening to our town?’

Floral tributes, football club scarves and momentos have continued to mount up outside Chicago’s in the Ryemarket where the 24-year-old was fatally stabbed in the chest in the early hours of Sunday (August 6).

Relatives, friends, colleagues and people across the town have been struggling to come to terms with the brutal and untimely death of the likeable young Wren’s Nest FC footballer who had played for a host of clubs across the Dudley borough including Stourbridge FC’s youth team when he was a teenager.

In a statement - Ryan's devastated parents Ada Passey, aged 54, and Gill Taylor, aged 51, said: “Ryan has been taken from us all, so suddenly, our hearts are broken. We are pulling together as a family and taking each day as it comes."

They told how their “lovely son” had been working hard to build up his window cleaning business and was getting ready to buy his first home – and they said: "We are both so very proud that Ryan (pictured below) grew to be a confident, humble, grounded, fun-loving young man.

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"We have received so many messages and cards from so many of his friends - and would like to thank them all.”

Borough football clubs have rushed to pay tribute to the star centre midfielder who will be honoured at matches this weekend.

Dudley Town players will be wearing black armbands this Saturday (August 11) and a minute’s silence will be held before Team Dudley FC’s home game against Bromyard Town kicks off on Saturday (August 12) at 3pm.

Ryan, a former Thorns Community College student who lived in Stockwell Avenue, Quarry Bank, will also be remembered on the cover of this Saturday's matchday programme.

A minute's silence will also be held outside Chicago's in Stourbridge on Sunday at midday.

Ryemarket centre manager Kelley Dyas said: "The silence will be held throughout the shopping centre and members of the public are asked to respect the sign of remembrance.

"We would like to take this opportunity to offer our sincere condolences to Ryan’s friends and family. Our thoughts are with them at this incredibly sad time."

Meanwhile - Chicago's will remain closed for two weeks following the tragedy.

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A spokesman for the bar said: “We are all devastated and shocked by the tragic death of Ryan Passey last weekend in what appeared to be an unprovoked attacked. We did everything possible to try to save him, as did the paramedics who were on the scene in minutes.

"Following a meeting with local authorities and, as a mark of respect to the family, we have decided to close for a two-week period.

"We are proud to be part of the fabric of Stourbridge and have never experienced anything like this in our community before."

She said Chicago's would continue to work with police to help ensure justice is done "so people can enjoy a safe night out in our town".

Meanwhile - Stourbridge MP Margot James has said she was "as shocked as everyone else in Stourbridge to hear about the senseless killing" and she added: "As a community we must stand up to the scourge of knife crime and make sure Ryan does not die in vain, in spite of the tragically young age at which his life was so brutally taken from him."

Her comments prompted a social media debate about the town’s bars and the rise in knife crime.

One poster, Fizarn Adris, said: “Knife Crime is a huge problem within our society. Especially, amongst young people.

“It's great that Amber Rudd has announced a ban on knifes being delivered to homes. This ban, could decrease the level of knife attacks across Britain.”

Neil Jones said of Stourbridge’s late night bar scene: “With so many bars and clubs there used to be a big police presence. Now there is nothing. Stourbridge police station has gone. Security can't manage.

Jan Williams said: “These clubs need shutting down, they have ruined Stourbridge, when I moved here in 1984 it was a lovely market town, now it is a dump, the pavements are filthy, so very saddened for the Passey family, so tragic, RIP Ryan, I truly hope that justice is done for you, your family and friends xx.”

Sonia Bowen added: “ I don't recognise our lovely market town anymore…”

While Aliki Jones said: “Times have changed for the worse. Stourbridge used to be a nice place.”

Another poster, Gray Hound Hand, simply said: “What is happening to our town?”

The police investigation into Ryan's death continues but a 19-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with murder.

Kobe Murray, from The Broadway, Dudley, appeared in Birmingham Magistrates Court on Tuesday and is due to appear at Birmingham Crown Court tomorrow (Thursday).

Two other 19-year-old men who were arrested have since been released without charge.

The tragedy in which Ryan lost his life was one of two stabbings in less than 48 hours to rock the Stourbridge community.

A woman was stabbed multiple times in what's believed to be a domestic incident in Providence Street in Lye on Monday.

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The injured woman, thought to be in her 20s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries - while a man, who it is believed tried to intervene in the attack, was also taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Gheorghe Mihai, aged 37, of Park Street, was arrested and has since been charged with attempted murder and attempted GBH and was due in Dudley Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday).

Witnesses to the stabbing of Ryan Passey who have not yet spoken to the police are urged to call West Midlands Police’s homicide team on the 101 number (ext 963 3202) quoting log 149 of 6 August.