A father-of-three has been left fighting for his life after a ‘sickening’ attack involving football fans in Southend.
Simon Dobbin, 41, is in a coma on a life-support machine at the Royal London Hospital, where he was taken after he and a friend were ‘jumped on’ and he was ‘used like a football’ by the group near the Railway pub at around 7.20pm on Saturday.
His wife, Nicole Dobbin, hit out at the ‘thugs’ responsible for her husband’s injuries.
“The people that did it were just thugs. To think that someone could do that to someone else is sickening,” she said.
“There were no defensive injuries to his hands, so he didn’t even try to defend himself. He didn’t stand a chance.
“There is quite a possibility he has a level of brain damage, but we won’t know until he wakes up.
“It is early days, but we’re just holding on to everything he does as a positive sign.”
In the wake of the brutal attack, a family friend has organised a fund-raising football match this Sunday and an online appeal for donations has raised more than £7,000.
Mrs Dobbin said the amount of community support was ‘unbelievable’.
“Simon means the world to thousands, he would be devastated to be missing all this. It’s really hard for all of us as a family, but I’m lucky to have them around me,” she said.
Daniel Herrera, who played football with Mr Dobbin, has organised a charity football match at Mildenhall Town Football Club on Sunday.
Gates open at noon for a 1pm kick-off, and Mr Herrera is encouraging attendees to make donations for Mr Dobbin and his family.
“They are a lovely family, very gentle and caring, and I want to do everything I can to support them,” he said.
“The whole of Mildenhall has got together on this and it is fantastic.”
Fellow Cambridge United fans have set up an online donations page for the family.
Jim Faley, Simon’s father-in-law, said he was ‘used like a football’ during the assault.
“We are all hoping, but we are not 100 per cent sure. Even if he comes out in a wheelchair, at least he will still be with us,” he said.
A police spokesman said they were called to East Street following reports that around 15 football supporters were fighting near the pub.
A 33-year-old man from Southend and a 23-year-old man from Westcliff arrested on suspicion of GBH have been bailed until May 27.
A 47-year-old man from Cambridge arrested on suspicion of criminal damage has received a police caution.