FAMILY and friends of Ryan Passey have been remembering the popular Stourbridge footballer on the anniversary of his tragic death.

The 24-year-old talented centre midfielder, who played for a host of borough clubs, was stabbed to death in Chicago’s nightspot on August 6 last year.

Twelve months on and the club has since vacated its Ryemarket spot - but pictures of Ryan continue to adorn the building; and to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing relatives and friends have been leaving floral tributes and candles at the scene once again.

Yesterday morning (Sunday) close family and friends released 25 balloons in his memory and his dad Ade Passey said he would be visiting the scene of his son’s tragic death once again this evening.

He told the News: “It’s been a difficult time this last three days. We knew it was always going to be difficult.”

In a moving tribute message on a banner placed at the scene Ryan’s heartbroken mum Gillian Taylor told how August 6 last year was the worst day of her life and how she still looks at the door hoping her son will walk back in and ask her what’s for dinner.

Family friend Jason Connon said: “It’s still raw. Ryan’s parents are broken. It’s painful seeing them suffer so much. It’s just as if it was the day it happened."

Mr Connon has been working with relatives and friends to campaign for justice for Ryan, who died after being stabbed in the chest by Dudley teenager Kobe Murray, who earlier this year was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter despite admitting he had inflicted the fatal wound.

Mr Murray was cleared of all charges but Ryan’s heartbroken friends and relatives believe the verdict was ‘perverse'.

They have gathered around 27,000 names on a petition calling for a change in the law to give families of the victims of serious crime the chance to appeal in cases of so-called 'perverse verdicts' where jurors have, contrary to evidence in presented in court, acquitted the defendant.

Meanwhile - West Midlands Police confirmed last month that officers were reviewing the case and Mr Connon said the family had also received word that the Attorney General would look into the case.

In addition - a host of Stourbridge pubs have now signed up to introduce knife wands on their doors in a bid to keep revellers safe.

A knife arch was installed at the Stourbridge Lion pub a few months ago and the River Rooms has also introduced the use of wands and Mr Connon said: “The Chequers, The Old Bank and Cock 'n' Bull Co have also confirmed they’re going to be introducing them.

“It’s something positive to come from this. We hope it will make it a little bit safer and that no other family will have to go through what Ryan’s family are going through.”