A FOOTBALLER suffered serious head injuries when he was attacked in Middlewich, just two weeks after helping his side lift their first trophy.

Stuart Tulloch, player/coach for 1874 Northwich, suffered a fractured skull, a bleed to the brain and bruising in the assault, which happened in Wheelock Street, near Rowlands Pharmacy, at around 1.30am on Saturday, April 30.

The 34-year-old, from Middlewich, was taken Leighton Hospital then transferred to North Staffordshire Hospital, where his condition was described as stable.

Stuart is getting married on July 9 and was due to go on his stag weekend in Berlin this weekend with a group of 32 friends and family.

His dad David said: "He's not in a life or death situation at the moment but he is very very poorly.

"It's horrendous what's happened, I never expected my son to be lying in a hospital bed at the age of 34.

"He's my best mate as well as my son.

"His girlfriend is distraught, the whole family is – he's a big player in all our lives."

Stuart has played for a number of mid Cheshire football clubs, including Winsford United, Witton Albion, Middlewich Town, Barnton and Rudheath Social.

On April 18, his team 1874 Northwich won the Mid-Cheshire District FA Senior Cup final against Witton Albion.

David, who runs Tullochs Private Hire, in Middlewich, said: "He's gone from that to this in the space of a fortnight."

Paul Stockton, 1874 Northwich chairman, said: "We wish him all the very best and are thinking of him.

"He will be missed now but hopefully he will make a speedy recovery and be able to take up his position again in the new season."

David thanked the people of Middlewich for all their support.

"The amount of love and affection we have had through the phone, just from people we know, and the amount of people that have offered to help is amazing," he said.

"They've reinstated my faith in human nature and I was beginning to lose that.

"I want to thank all the good people of Middlewich that have supported us."

He also appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

"The police need to put your piece in that puzzle that will create the picture to solve the crime," he said.

"It doesn't matter how big or small people think their puzzle piece is, they have got to come forward."

Investigating Officer DC Lyndsey Burton, from Crewe CID, said: "This investigation is ongoing and we are currently following a number of lines of enquiry.

"As part of the investigation I am keen speak to anyone who was in the Wheelock Street area at the time of the incident and believes that they have any information that could assist our investigation."

Anyone with any information should ring Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 67 of 30/5/16, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A 24-year-old man from Stoke has been arrested in relation to the incident.

He has been released on bail until May 27.