Family awaits answers over England fan’s death in Buglaria
Robert Spray, 32, was in Sofia for the Euro 2020 qualifier when he died.
The family of an England supporter who died in Bulgaria last week are still waiting to be told the circumstances of his death.
Robert Spray, a 32-year-old West Brom fan from Heath Hayes in Cannock, Staffordshire, was in Sofia for the Euro 2020 qualifier celebrating his best friend’s 30th birthday.
Bulgaria’s Ministry of Interior said on October 14, the day of Mr Spray’s death, that he was acting “aggressively, raging and threatening” when he was discovered.
Bulgarian authorities said Mr Spray, who worked as a HGV driver, was found “in a helpless condition in the city centre” at 10am and taken to Pirogov Hospital.
His body has still not been repatriated.
Mr Spray’s sister Katie Brown said his phone suggested he was found a nine-minute walk away from the flat where he was staying.
She claimed his device last tracked him at a McDonald’s restaurant.
“As a family we just want answers,” said Ms Brown. “You don’t expect your brother to go to his first England game and never return.
“He was Albion through and through. He was a gentle giant who knew everything about football and loved life.”
A petition to debate the matter in Parliament has so far attracted 10,000 signatures.
Ms Brown has an appointment with her MP, Amanda Milling, on Friday afternoon to decide the next step.
Mr Spray travelled to Bulgaria as part of a group of 11 friends including childhood friend Andrew McMath, who organised the trip for his own 30th birthday celebrations.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr McMath said his friend had been dismissed as a “hooligan” following his death and that suggestions Mr Spray was using drugs were being used to avoid other explanations.
He said: “Rob wasn’t taking any drugs. There were no drugs. The whole trip, I’ve not seen him try to get hold of or use any drugs. It just feels like an easy thing to say.”
Mr McMath said Mr Spray left their hotel room on Monday morning, as his friends assumed he was intending to buy food or cigarettes.
His friends later saw reports on social media that a 32-year-old had been taken to hospital before being informed Mr Spray had died.