A POPULAR football coach’s family said they were “absolutely terrified” when it was confirmed he had contracted coronavirus.

Dedicated Albion fan Steven Nye, from Hove, is now in intensive care at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital.

The 67-year-old is well known across the city for his role as the fixtures secretary for Sussex FA as well as formerly being the coach of youth teams in Rottingdean and Preston Dynamos FC.

His son, Matthew, said family members became concerned when Steven developed a high temperature on Saturday, March 14.

The 39-year-old said: “He was a bit confused, not his usual self. We contacted NHS 111 and they sent an ambulance to get him.

“After they checked him over they took him straight to A&E, to a special coronavirus ward. He was struggling to breathe and still very confused, not eating or drinking.”

Matthew said matters are made worse because the family cannot visit Steven to see how he is.

Matthew said: “It was absolutely terrifying, the whole family was worried sick.

“It was hard not being able to see him or our mum, who has had to self-isolate because she was with him before he became ill, to check that they are OK.

“We are also self-isolating.

“It’s hard because you are not doing anything during the days, so there is nothing to distract yourself with.”

Matthew said nurses have been “astonished” by Steven’s ability to combat the illness.

He said: “He is still not allowed any visitors but his oxygen levels have been brought down and there have been discussions about transferring him to a high dependency unit. It’s just a case of waiting to see what happens and hoping he keeps on fighting now.”

Matthew said his father “is a really friendly guy who always has time for everyone and seems to know everybody”.

True to form, the ever-sprightly Steven has been keeping friends updated through a series of selfies on social media.

The Albion season ticket holder has also let the nurses know of his love of the Seagulls.

Matthew said: “He has been a fan for years. He never misses a home game and makes away games when he can.

“It’s the highlight of his week, all he talks about is football.

“Even now, the little energy he has is used to talk about football. The nurses have definitely noticed.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal.  Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund