FOOTBALL fan Simon Dobbin has passed away five years after a horrific attack at a Southend United game.

Simon’s loving wife Nicole and fans across the country paid tribute to the 48-year-old, who wasn’t able to walk or talk after the attack in 2015.

Mr Dobbin was attacked in East Street, Southend, on March 21, 2015, after watching his beloved Cambridge United take on the Blues at Roots Hall.

Simon had been supporting his team against the Blues and was enjoying a drink with friends in the Blue Boar pub following the 0-0 draw.

Nicole, who became his full time carer, told the Echo she “hopes his attackers live with this guilt everyday for the rest of their lives.”

Mrs Dobbin revealed how Simon had been laughing with his 19-year-old daughter Emily, who had returned to their Mildenhall home from St George’s university just days before his passing.

She said: “The attackers have got what they wanted. He’s gone now. They’re responsible for this.

“They destroyed his life and ours. He was 48, he should have been in the prime of his life.

“I just can’t believe it.

“I’m just feeling so numb, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.

“He usually wakes me up in the night but he didn’t on Tuesday night.

“I went into his room to give him his medication in the morning, I turned the ensuite light on and he’d gone.

“We’re going to spend some “time with friends and family at the moment while we get used to what’s happened.

“He was laughing with me before he went to sleep.”

A total of 13 Southend United fans were eventually convicted of playing a part in the incident, which left him unable to walk or talk.

Nicole launched a campaign for violent criminals to be forced to pay a contribution towards the care of their victims for the rest of their lives.

Her campaign saw her meet Robert Butland, the Justice Secretary, in a bid to get the law passed.

She called for those found guilty of a violent disorder offence, to pay a percentage of earnings - through employment or benefits - to the NHS for the rest of their lives.

Simon’s attackers were all charged with violent disorder, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, instead of a charge of causing grievous bodily harm or attempted murder.

Judge Ian Pugh called the assault on Simon a “vicious and sustained attack on a defenceless man.”

Simon spent a year in hospital following the attack.

Cambridge United, who confirmed Simon’s passing on Wednesday afternoon, paid tribute to the beloved U’s fan, adding: “It is with a heavy heart that Cambridge United can confirm we have received the devastating news that Simon Dobbin sadly passed away at home this morning.

“Sweet dreams Simon. Forever a U.

“The thoughts of everybody at Cambridge United are with his wife Nicole, daughter Emily and his closest family & friends.

“We ask supporters to leave their messages of condolence for Simon’s family at this difficult time.

“Rest in peace Simon.”

Southend United also paid tribute to Simon. The Blues said: “Rest in Peace Simon.

“The thoughts of everyone at Southend United are with Simon’s family and friends.”

The family appeared on DIY SOS in January 2019 to turn their house into a suitable place for Simon to live.

The build included a downstairs extension, a bedroom, physio space, wet room and social space for Simon, and the family moved out of the home while the build was taking place.

The DIY SOS team also added CCTV and a monitor in Simon’s room.