A man assaulted outside a takeaway died from asphyxiation, post mortem results have revealed.
Detectives launched a murder probe following the death of Blackpool FC fan Barry Kirkham on Monday.
The 47-year-old was attacked outside Zeko’s takeaway on Park Road, St Annes, at around 11pm after attending the funeral of his friend John Chandler.
Police say post mortem results suggest Mr Kirkham was hit, fell to the ground, and banged his head, knocking him unconscious.
He then died of asphyxiation after choking.
A 32-year-old man, from St Annes, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, and a 45-year-old man, who was arrested on suspicion of assault, have now been released on police bail while the investigation continues.
Both men have been bailed until September 3 pending further inquiries.
It is believed Mr Kirkham, from St Annes, had got into a football-related argument prior to the assault.
But police today said the incident did not involve rival football clubs.
Det Supt Andy Murphy, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “There has been speculation in the community that a man was close to the scene chanting PNE with reference to Preston North End Football Club.
“I want to make it abundantly clear this person is not one of the people arrested and is in fact a local man who supports Blackpool.
“This incident is not as a result of rival fans clashing.”
Friends have described Mr Kirkham, who worked at Tesco on Kilnhouse Lane in St Annes, as a “gentle giant”.
A former colleague, Gabs Spaniels, posted on The Gazette’s Facebook page: “He was indeed a gentle giant – the most intelligent, clever, friendly larger than life gentleman.
“I had the honour of being Barry’s manager for almost five years.
“I employed him and he turned out to be the most reliable, trustworthy loyal member of staff I have had the pleasure and honour to work with.”
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