Horsham Football Club was saddened to learn of the passing of our former manager Peter Evans, earlier today, following a long illness.
Peter first came to the attention of the Horsham hierarchy when he led County League side Steyning Town to a successful Sussex Senior Cup Final appearance in 1989, knocking the Hornets out in the process, leading to his appointment as Horsham’s first team manager in January 1990.
His arrival came during a turbulent time for the club, with Peter becoming the fourth such appointment at Queen Street in just over fourteen months. Inheriting a squad with a dismal record of just four points from 23 games, Peter’s primary task was to bring about an upturn in fortunes that might steer them away from the prospect of demotion to the County League.
Despite overseeing some improved performances, it was not enough to prevent the Hornets from finishing rock bottom of the Division Two (South) table, resulting in a two-legged play-off with Letchworth Garden City to retain their Isthmian League Status. Played over the course of two successive nights, the Hornets won both matches to condemn their opponents to relegation from which they never recovered, folding in 2002. There but for the grace of God…….!
Over the course of the next two seasons, Peter took the club first to mid-table security and then a fifth place finish, just one shy of promotion, as well as leading the Hornets to two memorable FA Cup 4th qualifying round ties against Crawley Town, the first time the club had reached that stage of the competition since 1977.
A lifelong fan of Brighton & Hove Albion, on whose matches he occasionally guested as summariser on local radio, Peter was responsible for bringing in several talented players who would go on to earn their own place in Hornets’ folklore; Duncan Green, Mark Dunk, Phil Somers, Russell Gunn, John Walters, Paul Crimmen, Wayne Wren and Dave Clark to name but a few.
Without doubt, Peter Evans’ contribution to Horsham Football Club cannot be understated. After several years in the doldrums, he helped put the club back on an even keel and paved the way for future managers to take us on to further heights.
Peter will be sadly missed by the club and by all who knew him. We extend our sincerest condolences to Peter’s family and friends at this sad time.
Pictured: An ecstatic Peter Evans (centre, grey jacket) celebrates with his players following the Hornets’ play-off victory over Letchworth Garden City in May 1990.
We would invite supporters and former players to leave their own tributes in the comments box below.