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.

 

Comments

  1. Duncan Green says:

    Real shame to hear this news, Pete was very influential in my early years of senior football firstly with Steyning and then signing for him at Horsham. RIP Boss!

  2. Geoff Ward says:

    Never had the pleasure of playing for Pete, but always saw him down The George pub in Worthing on a Sunday.
    He would always try and get me to
    Join Horsham in my early years of Senior football.
    RIP Pete xxx

  3. Tim Wheelhouse says:

    I am shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Peter, his enthusiasm was a breath of fresh air at the club ,
    I was the team physio and fitness coach , I always looked forward to his telephone calls to discuss fittness and general team matters.. He was a great man manager who got the best out of the team and made some unbelievable signings.
    My sincere condolences to his family at this very difficult time.

  4. Mark Dunk says:

    Very sad news Duncan text me yesterday and was shocked to hear that Peter had passed away .
    Was a football gentleman a really great guy always ready to help on and off the pitch .
    R I P Pete

    • Carol Yelf says:

      Thank you Mark for your lovely comments about Peter. I was Pete’s partner for the last few years and miss him horribly. He had a great passion for football right to the end. It was a privilege to be part of his life even though it was for such a short time. He will be sadly missed by many.

      • john says:

        Hello Carol, I didnt know Peter very well, but he always sat on the same table as me at the Amex, you will see a couple of notes below, but as the Albion’s Heritage Society Magazine editor I feel as a member we should mark his achievements .. If it isn’t too late is it possible to obtain an order of service.
        Thank you for any help
        John Wells

        john

        Albionse nohe r

  5. Lee Mobsby says:

    Rally Sad to hear the sad news of Peter passing away yesterday.
    A football gentleman & respected Sussex manager who kept the game simple & was more than happy for his team to just go out & play to there strengths. Made time to visit me @ home & kept in regular contact after my injury @ Wimborne
    R I P Pete

  6. Mark ‘Charlie’ Chaplin says:

    Really sad to hear the news of the passing of Pete. When Pete took over at Horsham he created great football environment and a great social environment. Great memories play off to stay in the league two games in two days and the fa cup run with Crawley at home.
    Always remember Pete saying let’s keep everything normal for the Crawley game then as we walk out Tina Turner’s Simply the best is pumping out the PA system😀
    RIP Pete ‘simply the best’

  7. ROD TAPP says:

    Top man, who certainly lit the fire of Horsham FC in the early 90’s. Following his difficult start, the saving grace was beating Letchworth in a 2 legged game, to avoid relegation and secure their place in the Isthmian league for the 1990/91 season. Progress continued and almost 3500 packed Town Mead Crawley in October 1991 for an FA CUP Replay. Although he could be a little feisty at times, he was an excellent Manager and it was a joy to be part of the Queen Street coaching set up. Very sad that he was taken so young and he will be missed by many. My condolences go out to his family and friends at this very difficult time.
    It was a pleasure to have known Peter
    RIP

  8. Clive Williams says:

    I can only echo all the previous comments. I was behind the bar during Peter’s time at the club and he always had time for a beer and a chat with a club full of supporters after the games. A genuine football man who also brought a few fabulous players to Queen street and I personally have nothing but good memories of his era.
    RIP pete.

  9. JOHN WELLS says:

    I have got to know Peter, through his friend Colin, both would join me on the table inside the door at the AMEX. Peter was also a member of the Albions Collectors & Historians , now the Heritage Society, and was always very complimentary about our Society magazine Albion Chronicle.
    Thank you for your comments, and friendship. John

  10. Daren Champion says:

    Real shame to hear the news about Pete, had some real great times with him at Horsham & Steyning. Top man and will be missed by all. RIP

  11. Neil Chartres says:

    So sad to read about the sudden passing of Peter Evans. I was on the Horsham FC committee when we played those two memorable games against Letchworth, and will never forget the great atmosphere at Queen Street for the 2nd Leg match, when a wonder goal was scored by Andy West. Overall I spent quite a lot of time with Peter whilst I was running the bar at Queen Street. Also I well remember the FA Cup matches against Crawley in 1991. RIP Peter.

  12. john Wells says:

    Hello further to my earlier post about Peter , as mentioned above I edit the Albion’s Heritage Society magazine Albion Chronicle. While we chatted pre-match at the Amex one day 2 or 3 years ago, he congratulated me on my efforts, especially as I have PARKINSONS, and then said he was a Society member but didn’t attend meetings. It was Colin that told me of his passing,
    but I would love to get hold of an order of SERVICE, has his funeral gone.
    I didnt know anything of his involvement and would like to put a piece in a future edition. If anyone can scan me one if it has happened, or is their a date.

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