Former Brighton stars turn out for match in memory of John Shepherd

A number of former Brighton and Southwick stars were in action this afternoon for a match in memory of ex-Albion striker John Shepherd.

Sunday, 16th September 2018, 9:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th September 2018, 1:18 pm
The Brighton team line-up before this afternoon's match at Southwick.

A former Seagulls XI took on a team made up of ex-Southwick players at Old Barn Way.

John began his professional career at Millwall in 1952, before he spent time with Brighton and Gillingham, and then joined Southwick in 1964.

He became Wickers' player-manager in 1965 and led the club to win the Sussex Senior Cup and the Sussex County League Division One title. John later returned to Southwick as joint manager, with one of his son's, Dom.

He also helped set up Brighton's first ever youth team, with Mick Fogden and former Albion boss Alan Mullery.

A crowd of around 350 turned out to support the game this afternoon, after John died in June. The match was in aid of Parkinson's UK.

Fogden and Tony Dineen managed the Brighton team, which included Steve Foster, John Byrne, Paul Rogers, Ian Chapman, Charlie Oatway, Stuart Tuck and Adam Hinshelwood.

Former Seagulls stars Dean Wilkins and Chris Ramsey were also in attendance, along with ex-Albion chairman Dick Knight.

Southwick's team was managed by Tony Gratwicke, with Mark Burt, Gareth Green, Graham Martin, Jason Tighe and Mick Rowe-Hurst among those who played.

Before the match kicked-off, the John Shepherd Stand was officially unveiled at Old Barn Way by Sussex FA chairman Mathew Major and Sussex FA board member Tony Kybett.

The match finished 4-4, as Albion fought back from 4-1 down at half-time. Dom Shepherd was among the scorers for Brighton - netting against his son, Lewis.

Two of John's grandsons, Dan Porter and Greg Ryan, were both on target for Southwick.

In the matchday programme, a number of tributes were paid to John, who was a popular figure during his time with both Albion and Southwick.

Former Brighton player and manager Dean Wilkins said: "John was one of those guys, who, when you met for the first time, you formed an instant bond with.

"We had many conversations in the players' lounge after I'd played. I really enjoyed the advice he offered because of the level of individual detail. John got me thinking about my game and I'd take that advice into the following week's training.

"John had a way of putting things across that was totally engaging. A kind hearted lovely man.

"My thoughts are with his whole family during this difficult period."

Gary Stevens, who played for Brighton from 1979 to 1983, wrote: "Many people played an important part in my football career and John Shepherd was certainly among them.

"To understand how influential John was, I include the following, amongst a few others, in that very same catgeory; my father, Alan Mullery and Sir Bobby Robson."

He went on to add: "John regularly offered advice, encouragement and support when I moved into the Seagulls first team and likewise when I transferred to Spurs and playing for England.

He always had my best interests at heart, one of his great qualities as a man."

Gerry Offen, who was a member of John's Southwick team who won the Sussex Senior Cup, said: "John got us playing some great football. He was a great man and a good friend. I will never forget that night."