Popular former Brighton striker dies aged 86

John Shepherd, pictured during his time as joint manager of Southwick in 2008
John Shepherd, pictured during his time as joint manager of Southwick in 2008

Fans' favourite former Albion forward John Shepherd died aged 86 earlier this month after a battle with illness.

Born in South Kensington, John played for Millwall, Brighton and Gillingham during his professional career after serving in the RAF.

He was a popular figure with Seagulls supporters as he scored 18 goals in 36 league appearances in his first season, and in total spent almost 30 years with the club as a player, coach and scout.

He worked under the likes of Alan Mullery, Brian Clough and Jimmy Melia at Albion and in 2014 was presented with an award from the Sussex FA to recognise his services to Sussex football.

Locally, John enjoyed a successful time as player-manager of Southwick in the mid-1960s. He guided the club to the Sussex League Division 2 title and a 5-3 victory over hot favourites Horsham in the Sussex Senior Cup at the Goldstone Ground in 1968, then Wickers lifted the Division 1 championship the following season and also won the league cup during his time in charge.

John also spent time as manager of Lancing and Sussex, before he had two spells back at Southwick as joint manager with his son, Dominic.

Southwick will be naming their main stand in memory of John, who leaves wife Esther, sons John and Dominic and daughters Linda and Julie, who wrote a book about John called ‘In and out of the Lion’s Den: poverty, war and football’ in 2013, and also 12 grandchildren.

John’s funeral will take place on Monday at All Saints Church, The Drive, Hove, at 1pm.

It will be followed by a private family burial at Hove Cemetery and a reception in the iTalk Lounge at the Amex from 2.15pm.

All of John’s friends are welcome to attend. Family flowers only but donations in his memory can be made to Parkinson’s UK Research via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-shepherd32