John Browning, R.I.P
Horsham Football Club was saddened to lose another of its finest servants recently, with John Browning passing away peacefully at his Eastbourne home on 27th February.
Joining the club in 1948, John made a goalscoring debut as a nineteen year old in a 3-3 draw with East Grinstead on Christmas Eve 1949 and later revealed how privileged he felt at having played alongside many of those who had featured in the famous FA Cup tie with Notts County just two years earlier. Initially starting out as a winger before going on to become an assured defender in his later years, John made more than three hundred and seventy appearances for Horsham and was just one shy of registering a century of goals in a fourteen year career that saw him represent the club in the Sussex County, Metropolitan, and Corinthian Leagues. He scored in both the semi-final and final of the Sussex Senior Cup to finish with a winners’ medal at the end of his first season, and followed that up with a Royal Ulster Rifles Cup winners medal the following year – John scoring the club’s second goal in a 5-2 triumph over Haywards Heath.
John certainly had a knack for scoring on the big occasion and goes down in the record books as having scored the club’s first goal in the Metropolitan League and also netted one of our three goals against Haywards Heath that enabled Horsham to claim a Metropolitan League and Royal Ulster Rifles ‘double’. Unsurprisingly, his was one of the first names on the team sheet and John missed only a handful of matches over the course of the next five seasons. His final appearance came on 1st September 1962 when, then performing the role of assistant-secretary, he was persuaded to come out of ‘retirement’ for a Corinthian League match against Chesham United. John went on to become a valued committee member and was elected to the post of vice-chairman before reluctantly standing down when promotion at Brewers – for whom he worked for forty-five years – led him to relocate to Eastbourne.
A funeral service will be held at Eastbourne Crematorium, Hide Hollow, Langney, Eastbourne BN23 8AE on Friday 23rd March at 11.30am.