The club is sad to announce that our former player, manager and life member John Marchant has passed away at the age of 85.
John was born in Brighton and grew up in Whitehawk Avenue. He lived locally until very recently, when ill health resulted in him moving to Durham to be with his family.
John was intending to record a video of himself in a Hawks shirt for our National Non-League Day celebration this Saturday to mark John Rosenblatt’s 50+ years as club secretary, before time caught up with him.
John made his first team debut at right back against Littlehampton Town in 1960 and shared the berth with Reg Banks in a team that dominated Sussex football for the next three years. John is pictured with the team from that era at the top of the page celebrating the treble in 1962 [back row, fourth from the left]. Other players from that side moved on but John’s dedication to the Hawks remained, playing every game in the 67-68 season, when we won the Division 2 title after our first ever relegation.
After former Albion player Jack Bertolini quit in 1971 just after the start of the season, John was given the first team manager’s job and took the side to the Sussex Senior Cup final in 1972 before handing over to John Booth in 1973. He took over the first team reigns again with Ken Longhurst in 1974, before Ray Allcorn succeeded them in 1975.
[Left: preparing for the 1972 season with his squad in the main stand]
John was a genial man, who always had time for others. “A good coach, who could get his point across with humour”, is how former player John Ansbro, remembers him. John Marchant was awarded life membership of the club in 1993.
John’s family are planning to hold a commemoration for him at the Enclosed Ground in the near future. There will be a minute’s applause in his memory at tomorrow’s game with Cray Valley PM.
John was last at the Enclosed Ground on National Non-League Day in 2018 – pictured here in a cap talking to the late Ken Carter.