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Absent Friends

The club has created this section of the website to remember those closely connected to the club who sadly have passed away since March 2020; lockdowns and restrictions on those visiting the club due to the terrible Coronavirus pandemic have sometimes meant that we were not always able to remember them in the traditional way.  It is felt appropriate to continue this page to honour those who are no longer with us but are now in a higher place with another family of Angels. 

All those mentioned below are sadly missed irrespective of the era in which they were associated with the club, and sincere condolences are sent to families and friends concerned.

Richard Selling (March 2020) Richard was a long standing supporter of the Angels and a former referee. In recent years he had shown his commitment to the club by becoming a season ticket holder and an owner. 

Billy Wright (April 2020) Member of the 1963-64 promotion winning squad.  

Billy joined Tonbridge FC during the summer of  1962 from Millwall and was to enjoy three seasons at The Angel Ground making 145 appearances and scoring 37 goals - not a bad return for a left winger.  In season 1963/64 he was part of the squad that earned promotion from the Southern League Southern Division to the Premier, at the time a top tier of non-league competition. 

His earlier football career saw him start out at Blackpool in 1950 as an understudy to the great Stanley Matthews with appearances therefore somewhat limited, followed by a spell at Leicester City where he helped them win promotion.   Then came stints at Newcastle Utd and, at the other end of the country, Plymouth Argyle.  

His time at Millwall proved to be somewhat limited due to injury and he left after just 16 appearances to join Tonbridge.  

After leaving The Angels Billy linked up with Bexley Utd

Frank Davis (April 2020). Frank was a Board Member in the 70’s and 80’s  who along with other Directors was instrumental in challenging the local authority in the High Court as the club fought to preserve semi-professional football in the town following its ejection from the old Angel Ground.   That battle was eventually won with the result that the club was able to move to its present home, The Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium.  

Frank was to become Chairman of the club during the 1980’s and was responsible for the appointment of one of the most successful managers in the club’s history, Phil Emblen.

Dick Adams (May 2020). Dick was a popular and helpful supporter of the Angels for many years.  Always good company, he, along with Susan Adams, for many years ran a printing business in the High Street and their help and support in producing match day posters and other printed material for the club often at very short notice will always be fondly remembered.

Pam Watson (May 2020).  Well known to everybody at the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium she was the lady who sold the club’s 50/50 Draw tickets as one entered the ground.  Always ready with a friendly word she will be sadly missed by everyone connected with Tonbridge Angels.

Angels Chairman, Dave Netherstreet said : “Pam was a lovely lady who as an owner, supporter and volunteer typified the spirit we have at our club.  We will all miss her greatly and we are indebted to her for all her hard work.”

Colin Boswell (May 2020) President of the Kent FA.  Always a friend to the Angels he was a regular visitor to the Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium and over the years was able to supply so much good advice in particular to our youth sides. 

Founder of the Kent Youth League in 1981 he stepped down as Chief Executive in 2013. In 2009 he was elected President of the Kent County FA having been a KCFA member since 1966.

Barry Marchant (May 2020) Former player who signed for The Angels in October 1969 from neighbours Tunbridge Wells where he had played as an amateur.

He stayed for four seasons in which time he scored 29 goals from 92 starts. He left for Dover in October 1972 for a £500 fee.

After leaving Dover, he played at Ramsgate and Folkestone before returning to Tunbridge Wells in 1975. 

In March 1971, ironically against Barry Town, he scored five times in a 6-0 win. In that same season he was the club’s leading scorer with 14 goals.

Just to jog the memories of some of our more senior supporters Barry famously wore this hair very long and had extraordinarily lengthy sideburns.   Away from football he worked as a postman.

Jimmy Kirk (July 2020) Former Angels goalkeeper Jimmy Kirk who passed away at age 94. He was at the club between 1956 and 1961 and made 75 appearances.

Jimmy, born in Ayrshire, joined Tonbridge in November 1956 from Aldershot at the age of 31. A goalkeeper he had previously played at St Mirren, Bury, Colchester and Torquay. On his debut for Tonbridge, for the Reserves he saved a penalty at Chelsea. In six seasons at the Angel Ground he alternated with Tommy Bickerstaff for the number one position, before retiring at the end of the 1960/61 season, although he was persuaded out of retirement by ex-Angels favourite, Harold Fletcher to play at Tunbridge Wells during the following season. 

Richard ‘Dick’ Baldwin (August 2020). Dick was a very loyal supporter who was definitely a ‘regular’ including coming to away games and youth matches.  Always good company he will be very much missed by the group of fans he used to stand with at matches.  He also frequently patronised the Supporters coach for those more distant  fixtures. 

The club sends its heartfelt condolences to his wife and all his family and friends.  

Thank you Dick for your loyalty to The Angels over many years. 

Doug Edgar (August 2020). Doug retired and moved to East Peckham from south east London around 2002 and almost immediately began to follow the Angels and attend home matches.

Within a few short months of taking up residence in Kent he was a regular attendee at home matches and occasionally to away grounds.

He was an ardent and knowledgeable supporter of non league football and could always be found chatting to other fans in the main stand at home matches.

Chris Clarke (September 2020).  Chris was born 11th December, 1946 and was a pacey winger who made 25 first team appearances for Millwall during 1964/65 & 1965/66, scoring 4 goals.  A brief period at Watford then saw Chris go on to play for Dartford, Margate and Hastings before joining Tonbridge in the summer of 1970. Chris became a popular winger and goalscorer amongst the Angels faithful before rejoining Hastings in the summer of 1972.

Chris made a total of 91 starts for the Angels scoring 14 goals.  Club historian and director Wink Tomkinson remembers him well, ‘a great little winger’. 

Peter Lovell (November 2020).  Former player Peter Lovell played most of his football as a left back.

He joined Tonbridge in November 1958 and, in his first spell at the club stayed until moving to Chelmsford City at the end of the season 1965/66. 

Lovell was originally signed as an outside left but was converted by Doug Hunt into a full back and in the eyes of many long-term Angels supporters was the finest left back the club has had. Lovell represented England Boys’ Club during his youth whilst playing youth team football at Fulham. 

In his first spell at the Angel Ground, Peter made 422 appearances, scoring three times. Peter had a spell at Gravesend after leaving Chelmsford before returning to Tonbridge in December 1968, playing for a further two seasons before retiring at the end of season 1969/70. His final total of appearances for the Angels totalled 470 games. Peter’s son, Mark, followed in his Dad’s footsteps at Fulham, making six appearances for the first team in the Football League. 

Peter was also an amateur boxer and fought for England in the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Peter Brown (March 2021)  Peter was a long time supporter and good friend to the club and to everyone involved with TAFC.

When he retired he spent many hours at the club putting his building talents to great use constructing, with his son Dave our PA announcer, the Media Tower, Terrace Bar and Tea bars as well as carrying out much needed repair work around the ground.

He also, with Mary his wife, on match days ran the Turmeric tea shack adjacent to the main stand.

Geoff Calderhead (March 2021) Geoff was a long-term supporter having followed the club from the late 50’s with one of his favourite players from the past being Geoff Truett, who probably not coincidentally played for his favourite football league club Crystal Palace.

A season ticket holder of many years, Geoff was also a regular away supporter travelling with his great friends Paul Bayliss and Tim Balsdon and, on occasions, Wink Tomkinson. When it was Geoff’s turn to drive they would be treated to his encyclopaedic knowledge of music with a medley of 1950/60’s tunes, some absolute classics and some, well not quite so classic that only Geoff could sing along too! He treated the imposters of triumph and disaster in the same manner. After defeat, they would all have our moan and then Geoff would bang on the tapes again and the singalong would dispel the gloom.

He also loved history, unbelievably knowledgeable, and a member of local historical societies.

Geoff was a generous supporter, upgrading his ownership to Grandee in the light of the pitch problems and each season sponsoring a player with Jonny Henly being his choice over the last couple of seasons.

Peter Wilson (March 2021)  Pete was the club’s paramedic for many years and was identifiable by his Hi Vis jacket and could be seen standing either at the entrance to the club shop or at the changing room tunnel.  He provided assistance to the club’s physios when required and also took care of any spectators or visitors who needed medical assistance.  

His support for the club was fantastic giving his time and his expertise to enable not only football matches but also our many events to take place in the knowledge that the club had an experienced paramedic on duty.

His earlier working career saw him as a firefighter and then a postman but he always maintained an interest in first aid which was eventually to lead him to a career in the Ambulance service starting in 1988 qualifying as a paramedic in 1992.  

Outside of work Pete became a civilian instructor at Tonbridge Air Cadets as well as being a life long fan of Brighton & Hove Albion and of course The Angels.

Sam Brittain (April 2021) Loyal supporter Sam had a special place in his heart for the club.  His Dad, Trevor has said that "Longmead was a place where he (Sam) was at his very happiest".  One of the Angels family who was taken from us far too early.  

Marshall Browning (September 2021)  Marshall was a loyal supporter at Longmead and at the old Angel Ground since the 1970's and will be sorely missed by friends and supporters.   Chairman Dave Netherstreet said: "It's very sad to lose an Angel but we also gain one to look over us."    

Brian Phillips (November 2021)   As reported by Chairman Dave Netherstreet :
It is with sadness that I have to let you know that Brian Phillips a regular Angels supporter passed away on Saturday 27th November.

Brian not only went to the home games of both the first and youth teams but also popped down to the ground during the week accompanied by his labrador Cruise to help out. Cruise mainly helped by demolishing the biscuit supply. We saw the both of them just last Thursday and it is so difficult to believe that we will not see him at the ground anymore.

Brian had not been well for some time and was just short of his 84th birthday, which would have been on the 18 December.

TAFC send condolences to his family and friends and he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

Terry Bamblett (January 2022)  Very sad news was received of the passing of long standing supporter, season ticket holder and owner, Terry Bamblett on Sunday 30th January following a short illness.

Football is very much about opinions and it must be said that Terry had plenty of those around the sport and club that he loved so much.  His unerring loyalty to the Angels however was always without question and Longmead will miss his friendly company, the enjoyable discussions many of us had with him before, during and after matches, and his engaging dress sense.  

The club conveys its condolences to his wife Kathy, also a loyal supporter, and look forward to her continuing to attend games where she will be amongst many friends. We are also thinking of Terry's family and friends at this sad time. 

Bryan Hayes (January 2022) It is the club's very sad duty to report the passing of Bryan Hayes, a supporter who had followed the club since the 1960's including therefore some of its time at The Old Angel Ground. 

Bryan (85) who passed away suddenly on Thursday evening (27th January) had a long association with the Angels through the good and not so good times, both home and away including sponsoring games.   

He was passionate about the game and in particular his hometown club, and was always ready with a friendly word or two with fellow supporters to which this writer can certainly attest.

David Arrowsmith (May 2022)   It is the club’s sad duty to bring you news of the passing of long time supporter David Arrowsmith.

Father to former Director Vanessa (Ness) Yates and grandfather to 1st team captain Sonny Miles, David always had time for a chat with his many friends at Longmead and will be sadly missed by Angels supporters.

Our sincere condolences are sent to Sonny and Ness and all his family many of whom were regularly to be seen at 1st team fixtures both home and away.

Tracey Fry (July 2022) Tracey was of course the wife of former Chairman and Director, Colin Fry and was an amazing support to him during the many years he was on the Board of the club.  

In particular she will be remembered for the terrific work she did in hosting the Directors Lounge and more recently the 48 Lounge.  Always a welcoming presence she immediately put everyone at their ease whether young or old.   

Allan Watson (July 2022)

One of the club’s great characters, Allan Watson passed after a short battle with Alzheimer’s.  He is of course now reunited with his beloved Pam who was also a great Angels supporter.  

Allan was born on 29 May 1930 and was a regular supporter of the club from its very earliest days. 

His encouragement for the team could always be clearly heard in the stands with phrases such as “swing it wing it, clear the ranks, the sky’s the limit, on with the Mortley(Peter Mortley), Up the Blues” and many others as long-standing supporters will recall,  but he was always the perfect gentleman with no unpleasant language ever coming from his lips. Of course he also entertained us all with stories of memorable events at the old Angel ground.

The club expresses its sincerest condolences to all of Allan’s family and many friends.  

Thanks for all the memories Allan.  Gone but not forgotten. 

Trevor ‘Spielberg’ Arnold (August 2022)   

Trevor was a pioneer of providing film footage of Angels games for supporters to enjoy in their comfort of their own homes and re-live some those exciting Longmead moments as well as setting up the clubs You Tube channel. For example, who can forget his excellent coverage of that famous Isthmian Premier Play Off Final win against Lowestoft Town all filmed from the then somewhat rickety camera position!    Trevor will also be remembered as part of the drumming team in the 90's behind the opposition's goal at home matches.   

A true supporter who gave of his time willingly to help the club as it dealt with the challenges  of new technology in the dawn of the 21st century, Trev was a quiet unassuming man but also a true gentleman.

Possibly less well known to Angels supporters was that Trev was an accomplished musician who was a fine trumpet and  saxophone player, jazz being a genre he was passionate about.  A particular claim to fame was that he was a session player with The Beatles in the Cavern Club, Liverpool during the 60's. .         

Trev had not been in the best of health in the last couple of years and was last seen regularly filming at the ground in the early months of 2019.   

George Cohen (December 2022)  

It is the club's sad duty to report the passing this morning (23rd December) of former Angels Manager and of course England World Cup hero George Cohen MBE aged 83.

Appointed to the old Angel Ground hot seat in March 1974 he stepped down on 25th September 1976 having overseen 53 1st team victories including of course winning the Kent Senior Cup in April 1975 defeating Maidstone United.  It was to prove to be the last time to date that Tonbridge have won that particular competition.  

Nationally, George was of course far better known as one of England's heroes in that never to be forgotten World Cup Final victory over West Germany in July 1966 and as a fine full back for Fulham FC.

All at Tonbridge Angels send their condolences to all of George's family and friends at this sad time as we mourn the passing of a footballing legend.  

Norman Allchin (June 2023)

The club has been advised of the very sad passing of long time Angels supporter Norman Allchin who lost his battle with Alzheimers.

Norman was a long time supporter, with many friends at Tonbridge Angels. He became a regular supporter of the club in 1958, following the Lewisham train disaster in which he lost his father and was consequently taken to the Angels by a friend’s Dad. Local folklore has it that Norman was one of only a handful surviving that were at the opening game in 1948. Through the late 1960’s and into the early 70’s, Carol and Norman ran the bar in the old pavilion at the Angels and he continued to remain a proud supporter of the club, home and away, as a season ticket holder and an owner for many years. 

Everybody at Tonbridge Angels offer their sincere condolences to Carol and her family and our thought are with them at this difficult time.

Bobby Taylor (September 2023)

Tonbridge Angels Football Club are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Robert “Bobby” Taylor, aged 89, on Tuesday, 12th September.

Bobby was a true Angels legend, one of only nine players to make over 400 appearances for the club in a spell that began with a scoring debut on 22nd August 1964 at the Angel Ground against Cambridge City and lasted six seasons amassing 405 appearances, scoring 116 goals. In perfect symmetry he made his 400th appearance in 1970 also against Cambridge City.

Bobby’s career started as an amateur with Fulham before joining Crystal Palace in 1954 where he made two Football League appearances. In 1956 he moved on to Gillingham for three seasons making 31 appearances and scoring five times. He ended his Football League career at Millwall before moving into non-league with Dartford in 1961.

He joined Tonbridge in 1964 as an inside forward scoring 37 goals in his first season. Towards the end of his Angels career he played in a wider range of positions including half-back and winger.

The late Brian Cheal described Taylor as: "A clever, stockily built, inside forward and a good opportunist" who signed for the club after three seasons at Dartford and having had a little Football League experience at Gillingham and Millwall. 

Bobby won honours with Tonbridge being part of the Kent Senior Cup winning team of 1965 and the Kent Floodlight Cup winning team of 1967.

All at Tonbridge Angels share Bobby’s family’s deep sadness and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

George Pearce (October 2023)

Tonbridge Angels are saddened to learn of the passing of George Pearce, aged 87 on 30th October 2023.

George made over 100 appearances for the club in a two year spell between 1968 and 1970.

George could play in in either midfield or defence and was signed by Harry Haslam in the final days of his reign at the Angel Ground. He made his debut in the opening game of the 1968/69 season against Banbury, by which time John Smith had taken charge.

George made 60 appearances in all competitions that season, missing only four league games. The following season he made a further 61 appearances, scoring his only goal for the club at Gravesend & Northfleet.

At the end of the season he moved on to Sittingbourne and then on to Bexley United.

Tonbridge Angels send their deepest sympathy to George’s family at this difficult time.

Freddie Morris (November 2023)

It is with deepest sadness that Tonbridge Angels Football Club announce the passing of Freddie Morris. Fred passed away  on 21st November at the age of 89.

In 1955, he played for Ramblers in the Tonbridge and District League alongside Paddy Leonard, who was also to represent Tonbridge Football Club. Fred was asked to trial at the Angel Ground and played in a Probables v Possibles game that were a feature of pre-season in the 1950’s. He duly impressed and was asked to sign by then manager Douglas Hunt. 

His career at the Angel Ground spanned 1955 until 1960, making 24 first team appearances, scoring six goals but he made over 100 appearances for the Metropolitan League team, scoring plenty.

All at Tonbridge Angels offer their sincere sympathies to Fred's family and his wide circle of friends. Prior to Saturday’s home fixture against Havant & Waterlooville a minute’s applause will be held to honour the life of this wonderful man.

Dave Crush (December 2023)

Tonbridge Angels have received the very sad news that Dave Crush has passed away at the age of 77.

Dave, a centre forward, had two spells with Tonbridge making 183 appearances, scoring 29 goals. 

Crushy, as he was affectionately known, was born in Pembury and started his career at the Angel Ground in January 1966 against Bedford Town. He became a regular in a side that included Malcolm MacDonald.

After a second season, he moved on to Ashford Town where he enjoyed a very successful four seasons scoring 40 times before joining Dover Athletic for a four figure fee for the 1971/72 season scoring 19 goals before, after a couple of months of the following season, a £1,000 bid was accepted for his return to Tonbridge.

In a three year spell, he made 146 appearances scoring 22 times. On 5th April 1975, he was part of the Kent Senior Cup winning side that memorably beat Maidstone United 2-1 at the Athletic Ground, Maidstone.

The season after the cup success, he departed for Maidstone, reportedly with Tonbridge recouping their transfer fee and a little bit more. He spent two seasons at Maidstone before ending his career with spells at Margate, Canterbury City, Hastings United and Ashford, from where he retired from the game in 1984.

Dave’s brother Stephen, also served the club in the 1970’s. To all Crushy’s family and friends, the club offers their heartfelt condolences and our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.

Lennie Piper (January 2024)

We are saddened to learn that a former loan player, Lenny Piper, has passed away at the age of 46 after a long illness.

Lenny was a former England schoolboy international, who started his career at Wimbledon and also had league experience at Gillingham, before dropping to non league football with Welling United, St Albans City and Farnborough Town. He signed for Fisher Athletic from Dagenham and Redbridge in March 2004 having spent much of that season on loan at Margate. He had a short spell at Tonbridge on loan in December 2004 before returning to Fisher and was briefly made caretaker manager at Fisher in November 2005.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with Lenny’s family, his brother Chris, who spent five seasons with the Angels from 2010, and friends.

Ethen Adams (April 2024)

Tonbridge Angels are saddened to hear of the passing of supporter Ethen Adams.

Ethen was 25 and lived in Hullbridge near Southend and was a regular at our games travelling with Matt Bellman and his daughter Jess.

He, as well as supporting the Angels, was also a West Ham fan and spent his football time between Longmead and the London Stadium.

Dave Netherstreet commented “I will especially miss Ethen as he was always polite enough to laugh at my appalling sense of humour. I always find it difficult when one so young passes away and an Angel becomes an angel."

All at Tonbridge Angels send our condolences to Ethen's family and friends on their sad loss.





Published Wednesday 24th March 2021 (last updated Tuesday 9th April 2024)