Much-loved Sussex football stalwart Steve Piper died aged 64 last week.
Steve made more than 100 appearances as a professional for Brighton & Hove Albion, before moving to Portsmouth. A serious knee injury brought his professional career to a premature end but he returned to Sussex and played for Worthing, Littlehampton, Whitehawk, Steyning and Southwick in the non-league game.
He remained passionate about his football up until his health made if difficult a few months ago.
Son-in-law Peter Stone said: “After his career ended at Portsmouth, Steve returned to Sussex and won a range of honours. He played for Littlehampton Town, Steyning Town, Worthing, Arundel and Pagham, where he also went on to manage.
“His footballing legacy lived on through son Matt, who was a regular for Eastbourne Borough, Burgess Hill Town, Hastings and Worthing following his release from Brighton & Hove Albion.
“Whilst his family are devastated at their loss, they recognise that many are equally shocked and saddened by the news of his passing. The hope is he will be remembered as a genuine good guy, who adored his family and close friends.
“He will be sadly missed throughout the region by many people who hopefully will retain fond memories of him. RIP Pipes.”
In his column for this week's paper, Ian Hart wrote: "They say you should never meet your football heroes as they often disappoint.
"I went totally the other way, Pipes was in the first Albion side I ever watched in April, 1973, and far from disappointing when we later met, we became friends.
"There has been a plethora of tributes from many people, one of the most fitting for me was written some 38 years ago in the match programme for Steve’s testimonial down at Portsmouth, when his professional career was cut short by injury.
Speaking about Steve during his brief tenure as Albion manager, the legendary Brian Clough wrote: “They were difficult times and I needed all the help from the players. Unfortunately not too many of them wanted to play for Brighton when I got there, but there was one or two we could rely on, and none more so than Steve Piper, who was one of the most honest and genuine lads, if not the most genuine, we had on the books.”
"Says it all, take care Pipes."
Steve’s funeral will take place at Worthing Crematorium next Wednesday (January, 10) at 12.20pm.