England manager Gareth Southgate has led the tributes after the death of legendary ex-Forest Green chairman Trevor Horsley.
In an open letter read out at today’s funeral at the New Lawn, Southgate spoke of Horsley’s love of the England national team and his beloved Forest Green.
Southgate said: “To the family and friends of Trevor Horsley. I was deeply saddened to hear that Trevor has passed away. I am aware of how much of a passionate England fan he was, traveling all around the world to watch the team. As staff and players, so much of what we are able to achieve is because of the tremendous support we get wherever we play.
“Of course, Trevor devoted much of his life to football and he will particularly missed by those connected to Forest Green Rovers and Leeds United as well as all that he has encountered during his business career. My thoughts are with you all today.”
On an emotional day, former Forest Green managing director Colin Peake delivered his own personal and heartfelt salute along with emotional recollections from ex-manager Frank Gregan and former player Rob Cook.
Horsley’s funeral cortege, departed the stadium he built, to warm applause.
His close friend Dave Chapman said: “Twenty years ago when Forest Green went to Wembley to play in the FA Trophy, which we lost 1-0, and despite that Trevor had arranged a celebration afterwards and we maintained the celebration.
“In typical Trevor style he’d get that big smile going, put his arm around your shoulders, but deep down I knew it hurt. So when we came back to The Lawn – two coaches full of supporters including Trevor and his family – and we got off the bus and spontaneously the team and supporters formed two lines and were chanting “there’s only one Trevor Horsley”, and that’s it, there was.”
Colin Peake discussed Trevor’s legacy: “Just remember why we came here today. The name Trevor Martin Horsley is not one that we should speak of in hushed tones. Be loud and be proud, we can say his name with pride that we were part of his life and Trevor Horsley was part of our life too.
“Forest Green Rovers is under a new custodian and the baton has passed on. In thirty years it’s gone from being a locally-know club, to a nationally-known club and now an internationally-known club. Those foundations were laid by Trevor and it has been good to see over the last eight years that continued growth, with another promotion and trips to Wembley and who knows what might happen over the next couple of months. Trevor was proud, regardless of where he went and who he met to tell people that he was still associated with this club.”
Former FGR manager Frank Gregan said: “Trevor was an absolutely exceptional guy as we all know, and we will hear about his generosity and what he did financially, but I’d like to point out what he did actually on the pitch and how he was instrumental in the success that the club had. He was probably the greatest man I ever met in football.”
Former FGR player Rob Cook said: “Trevor was a man of great passion for the game and a drive that led everyone around him to want to give their best. Just like us players he’d feel the pain of our losses and he’d party in our wins, and boy did Trevor know how to party. Trevor was all about unity, no one person was bigger than anyone else and he led by example.”
Charles Clapham MBE, former Southport chairman said: “I first met Trevor over twenty years ago, he was a larger than life character and his hospitality knew no bounds.”
As well as being an FGR fan, Trevor also followed Leeds United and England at home and abroad.
After the service, well-wishers signed a book of condolence and were invited for a first drink on Trevor in the Carol Embrey Suite, The Green Man and the Gym Bar.
On Tuesday, April 2 at 10.20am a service of Committal and Cremation will be held at Lawnswood Crematorium, Otley Road, Leeds, LS16 6AH.
After the service in Leeds, there will be a reception held at the Pavillion Lounge at Elland Road.
Donations in memory of Trevor should be made to Cancer Research UK.
A full report from Ross Arnott will follow.