LOCAL football is mourning the loss of former Eastleigh manager Don Gowans.

Gowans, who managed Eastleigh from 1990-95, sadly passed away last week in Kitnocks Nursing Home, Curdridge.

A devoted family man, Gowans was a well-known face in Hampshire non-League circles, managing North End Old Boys before moving to Sholing Reseves and Pirelli General, where he had also been a player.

He had spells with AFC Totton and Fareham Town in the late 1980s before being named as successor to Dave Saunders at Eastleigh in June 1990 when they were a mid-table Wessex League club.

Reflecting on Gowans’ impact on local football, long-serving Spitfires press officer and historian Malcolm Clarke recalled: “Don managed Eastleigh from the start of the 1990/91 season to midway through 1994/95 and twice led them to the last 32 of the FA Vase, a round they have only reached three times, and to the League Cup final in 1991/92.

“League form was inconsistent under Don, but there were some memorable victories under him.

“With Fareham Town, he was desperately unlucky to be relegated from the Southern League Premier in 1988/89 having obtained 51 points.

“That season they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, where they led Torquay United – then a Football League club – 2-0 with ten minutes to go, but eventually lost after a replay.

“Don and his wife of 50 years, Danny, regularly attended Eastleigh games until his illness prevented him doing so.

“He also played other sports and was a useful batsman for the Crusaders team in the Eastleigh & District Sunday League.”

Don and Danny’s two sons, Simon and Jason, were both footballers. Simon, an associate schoolboy with Saints, played for Yeovil Town and Trevor Parker’s Bashley.

The funeral will be at Wessex Vale Crematorium on Thursday (June 11, 1.45pm).

Family flowers only, but donations can be made to Kitnocks House, c/o Nigel Chamberlain, The Gate House, Victoria Road, Bishops Waltham, SO32 1DJ.