Tributes paid to former Crystal Palace and Crawley Town defender who played more than 300 games for Three Bridges

Three Bridges Football Club have paid tribute to former player Peter Ranson who has died aged 61.

The 1977 FA Youth Cup-winning Crystal Palace team - Peter Ranson is pictured bottom left
The 1977 FA Youth Cup-winning Crystal Palace team - Peter Ranson is pictured bottom left

Ranson played 328 games for Bridges but was also was part of the Crystal Palace team which won the FA Youth Cup in 1977 - playing with the likes of Kenny Sansom and Terry Fenwick.

The versatile player also played for Crawley Town and Horsham in his career and was the older of two Ranson brothers who played for Bridges - the other being Paul.

In their tribute online, the club said: “Peter was a cultured player who numbered Crawley Town, Horsham and Wimbledon amongst his previous clubs. Although he could also operate in midfield and as a sweeper, the vast majority of his 328 appearances for Bridges were in the right back position during the 80’s.

Peter Ranson

“He was able to pick out team mates with long balls as well as neat short passes.”

And the club said Peter was a bit of a character with a great sense of humour. The tribute continued: “ On one occasion the team were at the Saffrons, home of Eastbourne Town.

“Eastbourne had a reputation of God’s Waiting Room at the time and there were plenty of senior citizens amongst the home supporters. One took umbrage as Peter broke up an Eastbourne attack and threw a cup of tea in Peter’s direction. Peter refused to be intimidated and merely asked if the supporter wouldn’t mind adding a sugar next time!

A recent picture of Peter Ranson

“‘Ranno’ was only 61 when he died and he will be missed by everyone that knew him. RIP Peter.”

Paul was proud of his brother’s achievements, especially winning the FA Cup Youth Cup with Palace. He said: “The reason it resonates is that in the back four that day was the Kenny Samson (he of Arsenal) Peter Nicholas, Terry Fenwick (he played for England in the ‘hand of god game’) and Peter at Right back. Most of the team become Palace of the 80’s and at the time his coach included Terry Venables/Alan Harris and many others.”

Peter attended Hazelwick and along with several others in his age group they excelled at football and were scouted by the likes of Chelsea, Fulham and Crystal Palace where he was given a Youth team contract. He was by preference a right back and loved to do marauding runs down the wing and delivering great crosses which he was famous for. He also played at Wimbledon, Crawley Town, Horsham FC and Three Bridges FC plus he represented the Sussex Count FA many times. His nickname was ‘Ranno’ on the football field. Peter also was qualified coach and he coached many youngsters at Three Bridges and Haywards Heath.

Paul said: “He decided to play semi professional football at the likes of Wimbledon despite Spurs wanting to to sign him which allowed him to take a very successful career in Reprographic Equipment across the South East of England and London which he did for over 30 years.

“Peter lived and breathed football in his youth and was always immaculately turned out every game, and from young age he supported Spurs. He had some great times with the football community and also made many friends in and around Crawley thanks to the game and reputation. He will be sorely missed, but we wanted to share his happy memories with former team mates and players around the town he grew up in.”

Peter leaves four children; Laura, Marc, Jack and Harry and five grandchildren.

Peter's funeral will be on Tuesday 26th January at 3:45, this will be at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Balcombe Road, Crawley, RH10 3NQ. The service will be held in the St Richards Chapel. Numbers are limited so we will also have a virtual option which is Login / Order ID: 69338 Password: extfjwuj, flowers will be for family but donations can be made in Peter's memory to SEPKA