John Raymond Hills

Dec 10, 2021 | News

Bristol Rovers Supporters Club are sad to report the death of former Rovers defender John Hills, on November 28th at the age of 87, and send their condolences to his family and friends.

The former Tottenham Hotspur defender, who joined Rovers in the summer of 1961, appeared in just seven league games for the club.

An initial three game run took in the opening game of the 1961/62 campaign which saw Liverpool win 2-0 at Eastville and Johnny had the misfortune to put through his own goal on his debut. He appeared in the following two fixtures, away games at Bury and Rotherham United, both of which were lost.

He missed the subsequent home games, against Bury and Sunderland, but was back in the side for another three match run which took in games against Scunthorpe United, Stoke City and Leyton Orient. The final game of that trio saw Rovers collect their first points of the season after a disastrous run of seven consecutive defeats.

The 3-1 win against Orient, achieved with goals by Peter Hooper and Bobby Jones, was the penultimate first team appearance for Johnny and he returned to the starting lineup for a goalless draw against Walsall on December 2nd 1961.

He underwent a cartilage operation during his time with Rovers, and after the side was relegated at the end of the 1961/62 campaign he signed for Margate.

Described as a classy full back when with Spurs he appeared in 29 league games for them as well as in over 200 reserve team games.

He had been good enough to be selected for a Football Association tour of Nigeria and Ghana in May 1958, including a 5-0 win against the Nigerian national side.

On his debut he became the 357th player to represent Bristol Rovers in the Football League.

Johnny taught Physical Education at the International School in Brussels until 1969 and he subsequently lived in Paris and Sri Lanka before retiring to Brussels where he passed away last month.

Keith Brookman