Yems’ Horsham days an age ago as he reaches Premier heights with AFC Bournemouth

John Yems as a manager on the sideline back in his Crawley Town days
John Yems as a manager on the sideline back in his Crawley Town days

John Yems will be working at the pinnacle of football next season with AFC Bournemouth, having come a long way from his Horsham days.

The Cherries football operations and recruitment manager, who still lives locally, helped the South Coast side to the biggest prize of all last summer.

It is interesting to note that next season when Horsham have plummeted to the old Sussex County League or equivalent, John will be enjoying Premier League football at AFC Bournemouth where he is head of football development and recruitment

Michael James

Now as he assists young starlet Eddie Howe plot their survival amongst the country’s elite in the Premier League, a former Hornets director has recalled Yems’, fair to say, unsuccessful spell at Queen Street.

Michael James served as a Horsham director for a short time in the 1990s after retiring as a Football League referee.

The 70-year-old was on the board when a fresh-faced Yems took over the Hornets helm and combined the role with his job at the Fulham Academy.

Despite Horsham reaching the final qualifying round of the FA Cup before Yems took over, the appointment ended in tears with the manager leaving midway through the 1993-94 season which ended in relegation to Division 3 of the Isthmian League.

Supporters at the time were critical of Yems’ reign, but more than ten years on - with AFC about to embark on their biggest adventure yet and Horsham set for life in county football - James was keen to point to an old footballing cliché - it really is a funny old game.

He said: “John took over from Peter Evans combining the Horsham manager job with his position at Fulham Youth Academy.

“John was very volatile and part of my job was to sit on the bench with him to stop him getting reported by the referee and being banned again.

“John actually brought Arsenal’s youth team to Horsham to play Fulham youth in their Youth League match which was an honour for the club.

“As usual the club were cash strapped and as they plunged to the bottom of league and John realised they couldn’t pay him and the players so he resigned so the club could save money.

“John was an excellent coach, but a terrible manager and at the end of that season Horsham were relegated.

“Supporters as normal made comments about John not knowing what he was doing but with the normal wage restraints at the club he did his best for us.

“It is interesting to note that next season when Horsham have plummeted to the old Sussex County League or equivalent, John will be enjoying Premier League football at AFC Bournemouth where he is head of football development and recruitment.

“It just goes to show that football is a funny old game.

“It’s nice to see him working for a successful team after several coaching jobs at clubs in the lower divisions where in the main money was in a short supply .”

Yems has enjoyed management roles at Crawley, Torquay and Exeter City and coaching roles at Millwall, Fulham and Crystal Palace and was appointed by Howe in October 2012.

James meanwhile was temporarily handed the reigns after Yems’ departure and added: “I was passed the poisoned chalice to end of the season and although John tried to help me from London by making sure the players continued to turn up for the rest of the season,

“I still ended with a perfect record of seven matches played, seven matches lost.

“I didn’t bother to reapply for the position for the following season.

“I still live in Horsham but haven’t seen them play since the Swansea FA Cup match as basically I had no connection with the players as they seemed to be there one week and gone the next.

“Perhaps things will now change for the better with the new manager being fairly local and hopefully he will give local youngsters a chance at County League level otherwise why go to the expense of having a good youth setup and no players coming through.”