MALVERN Town have confirmed that their former player and manager Joe Rawle has died. 

It was reported that Rawle was fighting illness in hospital on Tuesday but on Wednesday evening, Malvern and Westfields both confirmed he had died.

The ex-Southampton and Notts County youngster played for The Hillsiders in the early 1990s before eventually moving into management, where he took charge of a Malvern team in the Southern League in 2007 after a spell as assistant manager in the early 2000s.

In recent years, Rawle had become a respected and much-loved member of the coaching team at Westfields for six years, before he moved on to join Hereford FC as a scout in 2016.

Rawle, who also had stints playing for Pershore Town, Evesham United and Ledbury Town during his playing career, gave current Town co-boss Lee Hooper his first-team debut as a 15-year-old.

“Joe was a top, top man," said Hooper. "He gave me my debut at Malvern Town at just 15 years of age.

“He was a great football guy who was genuine and honest. I never heard a bad word said about the man.

“Sadly, I never got to watch him play personally but from the stories I have heard, he was some player and finisher. RIP Rawley mate.”