Exciting times ahead
The season might have ended in disappointing fashion but Horsham Secretary Jeff Barrett explains why he believes there are plenty of reasons to be positive over the coming months.
Playing twenty-odd miles from our hometown has been no picnic. Whilst our hosts at the Sussex County FA have been very welcoming and the facilities are great, our nomadic existence has been a logistical challenge and inevitably many fans have found it difficult to get to Culver Road. That said, we are grateful to all of you who have supported us so admirably and helped us to sustain crowds well into three figures. On limited resources, Dom and the boys have given us something to cheer and we finished in a very comfortable mid-table position.
Fielding just one side is, in itself, a challenge. It has meant that we have often needed to look outside the club to cover some of the many injuries that we have sustained, rather than call on resources from within. And whilst we have some exciting young prospects, we have had to place some elsewhere so that they could get regular football.
To address this issue, we are hoping to run a team in the Isthmian Development League next season and we are actively in negotiations to secure a ground for them until our new home is ready. It will mean all our registered players can get regular football within the club and will offer our youth teams a route through to senior football.
The Board will also be supporting Dom with the resources he needs to build on the fine squad of players he has brought to the club. Two of our most promising prospects have already signed contracts and we will be making similar arrangements with a few others over the coming months. It will mean that we will be better equipped to compete at our level. But let me reassure you: we have no intention of spending beyond our means and getting into financial difficulties ever again.
The most exciting prospect is of course the news that we will be installed in our new home, probably around the turn of the year. The contractors are cracking on with it all and we hope shortly to be offering a website on which you can follow progress. I personally remember the search for a suitable site starting in the early eighties, since when we have been knocked back so many times. I still have to pinch myself to believe that it really is happening.
The facilities will be just what we need: two state-of-the-art 3G pitches, a good-sized clubhouse and a three-hundred-seater stand as well as covered terracing. I am confident that the people of Horsham and its surrounds will embrace this new community asset and that Horsham FC will thrive. By the 2019/20 season we will be expanding our youth programme, which will no longer be constrained by the lack of facilities, and look to offer opportunities for all, regardless of gender, race, age or disability.
We have got to where we are with a small band of enthusiastic volunteers who work so hard behind the scenes on the board and the committee. To all of them I say a big “Thank you” on behalf of the club. There is no question that the workload will increase in the new ground and we need fresh blood to join us. It’s actually good fun being part of the off-the-field team and it doesn’t matter if you only have limited time to help out – any contribution will be received with gratitude. So if you feel you have something to offer the club, please talk to me or any club official.
These are really exciting times for Horsham Football Club and the local community. Last season was good but let’s make the coming months and years really great.