Over the years Horsham supporters, in particular the ‘Lardy Boys’, have become well-known for their sense of humour. Their irreverent style can often be found in their songs and in the now annual end of season fancy dress but did you know that, back in 1996, they even launched their own line in merchandise?
A small group of supporters, among them Paul Oxley and Mark Huntsman, got together during that summer and came up with the idea of producing a ‘tour t-shirt’ to mark the club’s promotion from Division Three at the end of the previous season. Printed on the industrial estate at Southwater, those first shirts were emblazoned on the front with the Lardies’ ethos of ‘Lager & Lard’ and a list of that season’s fixtures on the back. Only a small number were produced but it was enough to capture the imagination of their fellow fans and, for the next five seasons, the tour t-shirt was the ‘must-have’ item at the start of the campaign.
Future shirts featured the artistic talents of then programme editor and committee member Adam Hammond and focused on popular chants among the supporters, such as ‘blow your beast’, ‘its just like watching Peru’ and ‘Hey-ho away we go’, with even a reference to the League of Gentlemen’s fictional home town of Royston Vasey for good measure! The last set of shirts were brought out at the start of the 2001/2 campaign and it was not for another six years that another was produced, this time by a local businessman, to mark the FA Cup ties with Swansea City. When the club was forced into a groundshare arrangement at Worthing in 2008, a sweatshirt was designed to raise awareness of the Hornets’ homeless plight with the cleverly designed motif ‘Get the F.C. back to Horsham’ and, more recently, supporters marked their inaugural Isthmian League trip to Guernsey with a light-hearted ‘Lardies in Europe’ tee.
You can find photos of all these items here