In 1969, Horsham Football Club launched a competition to find the team a nickname and signature tune for the players to run out to before each match. The appeal caused a tremendous amount of interest over a wide area, with entries coming in from as far afield as Worthing, Brighton, Littlehampton, Petworth, Shoreham, Reigate, Epsom, Sutton and Chichester. Even Whitehawk Football Club got in on the act with their secretary Mr Powell, when acknowledging the cheque for their share of the proceeds from the Sussex Senior Cup tie, pointing out that Haywards Heath were called Bluebells “so why not primroses?”.
The Hunters, Sparklers, Buttercups, Tangerines, Hounds and Sussexians were all offered up, while others favoured Woodpeckers, Mules, Shelleys, Green Nicks, Horseshoes, Sunflowers, Mandarins, Queens, Yellowhammers, Horseys and the Macaws. However the winning entry was submitted by Mr Medland of Highlands Road, Horsham, whose suggestion of The Hornets was thought most suitable for a team fans hoped would always be buzzing around and have a sting in its tail. Henceforth, to accompany the new battlecry of “Up The Hornets”, the players would take to the field to the inspiring theme from the TV series “The Power Game“, at the suggestion of Mrs Susan Richardson of Billingshurst, who received a prize for her efforts.
The pre-match theme tune might have long-since been confined to history but, during the early part of the 2004/5 season, the Horsham Independent Supporters’ Club met and agreed to finance a club mascot and, that November, Howie the Hornet made his bow. Appearing at numerous charitable events since, Howie – with the loyal assistance of his long term friend Matt Haynes – quickly became a popular figure in and around the town and has done a fantastic job in spreading the club’s name, even being crowned Olympic Mascot Champion!