Horsham chairman Kevin Borrett has insisted the club will do whatever it has to do to secure a new home - including revisiting the Holbrook Club site if their Hop Oast hopes fail.
Speaking after news that landlords Horsham YMCA will not being willing to home the Hornets after the 2016-17 season, the chairman has empathised that a community home for the town’s club is top of his priorities.
Borrett was quick to thank Horsham YMCA for their support over the past six years, but believes this latest blow to the club shows how desperate they are for a new ground.
Horsham have been without a permanent home since leaving Queen Street in 2008, when its bid for a new ground at the Holbrook Club was also refused by Horsham District Council.
They subsequently had plans for a modest, community facility at Hop Oast again turned down in January.
Borrett and the club directors are working towards an appeal or renewed application in the Southwater parish, but hinted they may pursue their land at the Holbrook Club if they have to.
Our first priority is securing community football facilities and a home for the football club at Hop Oast where we think it should be.Kevin Borrett
He said: “I think the most important thing I would like to get across is how grateful we are to Horsham YMCA for the time they have allowed us to ground share.
“This does really reinforce the point that Horsham Football Club does need to secure a permanent home for itself.
“Obviously that is a key consideration for us as we continue to progress towards the point that we may appeal the application for our ground at Hop Oast.
“It also reinforces the point that a long-term ground share with Horsham YMCA at Gorings Mead is not possible.
“I need to be honest, it is not something YM really wanted as it impacts their own activities, but they have been very supportive to us over the six years we have been there.
“Our first priority is securing community football facilities and a home for the football club at Hop Oast where we think it should be.
“We desperately need to settle the location of a new home to be successful. Our commitment to trying to go forward with Hop Oast via an appeal, pursuing a revised application or both is ongoing.”
If unsuccessful, however, the club will not be giving up on finding itself and new permanent home in ways that could also benefit them financially.
Borrett continued: “If ultimately our quest is not successful it really does beg the question as to whether the football club has to reconsider its view of going back to the Holbrook Club site.
“We brought the Holbrook Club site in 2007 seeing off competition from several property developers with the view to occupying it, but for the past five years have focused on Hop Oast. If all other options fail it is not something we have completely ruled out.
“Much was made of the tax liability Horsham Football Club faced as part of its overall proposals for Hop Oast and Holbrook. Do bear in mind the majority of those are eliminated if we were to keep Holbrook as our home.
“Such a decision would have an impact the Holbrook Club and its members, but if all other avenues fail, then we will do what we have to do.”
Fears have been expressed by fans and local members of the community over the future of the club with this latest blow.
There is a realistic chance of not having the problem resolved or not having a possible new ground finished by the end of the 2017 when they will be evicted by their current landlords.
On the possibility of having to find somewhere else to play, Borrett added: “There is obviously that possibility.
“We also have the deadline to bring forwards an appeal and that has to be within six months of the decision, so we only have until July to do that.
“From working on reviews, the club has had designs for any possible reapplication and even though if everything does go through and it could be built in time, there may well be a gap in there are we will have to look at alternatives.”