Relegation can be the start of a fresh chapter

L45106H13-FootballEastPreston''Sussex Division Football. East Preston V St Francis. Action from the match.  Pictured is East Preston manager, Dom Di Paola. ENGSUS00220130411084213
L45106H13-FootballEastPreston''Sussex Division Football. East Preston V St Francis. Action from the match. Pictured is East Preston manager, Dom Di Paola. ENGSUS00220130411084213
  • Hornets relegated after dismal season
  • Di Paola upbeat about the future
  • New boss believes reprieve is unlikely

Dominic Di Paola hopes a new chapter can be started after Horsham’s 42-year stay in the Ryman League came to an end on Saturday.

The inevitable finally occurred with a 2-0 defeat at second-placed Faversham condemning the Hornets to a bottom-three finish.

I just feel sorry for such a big club which almost definitely does not deserve to be at a level it looks destined to be at.

Dominic Di Paola

It has been a long hard slog for the club in a season which has seen them have a planning application for a new home at Hop Oast refused and ended in their second relegation in four years.

Their hopes of avoiding County League football next year rest on hopes of a reprieve in the summer which would be dependant on finishing at least second from bottom.

With doom and gloom shrouding Saturday’s outcome, Di Paola - who took over at the helm just last week - has a refreshing optimism.

While appreciating it is a sad outcome for Horsham, the new manager is ready and raring to build for the future, in whatever league that may be.

He said: “It’s another hammer blow with the ground rejection and all the other things in recent years.

“If we do go down, I am looking to get stuck in and look at moving forwards. Until you have a home ground it is going to be hard, but in the County League it can be easier to deal with being homeless.

“It’s a shame for the supporters as they were really good on Saturday, they stuck with us to the end and supported us after the game.

“It’s not really for me to say how the season has gone. I just feel sorry for such a big club which almost definitely does not deserve to be at a level it looks destined to be at.”

The 34-year-old says his side will be going out to win their final two games against Ramsgate at home on Saturday and away to Tooting & Mitcham to cling onto hopes of a reprieve.

But Di Paola is expecting to be playing at Step 5 next season and says he and the club’s hierarchy have come to terms with that.

He added: “We are going to try and get up one place. We will just try and win our games and get some points. It will be a big ask to overtake both after the nature of the way things have panned out this year.

“What will be will be and it’s not worth thinking about too much. The FA will do what they will do and part of me thinks three will come up anyway.

“The logistics of it suggest that. There is one ready to come up from the Kent League, Combined Counties and County League.

“We cannot do anything about it, but it is frustrating not knowing as we want to start planning for next year with friendlies and other things.

“The Ryman League are pretty good in terms of sorting their constitution so by the end of May we should know where we will be. All that matters though is the club have accepted where it may be and we have accepted where it may be.

“All sorts of things could happen higher up the pyramid, we just want to find out really.”