HORSHAM Football Club have parted company with manager John Maggs as part of swingeing budget cuts.
Maggs has been the Hornets manager for more than a decade, and has them playing at the highest level of football in their history in the Ryman Premier League.
But the club has blamed ‘substantial’ financial losses, caused by the ongoing search for a new ground, for the decision not to renew Maggs’ contract at the end of this month, bringing an end to weeks of speculation and uncertainty.
A statement released tonight by chairman Kevin Borrett said: “Horsham FC can no longer sustain annual financial losses at the level run up over the past six seasons whilst waiting for the new ground to come to fruition.
“Delays beyond any means of our control have meant that instead of being relocated in our new ground by now as planned for, we have to budget for at least another two season’s ground-sharing and managing our finances accordingly. There is no further room for any losses and by taking action now, we are ensuring the long term survival of Horsham Football Club.
“We are confident that we are getting close to being in a position to submit a Planning Application for the building of the new ground and facilities which will enable us to develop income streams that are unavailable to us whilst we ground share. We are presently constrained by confidentiality agreements regarding the new ground, but I am hopeful that a further statement of our intent can be made public later next week.
Presently, fixed costs almost exceed all of the club’s income from matchdays and from our Holbrook investment, to the point that we can no longer sustain the services of a full time manager. When John Maggs current contract expires at the end of May this year, we regret it will not be renewed.
“John is a professional and has served Horsham magnificently during his 11 years here. His achievements for the club are legendary.
“The next few seasons are critical and we could no longer provide John with the budget he would need to operate at the levels he is used to and neither can we afford to pay a full time salary.
“John himself has been aware of this position for some while and he has worked tirelessly to provide a solution to some of the financial issues. Unfortunately even with some additional sponsorship income, we remained well short of a viable target.
“We are immeasurably grateful to John, supported by his wife Janet, for his work with Horsham FC and I know our Supporters will come out in droves when he holds his Testimonial Match against Div 1 Champions Brighton and Hove Albion in July.
“Horsham Football Club is not just about the Ryman Premier First Team. We have a hugely successful Youth setup here with all of our young Junior teams winning Trophies this season. We will seek a Manager who is prepared to work with our Under 18’s squad to bring them through into the first team as well as senior players but they will have to be prepared to play for the next couple of seasons for little more than expenses.
“We know how difficult it is going to be, but until we get into a position where we can afford to pay more to players then it has to be the case. It will be an extreme challenge but we have to be prepared to fight.
“Once we are relocated and we build our income, then we can develop further. There are many Clubs out there who are feeling the financial pinch who, like us will have to compete with a shortfall of resources available to them.
“We are not a club with a wealthy benefactor and have to live within our means. We can only use the money we have and rely on our magnificent supporters and sponsors, to all of whom we are extremely grateful but we must go out and seek further sponsorship. Running a Football Club is a very expensive business just in travel to away matches at this level and as a for instance we would appeal to anyone who operates a Coach Company willing to provide us with transport next season. It is now time to consolidate, regroup and for that we ask our Supporters to get behind us to help see us through this difficult time.”
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See this week’s West Sussex County Times for full story