JOHN MAGGS has warned Horsham not to expect an easy ride in Divison One South next season.
Maggs parted company with the Hornets at the end of last season after more than a decade in charge and joined Crawley Down as assistant manager in August.
And having seen his new Anvils side struggle in early part of their debut Ryman South season before he recruited several former Horsham players, he had a stark warning for his former club Horsham, who were relegated from the Ryman Premier last Saturday.
“Horsham Football Club is still very very dear to me and I wish them all the best in the future with their new ground and new manager,” he said.
“The only thing I would say as a word of warning is they won’t find it all that easy in Division One South. There are some decent teams in the division and it’s not all that easy to get out of.”
With Horsham relegated to the same division as Crawley Down for next season Maggs will come up against his former side for the first time when the sides meet in two league fixtures.
It will be an emotional return for the man who guided Horsham into the Ryman Premier six years ago, but left after the playing budget was slashed to expenses at the end of the 2010/11 season and the two parties could not agree terms.
“I’m very sad to see the club go in the direction they have,” Maggs said. “But with the new ground in the offing they probably have got a future ahead of them and I wish them all the best.
“Of course it will be emotional (going back to Horsham), and with a number of the players being former Horsham it will no doubt add to the interest of the fixture. It’s nothing personal but obviously I’m with Crawley Down now so I’ll be out to get a result first and foremost.”
Since he has been at Crawley Down the side have pulled away from the Ryman South drop zone to safety, and on Wednesday night they shocked Eastbourne Borough to reach the Sussex Senior Cup final, which will be played at Brighton’s Amex Stadium on May 12.
In the starting XI were a number of faces familiar to Horsham fans, including Anthony Storey, Tom Graves, Hassam Nyang, Jack Page and Mark Zwadski, while Gary Charman turned out for Eastbourne.
Maggs built up a special bond with the Horsham fans and he said he was take aback by the messages he had received from them following the cup success.
“I must have had around 15 texts from Horsham supporters and Horsham committee members congratulating me on Wednesday night,” he said. “I’ll look forward to seeing a lot of the fans next season because they always travel well, in my opinion the Horsham fans remain the best in Non-League football.”