Why Hugo had to go

THE CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding Hugo Langton’s sacking were ‘deeply regrettable,’ Horsham chief executive John Lines has admitted.

He described Wednesday’s decision as ‘terribly difficult’, but responding to fans’ criticisms over the timing of the dismissal he insisted a radical change was urgently needed for the good of the football club.

“At the heart of the decision, as unpalatable as it was to make, was the inability to win games of football,” Mr Lines said.

“For the good of the football club we had to make a change, especially after Saturday’s performance which everybody, including Hugo, felt was unacceptable.

“Results were the catalyst, effectively we felt we were in free fall, and we didn’t want to go into the summer on the back of losing game after game, with a defeatist attitude.

“We needed a radical change and the only way to achieve that is a change of manager.

“It was a terribly difficult decision to let Hugo go, he’s a wonderful man, very likeable and an extremely good coach. But we had to shake things up.”

Hornets fans have expressed their anger with the way the matter was handled, with Langton only finding out he had been dismissed via a phone call from his goalkeeper.

Simon Colbran has already been installed as Langton’s replacement after resigning from Redhill earlier that day.

The County League club quickly put an angry statement on their website, saying they were ‘disgusted’ with a lack of loyalty and with the way the matter had been handled, and it was from this, Mr Lines said, that news reached Langton before the club could contact him.

“It’s just unfortunate that, with technology as it is, it got splashed about the internet before we could speak to Hugo, that’s what was upsetting and deeply regrettable,” Mr Lines said.

Horsham FC chairman Kevin Borrett has since had an ‘amicable’ conversation with the chairman of Redhill, and relations had improved, Mr Lines said.

While fans have expressed mixed feelings about Langton’s dismissal, they have almost universally welcomed the arrival of Colbran, who is proven at Ryman South level, having led Worthing to the play-offs in 2010 before quitting after his budget was slashed.

“It’s not just about winning games for the rest of this season,” Mr Lines continued, “which won’t make a great deal of difference, it’s more about going into the summer with a positive approach.

“We believe giving Simon 12 games to put over his philosophy was the way to achieve this.

“We think he’s an excellent man for the job to bring us out of our rut and in the long term can go on to achieve great things.”

Colbran will hold his first training session with the players tonight (Thursday), and Mr Lines said 12 players had so far confirmed they would be attending, with none indicating they wanted to leave.

He is expected to act swiftly to bring his own players into the club, and will know the state of his squad after tonight’s session.

Colbran’s first match in charge of Horsham will be Saturday’s home game against Tooting & Mitcham, and Mr Lines said he was ‘absolutely certain’ there would be no problems fielding a team.