Claims lack of 3G is damaging youth players’ progression

Match called off 13-02-16. Pic Steve Robards  SR1604549 SUS-160215-111221001
Match called off 13-02-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1604549 SUS-160215-111221001

A lack of a 3G surface in the town is putting a ‘big dent’ on the progress of young talented footballers, it has been claimed.

Horsham’s under-18 youth side have had a staggering ten consecutive matches postponed so far this year due to waterlogged pitches and the bad weather.

Due to the Hornets’ ongoing plight to acquire a new home, the under-18s are forced to play their midweek Ryman Youth League matches at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.

Seven of the ten matches were scheduled to be played on the Horsham District Council owned and maintained pitch and were all postponed.

That has left a bitter taste in the mouth especially after the council refused the club planning permission for a new home at Hop Oast last year - a site that included a community-use all-weather 3G surface.

The under-18s finally played their first match in three months on Sunday at a neutral ground - where they lost 5-0 to Arundel in the Dennis Probee Youth Cup semi-final.

Youth secretary Annie Raby said: “The fixture pile up is horrendous, the under-18s had to rent Sussex FA’s 3G pitch on Sunday to get there semi-final cup game on which they lost and the postponements, I’m sure, had a contributing factor as the lads haven’t played a competitive game since December 13, 2015.

“The Ryman Youth League is very competitive and is a good level of youth football and the Horsham side is suffering with not having a home.

“It’s not only Horsham under-18s who are suffering, all the younger age groups are and when they are playing, the pitches are in poor condition which hampers their progression.

“Over the years, there has been disappointment with the council denying planning permission for Horsham FC, it is also denying Horsham’s talented local lads the opportunity of playing at a decent level of football and having a big dent on offering all-ability football for their town’s club.”

Horsham FC are currently drawing up a new planning application with new unnamed developers for a new home.

Hop Oast remains their number one priority in terms of a site, but they are also exploring other options.

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