Exactly one year ago new Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola promised to bring back the glory days - now he wants to see how far the newly-crowned champions can really go.
The Hornets lifted the Premier Division trophy in emphatic style with a 11-1 victory over Hailsham Town to clinched their first title for 20 years.
They wrapped up the gong with a game to spare in superb fashion, going an unassailable eight-points clear to spark scenes of jubilation on the pitch at Gorings Mead.
Fans joined in with the revelry at full-time as Di Paola, who is in his first full year in charge, saw his side presented with the title and seal a return to the Ryman League at the first attempt.
The manager, who won the title at East Preston two seasons ago, has praised the club’s hierarchy, fans and now wants to build on a magical maiden season.
He said: “It’s great for the club as we shouldn’t really be in this league. I am not being arrogant but we shouldn’t be.
“We are a big club for this level. I don’t think you can argue with the level of support, to have it in this league is very odd and it’s nice that we have been able to do it at the first attempt.
“The support at this club for this level is extraordinary really, it’s good for them. They should enjoy their time as they come out and support them. It is just as important for them as anyone else.
“We have been desperate to do well, we always want to and we put so much pressure on the players, in some senses it’s probably quite hard playing for us. It’s great that we have managed to succeed from day one and from now, it is where it goes from here.
“It’s great to be able to repay the club’s faith in us as I am sure they could have got one or two other managers in who were available at the time. It’s great for them, the people on the committee have just had hard times which can’t be fun on them or all the volunteers.
“It’s for days like this, they can all enjoy, everyone has had pictures with the trophy and I think that’s great. I am really, really pleased and really proud.”
Di Paola had a short spell in the Ryman League with Hastings last season, but is keen to take his own side up himself having been denied that opportunity with East Preston due to ground grading issues.
He said: “Once it’s ratified we are in it, until it’s there it’s not there, but we want to have a crack at it. As to how many players will come with us I don’t know.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone yet, but we want to have a go at it and test ourselves and see if we can have a proper crack at it now.
“We are really keen to do that and have a good go at it.”
The boss also revealed he felt the defeat to runners-up Eastbourne Town and the following loss to Broadbridge Heath was the make-or-break point of their season.
He added: “After the Broadbridge Heath game I felt nothing was going our way, I thought it could go only one or two ways. Either it will fade or we will get stronger and learn from it.
“That week was a hard week, the Sunday after the Eastbourne Town game I was in bits really because I could see the finish line.
“The fact we lost that game really brought the team together. A blessing or a curse? I don’t know, but it was good that it happened.”
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