Horsham chief executive relishing return to where they ‘belong’ and looks ahead to returning home

Horsham chief executive John Lines and Dominic Di Paola
Horsham chief executive John Lines and Dominic Di Paola

Horsham chief executive John Lines believes the club will ‘relish’ being back in a division they ‘belong’ in next season.

As the dust settles on the Hornets’ dramatic play-off win and promotion back to the Bostik League Premier Division two weeks ago on Friday, the excitement is building towards life back in the top flight.

DM1950678a.jpg. Football: Horsham v Ashford United in the Bostik League South East Division final. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190405-011203008

DM1950678a.jpg. Football: Horsham v Ashford United in the Bostik League South East Division final. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190405-011203008

The club will return after a seven year spell away from the division and come back in style in their brand-new home at Hop Oast – ending an 11 year stay without a permanent home of their own since leaving Queen Street.

Lines – along with the committee and chairman Kevin Borrett – has been championing that return ever since and he has been looking back on a stunning and unexpected season as well as forward to the future. The club stalwart (inset, right) said: “Two months from the end of the season we would not have predicted a play-off win but the management team and the players would not lie down and be satisfied, they went for it and what a result.

“There is not a closer-knit squad in the division than these boys. They fought for one another and gave their all right to the end.

“Great credit has to go to Dom and the management team for working on tactics that meant we could defend well with really good shape, build in midfield and score up front. It was great to see.

“Moving up into the Premier Division is where I personally feel we belong and in many respects from the board, the committee, to the team itself we are more than ready to face the new season with relish.

“Promotion really is the cherry on the icing on the cake now that we are moving back home to Horsham where we will have a facility to match and better most clubs in the Premier Division.”

As well as a new division, the club will be in charge of their own premises for the first time in more than a decade next season.

Because of this Horsham are looking for full-time staff and volunteers and sponsors to help deal with increased costs. Lines added: “We are going to need some full-time staff, several more stewards and there will be a host of jobs available to help the match-day committee so, if there is anyone out there who would like to help the club on a voluntary basis by all means make contact with us.

“Travelling to away games will be more expensive of course as we will need a coach to many of the venues.

“That is one of the more major expenses in the Premier Division compared the division below. It would be nice if we could get a sponsor or two to help us in that regard.”

Finally the chief executive outlined the fact they will be a community club and added: “We intend to make the clubhouse an exciting social hub of activity for all our club members – from the youth section and parents to the Lardy Boys, there will always be something going on, whether it be football on the large screen TVs, quiz nights or darts matches.

“We want people to see this club as belonging to them for their enjoyment and not just on match days.”