‘I am taking a step back to take a step forward with Horsham. For me, it’s a case of who wants to take that step with me?’
Jon Meeney is an ambitious man by his own admission and it seems he hopes he has found a club to match his goals.
Horsham’s new head coach comes with pedigree. He’s extremely well known and respected in football circles across the county and was last year plying his trade in the National League South.
But the former Worthing joint manager, who led the Rebels to promotion into the Bostik Premier, left Eastbourne Borough at the end of last season after Horsham had caught his eye.
He answered a call from Hornets boss Dominic Di Paola to join the long-term plan at Horsham. With the new ground at Hop Oast taking place, it was an ‘exciting’ proposition that Meeney could not turn down.
The former Brighton and Chelsea coach explained: “After I left Worthing as manager I was in a bit of limbo really of what my next move would be as it was a bit of a premature departure from Worthing. I had known Jamie Howell for a long time and had the chance to go down to Eastbourne Borough as first team coach.
“Horsham then made an approach to Eastbourne. I have known Dom for many, many years both on and off the pitch. He asked if I could come in and be the man structuring the football model along with the exciting things that are happening at Horsham.
“I see some similarities between Worthing and Horsham with the ambition. I can see the short-term, middle-term and long-term aims for the future now we have a home.
“Horsham Football Club has a very good history and there are very good people involved, regarding the fans and volunteers, and the fan base is very big. They have been travelling home and away for the past few years, with the home always being away as well.
“There are certainly things to look at with what we did at Worthing, but at the same time you have to make Horsham it’s own.
“I see myself as a head coach. I am an ambitious individual and have been involved with senior management for eight years now, from a coach to first-team manager.
“The main bulk of my work is done on the training pitch; preparing the team with the football model. That’s why I am here, working on the shape of the team and making sure we are best prepared.”
Meeney and Di Paola last worked together along with assistant manager Adam Westwood during a successful spell at East Preston.
And while Meeney also had a long-running affiliation with Worthing, his recent years have been spent at a higher level. But despite different abilities and player commitment levels, he doesn’t see that as a problem, more of a challenge.
“I think as a head coach or manager you have to adapt to the audience,” he continued. “You have to realise the type of person you are dealing with and the players you are dealing with, that’s the art of it.
“I am taking a step back in divisions, but I am taking a step back to take a step forward with Horsham. For me, it’s a case of who wants to take that step with me? I have to be a role model and set a standard here to be the best we can be.
“We have to step up and get it right to make sure we are going into that new ground and are ready for what the future holds for Horsham. Those that want to work hard and be involved, good. Those that do not, maybe their time at Horsham has come to an end.”