Fixture fury - Horsham’s Boxing Day Guernsey trip is blasted as ‘madness’

Horsham v Guernsey - manager Dominic Di Paola 07-01-17. Steve Robards  Pic SR1637967 SUS-170701-173326001
Horsham v Guernsey - manager Dominic Di Paola 07-01-17. Steve Robards Pic SR1637967 SUS-170701-173326001

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has fixture fury, blasting the decision for them to have to travel away to Guernsey on Boxing Day as ‘madness’.

The Bostik League fixtures were released last week and the Hornets have been dealt the inconvenience of the festive flight to the Channel Islands.

Away trips to the club, who have spent four seasons in the South Division, mean 7am flights from Gatwick and normally not returning home until 11pm the same day.

The Footes Lane Stadium is described on the club’s website as the island’s national stadium and also sees teams forced to make midweek trips to face the Green Lions.

While the away day is one that is looked forward to by plenty of supporters, Di Paola has bemoaned the logistics of the trips.

And he feels at non-league and non full-time level having to travel the two hour and 20 minute round flight the day after Christmas is too much.

The Horsham boss said: “The frustrating one is Guernsey away on Boxing Day, I just think it’s ridiculous. Everyone raves about the Guernsey trip, but I just do not get it - why they are in the league.

“It’s great for the prestige having a club like that, but to ask players at this level - any level up to full-time football - to travel on Boxing Day to what is to all extents, a different country almost, and leave their families is ridiculous.

“I like the Bostik League a lot, they are very professional and accommodating where ever possible, but it’s a lot to ask. Even for our followers and supporters as well, as flights are a lot more expensive at that time.

“I really do not know if we can do anything. It’s causing the club a few concerns in general.

“I do not think it is right at this level, the boys have only got a few days off over Christmas as there aren’t many bank holidays, for some it will just be Christmas Day and Boxing Day off from work.

“Asking players to be at the airport early in the morning and then back late, we weren’t back until 11pm last time, it’s madness. We will have to see what can be done.”

The club has confirmed they are looking into changing the date and are in discussions with Guernsey and the league.

Horsham will start their campaign away to Molesey on Saturday, August 12, before hosting league new-boys Shoreham at their new temporary Culver Road home the following Tuesday.

On New Year’s Day, Lewes will be the visitors to the Sussex FA headquarters. While they conclude the campaign at home to Whyteleafe on April 28.

Di Paola added: “I have really only looked at our first three. I never look too far ahead as there are always rearrangements and postponements.

“Nothing really jumps out of the page. Not much is too exciting about Molesey away, but you are never going to get a Lewes or someone on the opening day as they are all saved for bank holidays.”