Non League football does not, and probably never will, get the respect it deserves. But in my short experience covering Horsham FC, I can confirm there are some incredibly talented people involved at football clubs all across the Non League ladder.
Horsham Football Club are going through a transitional period at the moment. Long-term boss John Maggs departed in the summer, and Justin Luchford came in, having to build a squad from virtually nothing, with no money.
I got to know Justin via post-match interviews, and he impressed me. His brutal honesty not only made my job of writing match reports easier, but helped give the supporters a real insight into what was actually going on at the club, and even behind the scenes – to an extent. Sometimes I feel like Premier League clubs distance themselves so far from the supporters, it becomes almost unbearable to follow. You’re never too sure what is actually going on if you support a Premier League club, and I am speaking from experience. So Justin gave me a real insight into the goings on at a football club and I believe he will go on to be a very good manager at a high level of football.
However, after a string of poor results, Luchford left, leaving assistant Hugo Langton the job – for now. From a personal point of view, I hope Horsham appoint Langton full time. Having had the pleasure of speaking to the UEFA A-licensed coach on more than one occasion, his passion for the game, and the enjoyment he gets from seeing this group of players progress, is refreshing.
Langton, though, has an incredibly tough job on his hands. At this level, you expect to be paid, but it is well documented that nobody is profiting from the club at the moment. Everybody involved with the football club is doing it for the love of the game, and the future of their own career. There are a set of people committed to ensure that Horsham become a force in Non League football, and with a little bit of luck along the way, I believe this can happen.
Horsham currently play their football at Gorings Mead, the home of the other side in the town, Horsham YMCA. If I were to give you the full details of why the Hornets are in this situation, I could be here for a while, but I will give you an idea. Horsham left their old ground, Queen Street, but had nowhere else to go. They managed to sort out a ground share with Worthing, but as you can imagine, this was less than popular with the loyal supporters of the club. As mentioned, they now play at Gorings Mead, the home of their lower league rivals, YMCA.
So what now? There have been a variety of different proposals and ideas as to what Horsham FC do next, but in all honesty, I couldn’t confirm with any authority just what will happen. One thing is for sure, this club needs a ground of their own, so they can start to attract the kind of crowds that will bring in significant revenue. Horsham are a well-respected football club, currently lying in the relegation zone of the Ryman Premier Division, but there is a definite feeling that with a few years of sustained stability, the Conference could be calling. This season was always going to be difficult, and the success of the Football League lot up the road (Crawley Town) is doing nothing to settle the loyal Hornets, but Horsham have the right people in the right places to ensure future success.