Hornets’ Chairman Kevin Borrett adds his welcome to Crawley Town ahead of today’s official ground opening and expresses his delight at being ‘back home’.
“Today marks the official end of Horsham Football Club’s eleven year nomadic journey following its departure from the much loved town centre Queen Street ground in 2008, and a near thirty year search for a new permanent home. Once again it gives me tremendous pride to be able to thank everyone who is part of this wonderful club for their support and contribution to making this possible.
Before I reflect further on that, let me welcome Crawley Town who are our nearest senior neighbour and I’m delighted they agreed to play us in our official opening game. This is also part of a wider agreement between both clubs which will see CTFC train here at our Hop Oast location on weekdays and further matches between the two clubs. I also think there is potential to expand this relationship even further as we are not direct competitors. For HFC, our ambition is quite simply to be the best non-league club at all levels in West Sussex or should that just be Sussex in general?
I’m excited by the opportunity the club has working with Camping World to promote our new home. The naming rights deal with them was conceived as a partnership that goes beyond the financial support they give HFC, important as that is. Today is not their first visit to the club and I hope they enjoy the match as much as they did the play-off final in May! I also want to personally thank Paul Osborn for building this important relationship.
I’m also delighted that so many sponsors who supported us in recent years whilst away from the town will be represented around the ground today. I thank them for their longstanding support and offer a warm welcome to those organisations who are also now sponsoring us in our new home. I hope this will be a long term relationship to mutual benefit.
I was overwhelmed by the positive comments received at last week’s inaugural game here against Hartley Wintney. The board has hoped that supporters would be genuinely impressed by the facilities we now have and that expectations would be exceeded. That does seem to be the case. However, what was even more pleasing were the number of comments made last week about how this really does feel like “our home”. That is important as everyone involved with this club knows how special it is and the tradition it represents, stretching back some 140 years.
The club is an integral part of the fabric of Horsham and a community club. Watching our younger generation (and hopefully future senior team members) play on the Jack Scrase community pitch just reinforces that one club identity.
I need to pay tribute to my fellow board members who have each played a vital part in bringing this vision to reality over the last decade and the HFC committee members for their untiring support and encouragement. I do want to pay tribute in particular to John Lines for his contribution in bringing about today. Only he and I know some of the most lonely moments we faced in getting to this point, when we simply had to believe the impossible really would happen and finally, it did! I also want to acknowledge our late president, Frank King, for his unstinting support and encouragement in this regard.
The wonderful facilities we now have have been carefully developed not just to give HFC the infrastructure it needs for the future, but sympathetically designed where possible to include “echoes of Queen Street”. Obviously there is more we can do to enhance our new home. Please do offer your ideas but also, please be patient.
On a personal level, I feel immensely privileged to be part of this club and introduce the next chapter in the HFC story, and humbled by the confidence you have had in me as chairman for the last ten years.
As we enter our new home, there will inevitably be new challenges to overcome and adjustments to be made. Thank you everyone for being part of such a wonderful community football club.”
Pictured: Kevin Borrett and Camping World’s Managing Director Nathan Hyde shake hands on the deal that secures stadium naming rights for the next three years