Horsham manager Dom Di Paola has acted quickly to secure for next season some of the most important and influential players from the highly successful title winning squad that gained an immediate return to Ryman League football last term.
A solid back four line up of Ashley Jones, Charlie Farmer, Mark Knee and Alex Duncan have already put pen to paper and will turn out in Horsham colours next season.
Ashley Jones was Di Paola’s manager’s player of the season so it is no surprise that he was one of the first players to be approached. Jones will play alongside fellow centre back Farmer who last season clocked up over 100 career appearances for the Hornets. Another player with plenty of Horsham games under his belt, the reliable and popular Mark Knee, will fill one of the full back slots while Duncan takes the other.
These four are joined by two other influential players. Wide goal-scoring midfielder Darren Boswell has agreed to make his pace and ability available for the Hornets cause for the forthcoming season. In addition the goal machine and crowd favourite Terry Dodd will also again wear the green and yellow of Horsham and try to duplicate his 32 league goals in the Ryman next season. Hardworking utility player Adam Hunt, after a very solid season for the Hornets, has also agreed to another year, as has Tom Atkinson. However the biggest recapture for Di Paola by far is that of influential club captain Joe Shelley who despite a number of offers from other clubs has once again decided to be a Hornet.
In addition to last season’s returning familiar faces Horsham have also secured the services of 33 year old experienced midfielder Ollie Rowland who played for Ryman Premier club Burgess Hill last season. He will join teenage striker Charlie Pitcher who scored 25 goals for Loxwood last season and George Branford returns for a second spell having last appeared for the club in the 2014/15 relegation season.
There will undoubtedly be more additions as Di Paola puts together a squad capable of competing in the top half of the Ryman.
Dave Smith – Sports Editor