Martin Read – Sports Reporter
John Lines, Horsham Football Club’s amiable CEO is bringing down the curtain on his illustrious reign, telling the District Post: “I’m very proud with what we’ve achieved at our wonderful new ground and now that that is well and truly launched the time is right for me to stand aside. My role has been very much as a negotiator to secure our move to The Camping World Stadium and with that done I am very confident that the outstanding new young blood on the Committee – Sam Borrett and Sean Bravery – will carry the club forward with their dynamic fresh new ideas.”
John continued: “I’m not going to be far away – I’ve got one or two ongoing things to finalise with the Council, and I’ll be carrying on behind the camera at matches. I’m really looking forward to football restarting and to coming along as a supporter.”
In Horsham’s nomadic years leading up to the opening of the new ground, John Lines worked many hours for the Hornets, day and night, so what is he going to do with his new found spare time? John says: “I’ve just been fishing with my son for the first time in years and in between playing golf I’ve completed 30 or so water colour paintings recently!”
Nobody has done more for local sport than John Lines, as rightly celebrated on Horsham FC’s website.
There are no immediate plans to appoint a new CEO, the club’s statement reading as follows: “After serving on the Board of Directors for the past 15 years, Horsham Football Club CEO John Lines has decided to step down from his role ahead of the new season.
John has played an integral role since joining the Board back in 2005, with his tireless focus on securing our new home finally coming to a successful end when we received the keys to The Camping World Community Stadium in June last year.
As well as his behind-the-scenes role, John is often found on a match days behind the lens, as our club photographer, a role which he will be continuing in the future.
Speaking on his decision, John said: “The club will forever be a part of my life. Through the ups and downs of the process that saw us into our fantastic new ground, I felt I could contribute fully to all of the questions and arguments racked up by HDC and others and that’s where I felt my most comfortable.
“We are past that now and the club needs a wholly different kind of director.
“Now that Sam (Borrett) and Sean (Bravery) have joined the board, it has been a revelation to me just how clear their aspirations and their brilliant ideas for the future will project the club to great success and it is more of this younger breed the club needs.
He added: “I feel I have done my bit but now I want to move from the front line into the fold of being a supporter and simply enjoy the buzz.”
Chairman Kevin Borrett said: “The club owes a huge debt to John for his 15 years’ service on the Board and I know everyone will want to thank him for that.
“On a personal level, we grew particularly close when John and I drove forward the plans for a new ground and resolving issues at the Holbrook site with a quiet tenacity when doors seemed to be constantly slammed in the face of HFC.
“Property development was his forte, combined with his passion for action photography. The club has been truly fortunate to have had him devote so much of his time over a long period to its service. His quiet, unassuming manner also endeared him to everyone.”
Kevin confirmed why all parties feel this is the right time for a change. He continued: “Today we are now at the point where the final planning permissions associated with building the ground are largely complete and other legacy issues likewise.
“The focus is now very much on building our all age community club and operating our facilities.
“That task has also grown in nature, given the new normal that will emerge following the COVID-19 outbreak and John therefore concluded that now is the right time for him to stand back as writing the next chapter of HFC history is going to be a longer term activity than just the next 12 months or so.
“John is not leaving the club, but instead wants to be able to enjoy match days with his camera, just without the long daily hours he has otherwise been committing on HFC matters.”
With attentions now turning to next season, whenever that may be, we are working hard, and safely, to prepare the stadium and how we may operate when it re-opens.
This includes how we are “raising the bar” behind the bar, to ensure our hygiene levels are what they need to be, and our youth plans for next season are also continuing to develop.
The future is exciting but, from all at Horsham Football Club, please stay safe in the meantime.”