Summer-target signs on, but two Horsham fans’ favourites depart

Harvey Sparks in action for Worthing. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Harvey Sparks in action for Worthing. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Horsham’s squad has continued to reshape in the past week with the impressive addition of the talented Harvey Sparks from Bognor Regis.

The left-sided 22-year-old was one of the stars of Worthing’s promotion-winning team of 2016, before joining Bostik League Premier Division side Bognor in the summer.

DM1884154a.jpg Football: Bostik League South East. Horsham v Haywards Heath (at Lancing). Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-180827-200101008

DM1884154a.jpg Football: Bostik League South East. Horsham v Haywards Heath (at Lancing). Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-180827-200101008

However, the new arrival has been offset by the loss of two faces that have been top performers in recent seasons as well as fan favourites.

Darren Boswell and Alex Duncan have both announced they will be leaving the club.

The winger and full-back both joined the club in 2015 and played integral roles in their Southern Combination Premier Division title win the following season.

Both players had played under Dominic Di Paola previously for a number of years at other clubs and the Hornets boss admits he is sorry to see them leave.

Football, Ryman League South Division: Horsham FC  Alex Duncan. Pic Steve Robards  SR1626382 SUS-160920-151322001

Football, Ryman League South Division: Horsham FC Alex Duncan. Pic Steve Robards SR1626382 SUS-160920-151322001

On Boswell, Di Paola said: “From a personal point of view it’s horrible when anyone goes. Ash Jones was a great player for me, Mark Knee a great player for me and Kev Keehan a great player for me, Bozzy is another one like that.

“You do not want to see these guys go, but there comes a point when as a club we are changing and Bozzy is a player that needs to be playing and needs to be loved. I think he came back pre-season and was not enjoying his football and looking over his shoulder for the first time with us.

“I don’t think that suits him and there is nothing wrong with that, players have their own way of playing. Some players have to play every week and Bozzy is one of those.

“I’m gutted to see him go, he is a lovely lad and he is a loss to us of course it is. It sad when anyone goes who you have had for a long time, but it’s the nature of football – the worst part about it.”

On Duncan, Di Paola explained: “Obviously it’s sad to see him go, he’s been superb for us over the years and very much an unsung hero for the club.

“He’s played for me for the best part of eight years so to lose him it’s difficult, but he understands that it’s hard to keep the dedication up at this level, and what with trying to get over injury and the fact he’s now got a baby and added responsibilities with commuting to and from work.

“Unfortunately, football doesn’t leave a lot of time for sentiment, and as much as I love the man, we both accepted it was time to move on.”

But the addition of summer target Sparks has been described as another ‘quality addition’, by the club boss. He added: “We tried to get Harvey in the summer and I thought I had, but Bognor came in for him. I said to him ‘stay in touch’, he phoned me a week ago and asked if I would still have him and I would be stupid not to.

“We have lost Boz and lost George Landais, so we had a couple of spaces in our squad with him and Jack (Brivio) coming in, they are quality additions to what we are trying to do here.

“It’s now a case of the strongest survive for the starting 11, if people play well we will play the same side and they have to live with it, but if people aren’t delivering we have guys that can come in.”