Horsham FC announce first summer signings as former dual registration players join permanently

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Horsham FC have announced the permanent signings of former dual registration players Isaac Philpot and Reece Myles-Meekums upon the expiry of their contracts.

After joining the Hornets from Dorking Wanderers and Worthing respectively last season, the pair will re-join manager Dominic Di Paola's squad ahead of the upcoming 2024-25 campaign.

Making the move from Worthing back in September, to bolster the squad ahead of Horsham’s crucial cup games, Myles-Meekums made 40 appearances for the Hornets, scoring three goals including the opener against Hastings United in the Sussex Senior Cup final.

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Looking forward to starting next season at Hop Oast, Myles-Meekums said: “It feels good. I feel I've definitely settled in now, and it's nice to call this place home rather than not really knowing what's going on because of the dual registration.

Reece Myles-Meekums has signed for Horsham after dual-registering for the club last season. Picture by Natalie Mayhew, ButterflyFootballReece Myles-Meekums has signed for Horsham after dual-registering for the club last season. Picture by Natalie Mayhew, ButterflyFootball
Reece Myles-Meekums has signed for Horsham after dual-registering for the club last season. Picture by Natalie Mayhew, ButterflyFootball

“Last season was a bit up and down. With the dual registration, I wasn't allowed to play some of the cup games, which meant some of the boys did well and I wasn't able to get back in the side, so it was quite stop-start.

“I think the last six or seven games I showed what I was about and hopefully I can take the back end of last season's form into the start of next season and go from there."

Calling time on a four-year spell at the Reds, the midfielder explained: “At the time it was a little difficult because you're used to the surroundings and used to how things work, but the main thing for me is playing football.

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“So, when I was told I was surplus to requirements, it was not as hard as it may have been if I was playing and then they said I wasn't needed, so I could see the end coming."

Defender Isaac Philpot moves to Horsham from Dorking Wanderers. Picture by John LinesDefender Isaac Philpot moves to Horsham from Dorking Wanderers. Picture by John Lines
Defender Isaac Philpot moves to Horsham from Dorking Wanderers. Picture by John Lines

But now re-joining the Hornets, Myles-Meekums is excited to connect with the squad once again.

He said: “The tight-knit aspect of it is massive because as a team, if you're close, you're then going to give that extra ten per cent for each other.

“It definitely makes a difference when everyone gets on. We do stuff together outside of football as well, and that translates onto the pitch.”

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Myles-Meekums also spoke about his aims for the season ahead. He said: “We should aim to do the same as what we achieved this year. Going far in all the cup competitions, and try and go that one better in the league, whether that's finishing higher in the play-offs or challenging at the top."

Meanwhile, Philpot joined the Hornets in January, initially on loan from Dorking Wanderers, but was recalled back to the National League club to try and salvage their National League Premier status.

Ultimately unsuccessful, the defender re-joined the Hornets at the tail end of the season, with his substitute appearance at the Amex in the Sussex Senior Cup final marking his 18th appearance in yellow and green.

However, despite first being retained by the Wanderers, he soon realised he'd need to move elsewhere for more game time.

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He said: “I was speaking to Dom, and he really wanted me. I knew I had a place at Dorking even though starting every week wasn't guaranteed, but I said I'd stay until they signed a few defenders and I thought it would be even harder to start every week.

“So, the gaffer [Marc White] and I had a sensible conversation, and obviously Dom knows Marc as well, so we all came to an agreement.”

Knowing that meant he was leaving his hometown club. Philpot said: “That was the toughest point. I'd been there six years so that was the hardest thing… but all things come to a natural end and I thought it was better to try something new, and go on a new adventure.”

Philpot continued: “It's good. I know a lot of the boys are staying, which was something I wanted to know, because we got so close in the play-offs.

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“So I'm happy, I'm confident, I think we can kick on, and hopefully win the league. That's my ambition anyway.”

Speaking of his 'new' acquisitions, manager Di Paola was pleased to get them over the line.

He said: "Reece was our best player in the last few weeks of the season, and I'm looking forward to Reece getting a pre-season under his belt, and that should stand him in good stead.

“He has all the attributes to be a game changer week in, week out, and I know we will see the best of him.

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“Isaac was fantastic for us since coming in on loan, really fitting into the group and what we have been trying to do. I am very grateful to Dorking for making it happen."

Thanking the fans for their support last season, Philpot said: “When I came in on loan, you all made me feel really welcome. Everyone had lots of nice things to say, there's a lot of support there, so I appreciated it, it was great, and now I'm looking to kick on and hopefully give you some more good times."

And Myles-Meekums agreed: “Especially away from home, we get such a good following and they make such a great noise. It definitely makes a difference for us, especially if we need something in the dying embers and the fans are on our side, it definitely gives us that extra boost.”