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IAN HENDON has quit as Dover Athletic manager after just 18 DAYS to join Gillingham as No2 to Andy Hessenthaler.

The bombshell news broke during a pre-arranged meeting between chairman Jim Parmenter and the new boss at Crabble, which was designed to discuss transfer targets this summer.

Hendon who publically committed to the job had not yet signed his one-year contract as there was not enough time before he went away on vacation.

Jim told Ian was going to sign the contract while he was away. I had allowed him to take it on holiday as he had not only agreed to take the job but attended a press conference publically committing himself to Dover Athletic. I had no reason to doubt his integrity.

But then we had a meeting where he told me: Youre not going to like this, but Ive been offered a job at Gillingham so Im leaving.

I was stunned, shocked and upset and couldnt believe what he was telling me.

Jim admits he is disappointed with the recent chain of events.

He said: Im upset because we released Andy from his contract here to enable him to take the Gillingham job.

But since then he has taken Darren Hare from our youth academy, which was a huge blow for us and Ive spent the last two weeks putting a new structure in place, which included Ian Hendon.

And now he has actually taken our manager, the person he gave a reference to for the job in the first place!

As far as Im concerned, a line has been crossed.

Jim expects to make a quick appointment and is at an advanced stage with a former top-flight player at a big-four club, who wants the job.

He said: Im hoping to have the new man in place very quickly. Thankfully, I was on good terms with all the original applicants for the job and been able to go back to some of them."

It has been a bad week for Dover, who are also looking for a new kit manufacturer after Vandanel went out of business.

And the Whites chairman added: Now is a time for us all to stick together. We have our backs against the wall and its vital everyone rallies around the club at this tough time.

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