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DOVER ATHLETIC are delighted to announce that an agreement has been reached with creditors to pay off the CVA two years early.

The club were set for another two seasons of repayments at a rate of 3,000 a month but chairman Jim Parmenter and his wife Sally have made a lump sum available to clear the CVA once and for all.

A delighted Jim said: "At a meeting this morning of creditors and the Administrator, we have reached agreement that the club hopefully will be out of a CVA in a month. The club has been under CVA for four years and we had a year at least to go.

"Although the CVA was scheduled to finish in a year, it would have gone on longer than planned because of some of the small print in the original agreement, meaning we'd make further repayments. Therefore, we could have had another two years if we did not conclude the deal.

"Essentially there was a lot of money left to pay off over the period, which would've been added to. Sally and I decided that the only way we could take the club forward in the way we planned was to get rid of the CVA.

"We've made a lump sum available and put a proposal to the creditors through the Administrator over the last few months. And I am delighted to report that the majority of the creditors have voted in favour of it."

Now, for the first time since dropping out of the Nationwide Conference four years ago, the club will not be saddled with this monthly repayment of the CVA and restrictions that have been placed on Dover Athletic, which have acted as a massive hindrance for the board of directors.

Paying off the debts is only the first phase and then we want the playing squad to take the club forward - and that will cost money. We want to invest in the squad to take the club back up the leagues

Jim Parmenter
Dover Athletic chairman
However, the club still need to pay off a historical overdraft, which is now standing at around the 40k mark. Nearly 10k has also been wiped off that debt since the current board took over the club in January 2005.

Jim added: "Paying off the CVA improves our cashflow. Technically, we're 3k better off every month but, of course, we still have the historical overdraft to pay and we're going to have to work hard with the board and Supporters Trust to make sure there are enough funds to pay that off."

It has been a long hard road since the club slipped into a CVA and been a hectic 18 months since Jim and his consortium of local businessmen saved the club from going bankrupt.

The Whites chairman said: "We said when we took the club over, it was essential the supporters worked with the Trust and board to continue to support the club.

"Paying off the debts is only the first phase and then we want the playing squad to take the club forward - and that will cost money. We want to invest in the squad to enable to take the club back up the leagues."

Company secretary Dave Weber, who has been overseeing the financial accounts, said: "Clearing the CVA means there is one less thing to worry about. This will make a significant difference to the club.

Company secretary
Dave Weber
"We've got the overdraft to deal with and need to work hard to get rid of that. We're paying a set amount each month.

"It's looking promising. The accounts are with the auditors and they'll be available very shortly. Previously, the club was getting fined for filing its accounts late and it was costing several hundred pounds.

"A lot of hard work has been going into this, especially from the likes of Phil Henley, who has been working hard on getting the financial books sorted. He deserves a lot of credit."

Improving the squad and restoring Dover Athletic back to among non-league's elite clubs remains the ambition of Jim and his board of directors.

And he hopes that the club will be able to improve its non-football income revenue streams by improving Crabble's facilities. Plans for a two-storey complex, comprising of a much-improved social club, along with therapy and treatment rooms, as well as a new stand are already in place.

But Jim warns that the club will be heading into any projects such as that with a great deal of caution.

He said: "We're going to be very careful with things like this. It's a plan very much in the future. But we need to make sure that undertaking such projects do not get this club into financial trouble.

This is a huge boost to everyone at the club. We've all worked hard to get ourselves into this kind of position

Roger Knight
Vice chairman
"The first aim of this board was to get rid of the CVA. Our second aim is to rid the club of the overdraft debt. Then, running alongside that, we have another battle on our hands, winning enough points to get Dover Athletic back up the divisions - where it has potential to be successful.

"So, really, we're on a two-pronged attack. Being successful on-the-field and getting the balance sheets right."

Vice chairman Roger Knight said: "This is a huge boost to everyone at the club. We've all worked hard to get ourselves into this kind of position.

"I now urge everyone to continue helping us to clear the overdraft and to enable us to build the club back up."

Paul Harrison, the Supporters Trust's representative on the board, said: "On behalf of the Trust, I'd like to say a big thank you to Jim and Sally Parmenter for bringing the CVA to an end.

"This is a major moment in the life of Dover Athletic Football Club and I will certainly raise a glass tonight to the back of the CVA.

"I would certainly like to say a big thank you to all members of the Trust who have contributed substantial amounts of money during the time we were in the CVA to keep this club alive.

Whites fans have played
big part in clearing the CVA
"We must now look to the future and realise that the role of the Supporters Trust will be just as vital in the future.

"We are now in a position where any money we invest in the club has a direct effect. There is still the bank overdraft to clear, which we must not forget, but this is an important day and one I am certainly very proud to see."

Supporters have continued to back the club and season ticket sales are up on last season. At the last count, Dover Athletic had sold 160 tickets for the new season - up from 136 this time last year.

Now all that is needed is for Clive Walker and his team to achieve promotion to the Ryman Premier Division to provide a springboard for a rise up the leagues.

Jim said: "The squad is looking stronger, there's a lot of strength in-depth there. We've picked up injuries already but that can only open a door for other players to stake a claim for a place in the side.

"This season we've got to see players challenging for every position on the park. Everyone in the squad will have to play for their shirt. Last season that wasn't happening and players got a bit complacent.

"If they don't step up to the mark this year, Clive will put someone else in their place.

"Our gates will rise back up to 1,000 fans if we challenge for the title this season - and that will bring big financial benefits to the club as well.

"It's been a rollercoaster for us these past 18 months but we passionately believe that Dover Athletic can flourish and once again be a successful club at a much higher level. And I can't wait for the day, hopefully in a year's time, when we can go into a season, saddled with no debt whatsoever and having just celebrated a successful season."

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