DANNY CHAPMAN has signed a new two-year contract and says he never had any intention of jumping ship if the club failed to get promoted.
Danny was gutted, watching from the touchlines, as Whites gave away a 2-0 lead during the first half, courtesy of some slack defending.
And after Dover eventually lost the game 3-2, despite a late rally, Chapman told his team-mates: “Never forget this day. Remember how it feels to lose.”
Tonbridge players, understandably, were jubiliant in their dressing room after clinching promotion to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.
The celebrations could be clearly heard in a subdue and quiet Dover changing room.
Danny said: “We could hear them in high spirits – it was painful. The lads were all very down and I had the right hump, because we gave it to Tonbridge on a plate, to be honest.
“You can’t give away three softs goals in a match like that and expect to win. I told the lads they have to remember the hurt of losing this game and come back next season to not let that happen again.
“We have the best team in the division, when we’re full strength, and to not have gone up automatically was a big disappointment.
“But I don’t know too many teams who would’ve grabbed a promotion play-off spot with the number of players we had out missing. Other managers have been phoning Clive, asking how he managed to do it.
“To have got to the final was an achievement, despite the problems. But, in reality, we should’ve either won the league or finished second to go up automatically.
“That is now the challenge that faces this squad of players. We have to come back next season and win the league. We have to kill teams off and not draw so many games. The 14 draws we got this season is what has cost us promotion.
“There were so many of those games we should’ve won – and that’s what the boys need to learn. You have to kill off these sides.”
Danny signed a new contract last week before our fate for next season for sealed.
He said: “I’m delighted to be staying. I never wanted to leave. Promotion was never going to have any bearing on my future here.
“I like Clive Walker and Jim Parmenter too. They’re both good football people and I want to help them make this club successful.
“They want me to play a more senior role next season. Help out in some of the coaching sessions and changing room on matchday.
“Coaching is not something I want to throw myself into at the moment, because, at the age of 31, I still think I’ve got a few years playing left. But I am only too happy to get a bit more responsibility.”
Danny feels so sorry for fans who have been tremendous this season.
He said: “We had far more fans at Longmead than Tonbridge. They’re not used to seeing big crowds up there. But that’s what Dover Athletic is all about – the fans.
“We’ve let them down by not getting promoted this season and I know we’re adding some quality to the sqaud next season, which will give us a better chance of achieving our target.”