*BS*Welcome to our guests from St Albans for what will be their last game in Conference South for at least a season. We wish them very well, whatever the future holds for their Club. *BF*
As for Dover Athletic, this season it is time to reflect on the reality of what has been achieved after a very difficult start. The circumstances of which are well documented “water under the bridge” and it is not necessary for me to comment further other than to say thank you to Hess for lending us Connor Essam in a time of need. He is a fine player and will go far in the game.
We have been in Conference South for two years now. In our first year, prior to the last game, our record was:
The Club lost over £100,000, mainly due to overspend on players wages, and we lost to Eastleigh at home in the F.A. Cup 3-5 in the early rounds.
This year our record is (deference to Chris Collins):
The Club has made a profit for the first time ever, player wages are on budget and we all enjoyed a fantastic journey to Huddersfield in the F.A. Cup beating two league sides convincingly on the way.
Just shows how perception is quite often different to reality. Conference South is a much tougher league this year than last with 9 or 10 teams all very capable of promotion, yet our league record under Martin Hayes is very similar to that under Andy Hessenthaler and our cup record is demonstrably better.
We had our poor games and disappointment last year as we have this year. Yet, Martin is the latest Dover Manager to be branded a villain by sections of our support, whilst Andy was always a hero. Why, given the two very similar records? Promotion from the Ryman League is a very different proposition to promotion from Conference South and the margins are very narrow.
Over the years I have seen many Managers verbally abused at Dover and many of these eventually hounded out of their job only to be replaced and more failure to follow. Even the great Chris Kinnear, towards the end of his time, was verbally abused after all he had achieved. I also remember Joe O’Sullivan, resigning after being spat at by supporters, Gary Bellamy, Clive Walker and others coming under vitriolic verbal abuse. What did this revolving doors of managers achieve? Three relegations in four years and near bankruptcy.
*Lpic2*Football is a game of opinions. There is no right or wrong in team selection. It is all opinion, but only one opinion counts. The recent abuse of Martin is something I find very hard to stomach. This kind of extreme reaction to losing a game seems inherent in the support base. Passion is one thing, but please be measured when the initial disappointment has passed. No one could have been more distraught than me after our 4-0 thrashing by Dartford on Monday, but that starting 11 are all good players earning good money and, on the day, they let the Club down. If you are a player you don’t need a manager or anyone else to motivate you for a local derby in front of a large crowd where a win may take you into the play offs.
At this Football Club, whilst I am Chairman, the players will not pick the team (even local heroes) and the only people who will decide on who is manager are myself and the Board.
We take those kind of decisions with the ‘bigger picture’ and the future in mind, and will not allow a manager to be hounded out as has happened in the past.
One thing I can promise you is that Dover Athletic is about to embark on a new and exciting stage of its development which will support progress both on the pitch and off, within the Community and amongst the younger members of the population.
Please continue your support, keep the faith and together we will reach our goals.