*BS*ANDY HESSENTHALER has been unveiled as Dover Athletic’s new manager.
*BF*”Hess” is a well-known name in football – having played for Watford, Gillingham, Hull and Barnet in an illustrious Football League career spanning nearly 20 years.
Andy, 41, also had a four-year spell as player-manager for the Gills, successfully keeping the club in the Championship against all the odds.
He hung up his boots from playing professional football this summer after a short spell at League Two club Barnet.
Chairman Jim Parmenter said: “Getting Andy to manage our side is something of a coup for us. He’s a top manager and been successful at Championship level. He is a Kent lad through and through – and we’re very excited about what Hess can bring to this club.
“He is without doubt a big name in the game – and we’re a very ambitious club.
“We have challenged Andy to get this club promoted up the divisions. We want to reach the Football League one day – that’s always been Dover Athletic’s ultimate ambition. What an achievement that would be if Andy can take us all the way.
“Hess is well up for the challenge and is very excited about it. I’ve been in contact with him several times during the past few years when we’ve tried to get him here as a player.
“We’ve spoken at great lengths about what we want to achieve at Dover Athletic and Andy can’t wait to get to work.”
*Q1*However, after two seasons at Ryman One level, everyone involved with Whites know what a tough division this is to get out of.
And Hess, who will be Dover Athletic’s 20th managerial appointment, is under no illusions how difficult winning promotion this season will be.
He has taken the position on a full-time basis and will combine his managerial duties with a commercial and community role.
Hess said: “I’m very excited about the challenge that lies ahead here at Crabble – and cannot wait to get started in helping this club get back up to where it belongs.
“Dover Athletic is a very big club and with no disrespect to other clubs should be playing at a much higher level.
“There’s a lot of work to be done and it’s going to be taking up a lot of my time this summer. It’s going to be a big job and I’m so excited to be wearing more than one hat. It’s a chance to help mould the club from top to bottom.”
Hess will be registering as a player and added: “I played 30-odd games last season in League Two at Barnet, so believe I still have something to offer.
“However, I am more focused on the managerial side of things – that is my main priority here.”
*BS*BACKGROUND FOR MEDIA
*BF*Dover Athletic – a former Conference National club – have spent two seasons in Ryman League Division One since ending a run of three relegations in four years due to a cash crisis.
*Lpic1*A new regime, headed by chairman Jim Parmenter, took over the club in January 2005 with the sole aim of restoring Whites back among non-league’s elite and clearing historic debts.
Debts that were once in the region of £250,000 have now almost been completely cleared and, after two failed attempts at bouncing back to the Premier Division, the club decided to seek a new manager.
New Whites boss Andy Hessenthaler played for Watford, making 195 Football League appearances, scoring 11 goals, before moving for £235,000 to Gillingham in 1996, where he went on to make 273 league appearances and scoring 20 goals in a 10-year spell at the club, He finished his professional playing career with Barnet, where he made 35 league appearances.
*BS*Watch out for exclusive audio coverage of the press conference held at Crabble and interviews with Andy Hessenthaler and Jim Parmenter here on doverathletic.com*BF*