*BS*JIM PARMENTER has urged stayaway Dover fans to return to Crabble and get behind Andy Hessenthaler’s men.
*BF*Despite two runaway championship wins – along with successive promotions – average gates are at their lowest since Hess took charge of the club nearly three years ago.
Last night’s gate of 655, which witnessed Dover slip to a 2-0 defeat against Worcester, has alarmed the Whites chairman, who along with his wife Sally and the board invested heavily in the club since saving it in 2005.
And Jim could not hide his bitter disappointment, not only with the result last night but also the way fans have deserted the club at the first sign of a blip.
He said: “To say I am disappointed is an understatement. We were gutted with the result and I feel personally let down – but that’s football. It kicks you in the teeth sometimes.
“However, I am particularly worried about the massive decline in our gates. They are hitting alarmingly low levels – and there’s no way we’ll be able to sustain our current budget next season if the trend continues.
“I will slash the wage bill by at least 33 per cent if the support is not there.
“We feel let down because in five years the club has been rescued from going bust, been put in a healthy financial position, seen a new Centre Spot clubhouse built, along with new VIP facilities, had a team that has won back-to-back promotions at a canter and is now just a few points behind the play-off spots with a game in hand!
“It’s disappointing that the gates have dropped so far. We had a long period of not having a home game, then we had the bad weather – and the support has just dwindled.
“We need to all be in this together. And it’s disappointing that even when we were fourth we only managed 800-odd against Maidenhead.”
The Whites chairman admits that the club may have under-estimated the type of player needed at Blue Square South level.
He said: “I don’t think it’s a big jump from Ryman Premier to Blue Square South. It’s just a case of getting the right type of player.
“At this level, you need pace, power and strength. We’ve perhaps been a bit lightweight this season.
“But Hess is bringing in the right type of players now – so we’re happy with that. It’s just going to take a bit of time to build the right team.
“However, we can *BS*STILL *BF*go up this season. It’s not over yet. If we can grab a play-off spot – it becomes a three-game season. Anything can happen.”
Meanwhile, Lee Browning has been released by mutual consent. The winger needs an operation to an on-going groin problem and his deal expires in the summer.
It has been decided that he will not be offered a new contract next season – so he has been released early from his deal to enable him to have an operation.