*BS*Today marks the three year anniversary since Chris Kinnear and Jake Leberl were brought back to Dover Athletic Football Club, and Jack O’Sullivan provides a statistical insight into their time at the club this time around.*BF*
The appointment of Chris Kinnear as manager on January 19th 2013, bringing former Whites defender Jake Leberl in alongside him as assistant, was met with widespread positivity. The club were sitting in third place in what was then the Blue Square South, but on the back of five consecutive defeats, the change in management was made.
Speaking at the time to BBC Radio Kent, Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter said: “*IS*The idea is to get into the Conference. We were clearly not happy with the situation the club found itself in. We had a board meeting on Friday where we took a decision to change the manager situation.
“We were on a losing streak and the manner of those losses were such that the board, to a man, were so concerned about the situation we felt we had to take the action that we did. Everybody knew what the targets were at the beginning of the season and there has been a lot of money invested to make it the year that it [a promotion challenge] happens.*IF*”
Handed the reins with around three months left of the season, that promotion challenge was tackled head-on. The side narrowly lost in the playoff final that season, to Salisbury City, but the form showed in the latter half of the season gave everybody confidence that the following season would be more successful.
A rollercoaster 2013/14 season ultimately ended in joyous scenes. In the FA Cup, Dover made it through to the Second Round, losing 1-0 away at MK Dons, but it was in their league campaign that real success was achieved. Barry Cogan’s penalty five minutes from time in the last match of the regular season, against Hayes & Yeading, propelled the club into the playoffs. A memorable semi-final victory against Sutton United will live long in the memory of all Whites fans, but that 3-0 win at Gander Green Lane was only the starter in one of the greatest meals that Dover Athletic have ever served up.
We are now able to confirm that it was indeed Nathan Elder who put the ball in the Ebbsfleet net, with his header sealing a 1-0 win to bring the club back to the top flight of non-league football.
Parmenter’s stated aim had been achieved, and the job was now in hand to consolidate the club within the upper echelons of the fifth tier. Against all odds, and despite a poor start to the 2014/15 season, a final position of eighth was achieved. Coupled with the club’s progress to the FA Cup Third Round, in which Premier League side Crystal Palace came to town at a sold-out Crabble, last season was evidence that Whites were well and truly back.
Over the summer, the mythical second season syndrome was touted far and wide, with many onlookers convinced that the club would struggle in the 2015/16 season. Despite those claims, the club continue to go from strength to strength and, on the three year anniversary of Chris and Jake returning to Crabble, Whites are fourth in the Vanarama National League, and in the last 16 stage of the FA Trophy.
Superb victories have been picked up on the road against Tranmere Rovers, Lincoln City, Gateshead and Torquay United amongst others, whilst performances – and results – at home have picked up under the duo’s stewardship.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the statistics and key matches underpinning the success of the last three years.
*BS*MATCHES PLAYED: 176
MATCHES WON: 86 (49%)
MATCHES DRAWN: 41 (23%)
MATCHES LOST: 49 (28%)
GOALS SCORED: 285
GOALS CONCEDED: 202*BF*
Albeit at a slightly lower level, Kinnear’s win-rate of 49% is better than Ronaldo Koeman’s record at Southampton, better than Roberto Martinez has in his tenure at Everton, and even beats what Kenny Dalglish achieved at Liverpool – so move over King Kenny.. King Kinnear is here!
Looking at the home and away breakdown of these statistics throws up an unusual statistic – Whites have scored more goals, more often, away from home than at Crabble.
*BS*MATCHES AT CRABBLE: 87
MATCHES WON AT CRABBLE: 45 (52%)
MATCHES DRAWN AT CRABBLE: 20 (23%)
MATCHES LOST AT CRABBLE: 22 (25%)
GOALS SCORED AT CRABBLE: 136
GOALS CONCEDED AT CRABBLE: 88*BF*
*BS*MATCHES AWAY FROM HOME: 89
MATCHES WON AWAY FROM HOME: 41 (46%)
MATCHES DRAWN AWAY FROM HOME: 21 (24%)
MATCHES LOST AWAY FROM HOME: 27 (30%)
GOALS SCORED AWAY FROM HOME: 149
GOALS CONCEDED AWAY FROM HOME: 114*BF*
*BS*NUMBER OF WINS TO NIL: 47 (27%) (25 times at Crabble, 22 away from home)
TIMES SCORED 2+ GOALS: 88 (50%) (41 times at Crabble, 47 away from home)
TIMES SCORED 3+ GOALS: 39 (22%) (18 times at Crabble, 21 away from home)
MATCHES SCORED IN: 136 (77%) (64 times at Crabble, 72 away from home*BF*
*BS*BIGGEST WIN: 8-0 vs Margate (3rd September 2013)
BIGGEST LEAGUE WIN: 6-1 vs Dartford (17th January 2015), 5-0 vs Nuneaton Town) (25th November 2014)*BF*
Thanks for the last three years, Chris and Jake – here’s to plenty more success!