DOVER ATHLETIC have completed the treble – securing the services of THREE new players in one swoop.
Former River End favourites Tony Browne, Lee Spiller and Tommy Tyne are all rejoining the club after one season at Welling and complete manager Clive Walker’s signings for next season.
Going in the opposite direction as part of the deal is winger Matt Carruthers.
Chairman Jim Parmenter will be holding a press conference at Crabble at 11am this morning (Saturday) where defender Browne and midfielder Spiller will sign two-year contracts. Tyne will also sign once he returns from his holiday after also agreeing to the same deal.
Tyne, 24, and Browne, 28, both played for Whites in the Conference and, along with Spiller, 26, were part of Clive’s team that reached the first round proper for the first time in the club’s history and finished third in the Dr Martens League Premier Division in 2002-03.
Jim said: “These three players were top of Clive’s summer transfer targets and we’re delighted to have secured their services for next season.
“They want to work hard for this club and help us achieve our target of winning the Ryman League Division One title next season and to then get us promoted the following season into Conference South. They have the very qualities Clive and I are looking for and it’s a superb boost to what is already a very talented squad of players.
“We are sorry to see Matt Carruthers leave. Ideally, we’d have liked to keep him here but we have to stick to a budget. The deal is fantastic business for Dover Athletic. We get three very good players for one. It really was a no-brainer and everyone at the club cannot wait for the new season to start.”
Spiller, who used to play for Margate and Gravesend, was released along with Browne 12 months ago and insists he was always going to return to Dover once the opportunity presented itself.
He said: “The three of us never wanted to leave the club in the first place. Tommy left before the season finished and we were released in the close season. Mick Kemp, the chairman then, said we had to move on and that was a shame, because we wanted to stay.
“We cannot believe that the club has dropped down to Ryman One and desperately want to help the club get back to at least Conference South.
“One of the main reasons for us wanting to come back is Clive Walker. He is a top coach and has so much experience, both as a player and manager. He is a winner and, although we’re dropping two leagues to come here, we believe that Clive can improve us as players.
“It’s important the young lads in the squad don’t get complacent. We’ve got a bit of experience and aim to help the youngsters through. I think we’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience in the side and we’re determined to win that Ryman One title next season. We’re a big club and should be playing at a higher level.”
Browne cannot wait to renew his special relationship with the Whites faithful. He has a good rapport with Dover fans and wants to do the business for them.
He said: “Dover are a huge club and get amazing support. I’ve always got on well with the fans here. Hopefully, we can put a few smiles on their faces by helping the team win enough matches to get promoted.
“I’m going to give 100 per cent to Dover and am really up for this. There are some good players in Ryman One so it’s not going to be that easy – but if we put in the hard work that Clive demands then we’ll have a very good chance of getting Dover back up the divisions.
“Jim Parmenter has done a good job since returning to the club and it’s important to have a proper businessman running the show. No disrespect to the former regime, because I’m sure they did their very best, but the set-up at the club now is much more professional than it was when we left.
“The chairman is a football man – and understands how clubs are run. He is ambitious and, with Clive running the team, it’s a good match.”
Browne, who is just finishing a three-year sports science course in South West London, cannot wait to link up with some of his former team-mates such as Craig Wilkins, Paul Hyde, Craig Cloke, Nicky Humphrey and co.
He said: “There’s definitely a good side there. I think with me, Lee and Tommy returning, it gives Clive an extra player in every area of the field. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Welling boss Adrian Pennock said: “These three lads are players I’m reluctantly letting go. The board have asked me to cut the wage bill – so I had no choice. I’m just happy to get Matt Carruthers in exchange, he’s a good player – a matchwinner on his day.
“I know Clive very well and we speak regularly. He asked me a while ago about players and it came up that these lads would be available – so I enquired about Matt and things moved on from there.”
Carruthers, a Whites fan himself, is sorry to be leaving but is excited by the new challenge of playing for Welling.
He said: “It was a tough decision and the ball ended up in my court. If I agreed to go, Dover get three players. If I stayed, then nothing would’ve happened. So there was a bit of pressure there but I’ve thought long and hard about it and decided this is a good deal for all parties.
“I get a new challenge and play in Conference South, Dover get three very good new players which will help them win the league next season and Welling achieve what they want.
“The Dover fans have been great and, who knows, I might be back one day.”
Clive added: “Matt has been a good player for us but this deal was too good to turn down. I want players at this club that I know will do the business and, in Lee, Tony and Tommy, we have. It’s going to be a tough season coming up but we now have a very strong squad to cope with it.”