One of the highlights of getting out of the National League is not having to cross swords with that awful outfit from the south coast, Dover Athletic.
Whilst we made many friends in the National League (Maidstone, I’m looking at you), it was hard to find anything endearing at all about the rabble from Crabble. Their chairman was bullish and dismissive of Lincoln, their manager would launch into unprovoked slathering rants and even for visiting fans it was an inhospitable place that offer few welcomes.
Although I played it down recently, them not making the play-offs was possible the icing on the cake, or at very least the last few crumbs of icing left on the plate once the cake has been eaten. Ricky Miller will walk away for nothing in a couple of days time leaving them one saleable asset down and of course facing another season of trying to gain Football League status. As far bigger clubs toil away in the National League North, they still feel as though they are deserving of a Football League place. The table doesn’t lie, and this season the table says you were not good enough.
Kinnear was his usual self when speaking to Kent Online today, full of self-importance and desperately trying to uphold that ‘poor little us’ attitude.
“For three years we have been the most consistent side in the league –eighth, play-offs and (now) sixth. I don’t see anyone else who has been at the top for so long.”
Correct mate, because most of the teams that have been there for that long have gone up. We may have arrived at the party late, but three years ago Dagenham and Tranmere weren’t in this division. Last season Cheltenham and Grimsby were… being consistently in the top eight isn’t an achievement unless you build on it. This season, with Lafayette, Miller and Emmanuel up top you had a chance to build on it, and you blew it. Most National League clubs would have made the most of the embarrassment of riches across the front line.
“I don’t think it (a play off place) was ever nailed on was it? Yes, we had it in our hands, but we were playing good sides. For a club like this to be that close all season I think is amazing. We’ve overachieved.”
Hang on, a minute ago you were saying you were consistent, now you’re saying you’ve over achieved. which is it? Have you consistently over achieved? Do you consider it an over achievement to have by far the best striker in the division in your side, and still failing to really trouble the top five?
He’s remained strangely quiet on the departure of their leading scorer though, but then it seems where Peterborough are concerned they’ve remained quiet all season. Director of Football at Peterborough, our old friend Barry Fry said today: “To be fair, we tried to buy Ricky in January, but Jim, the chairman and owner of Dover and Chris, the manager, never returned my calls.”
Odd how they stayed so silent when Posh called, but they had so much to say about us whenever the opportunity arose. Classless until the end. Not that this is the end for Kinnear or Parmenter, Kinnear fully expects to be in charge of a much-changed Dover next season, and for all that is good and right with football I sincerely hope they are not in the Football League anytime soon. Kinnear is hoping that the solid fan base of under 1,00 is enough to see them through.
“The club’s getting the infrastructure, we’ve got the stand now, we’ve got a chance of pushing on from here, it’s good that we’ve got a great base. Look at the wider picture. We are where we are which is amazing – a lot of sides would like to be us. You mustn’t get too carried away. People do and that’s when you start faltering and not progressing.”
Granted a lot of sides would like to be sixth in the National League, but few would relish that achievement being met with such apathy by the local football fans. Dover simply are not a Football League sized club, with an average of just under 1300 there does not seem to be a desire to push the team on to bigger things. When you contrast that with their neighbours Maidstone, the picture is even more revealing. The Stones average 2386, the sixth biggest attendance in the division. If anyone from the Kent countryside really deserves league football, it is Maidstone and not the plaything of Jim Parmenter. Jesus wept, even Forest Green average 1700 and they’re based in the middle of a village!
In truth the only thing that those sides would want from the Dover set-up would be Ricky Miller, and with him following Stefan Payne out of the door, you do have to ‘fear’ that perhaps Dover have had their day in the sun. This rather bitter writer certainly hopes so, and I relish not having to pen another article about them in an awfully long time.