Wednesday 04th February 2004

Groundsharing Kent clubs at loggerheads
by Kevin Redsull

The already strained groundsharing relationship between Dover Athletic and Margate has reached breaking point.

Margate officials were unhappy that Dover refused to allow their postponed FA Trophy home tie with Worksop Town to be rescheduled for Tuesday night, because Dover's Reserves were playing a Kent League game against Thamesmead at the Hoverspeed Stadium 24 hours later.

But Dover director Steve Cattermole insisted that Margate had been given full notice of the situation.

He said: "Despite having told three senior Margate FC officials between Wednesday of last week and Sunday that the Hoverspeed Stadium would not be available on Tuesday for any rearranged Trophy tie with Worksop, this is precisely what Margate did.

"Having confirmed this again on Monday, Margate contacted the FA and said that would conduct a pitch inspection on Tuesday morning. We were informed of this in a courtesy call and left to resolve our position, should the pitch be deemed fit.

"We also contacted the FA and made it clear to them that at no time was our stadium going to be available on Tuesday.

"We were then told Margate had been given leave to play the tie on Wednesday, February 11, at either Dover or Ashford."

The tie has now been arranged to take place at Ashford, with Cattermole adding: "Despite the difficult position Margate find themselves, with which we have the deepest sympathy, our responsibilities lie with Dover Athletic and our interests will always come first.

"While there are some that cannot understand why we might give our Reserves preference over Margate's fixtures, one need look no further than to the impressive array of former Reserves team players who are now members of our first team squad."

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