Monday 02nd January 2006

Under pressure Walker in showdown talks with board

It was certainly a Happy New Year for struggling Ashford Town earlier today - defeating Dover Athletic 3-2 at The Homelands in front of their biggest crowd of the season, writes Stephen McCartney.

Two late goals from Dover striker Craig Wilkins wasn't enough as Ashford ended a run of ten games without a win, to move three points clear off the foot of the table.

Their fourth league win of the season brought smiles to the long suffering Ashford faithful - and to Ramsgate and Tonbridge fans at Southwood Stadium today, who were stunned when they heard the news that Ashford were leading 3-0.

But Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter isn't smiling - and in an audio interview on www.doverathletic.com revealed he will be having talks with under pressure manager Clive Walker tomorrow.

"It's no good starting to play when you're three nil down is it?" he fumed.  

"I thought it was a very poor performance and I think one poor performance too many.

"Full marks to Ashford they worked really hard and battled for their result - we should have done better.

"We are running out of excuses really aren't we?  Very poor performance and I'll be sitting down with Clive after this game to talk about exactly what we need to do to get this club back on the road."

Mr Parmenter bemoaned that his players failed to match the home side's application.

"We need to pick up three points every game and we need to put in performances," he insisted.

"You see Ashford players out there giving 100% commitment, and Ashford are probably on 20% of the budget we're on and that type of application from our players for the first seventy minutes is just not acceptable to the football club."

The Whites chairman - whose celebrating one year in charge at Crabble - felt sorry for the club's travelling fans.

He added: "I'll be doing my talking to the manager after the game or probably tomorrow with the rest of the directors - it's not acceptable.  Full stop.

"I'm desperately disappointed for the fans.  We probably quadrupled their gate today."

Dover were upset that they weren't allowed to broadcast action from the match on their website as they failed to get written permission from Ashford Town Football Club - who always video their matches at Homelands.

"Of course we won't be able to see it on the TV as they stopped us videoing it today.  

"I feel desperately sorry for the Dover fans that have kept the faith.  Some of their enthusiasm from the fan base and from the board has somehow got to get on the park a bit more often as it is at the moment and that's what we'll be working on," said Mr Parmenter.

Ashford Town's chief executive Mark Jenner, meanwhile, explained the situation about declining Dover to video the match.

He told www.ashfordtownfc.co.uk: "We were not asked in advance for permission to film.  Had we been asked we would have had the opportunity to explain our position.

"It is the club's policy to grant Bob Keane Video Productions exclusive rights to film home games as he has done for many years, producing a very professional production, which is available for anyone to buy.

"The club makes no money from this but we do use the films for training purposes.

"Bob turns out to film for nearly every home game in all weathers including the under 15 side this season and is a long term supporter of the club.

"In return for the service he provides I think it is only right to show some loyalty in return.

"When we have a big game like today or last season against Wimbledon, it is a chance for him to sell a dozen or so copies instead of the normal handful which helps with the overall costs.

"Highlights or a full tape of the game is available to any visiting team to use as they wish on websites without limitation direct from Bob Keane who is only too happy to oblige.

"That is the club's policy which has been arrived at after due consideration and which has been applied on all occasions when this situation has arisen."

Ashford, meanwhile, will hope this result is not just a flash in a pan when Metropolitan Police are the visitors to Homelands next Saturday.