Dartford boss Tony Burman: The ambition long term is to get back up to the best league that I want this club to play in
DARTFORD manager Tony Burman says he is keen to guide the club back up in to the top flight of non-league football.
The Darts opened their £6.5m Princes Park Stadium on 11 November 2006, with a 4-2 win over Horsham YMCA, which was watched by a sold-out crowd of 4,097.
Dartford striker Brendon Cass went down in history by taking only 10 minutes and 27 seconds to score the first goal at the stadium. Horsham YMCA were managed by former Dartford boss Tommy Sampson at the time.
Tony Burman’s side were playing in the Ryman League Division One South football that season and have since played in the Ryman League Division One North, Ryman Premier League, Conference South before spending three seasons in the Conference finishing eighth and 22nd (twice) before suffering relegation, and finished in the top eight in the National League South last season.
Move forward to now, Dartford stand in the top seven in the Vanarama National League South table, having won eight, drawn five and lost two of their league games.
Dartford suffered a 6-3 defeat in The Emirates FA Cup First Round at the weekend going down to Vanarama National League side Sutton United. Paul Doswell’s side became the first team to score six goals in a competitive game against Dartford in 10 seasons at the stadium.
Dartford host St Albans City in the League on Tuesday night. St Albans went down to a 5-3 home defeat to second-placed League Two side Carlisle United In The Emirates FA Cup First Round on Sunday and arrive in Kent in sixth-place in the table, having collected nine wins, three draws and three defeats in the league this season.
“It’s the most important game for us and we’ve got to get on track in respect of the league,” said Burman.
“We’ve done ever so well in The FA Cup to get this far and I’m proud of the players for doing that – and the supporters as well because I know it’s been down in the doldrums a little bit.
“I hope they didn’t go home too disappointed on Saturday and appreciate that we’ve done so well with the games that we’ve had.”
Dartford are only three points adrift of fifth-placed side Poole Town but 11 points adrift of league leaders Maidenhead United.
Reflecting on the club’s tenth anniversary at Princes Park, Burman said: “I think overall it’s been a very good 10 years. We’ve had a little bit of a mishap, two mishaps if people want to be more critical with a relegation. We’ve been relegated out of the best league in non-league football and unfortunately that happens.
“Overall, I hope that they’ve been pleased with what we’ve achieved over those 10 years.
“The ambition long term is to get back up to the best league that I want this club to play in. It has taken time because we have had a bit of a disappointment.
“We’ve had some clubs financially over take us but we’ve got to get on with it still and still try to do your best for the club.
“All I want is for us to try to be successful and if that means getting in the play-offs, then fine, but deep down I want to be up in that National League again.”
Dartford at Princes Park:
2006-07 – Ryman League Division One South – 7th place
2007-08 – Ryman League Division One North – Champions
2008-09 – Ryman Premier League – 8th place
2009-10 – Ryman Premier League – Champions
2010-11 – Conference South – 10th place
2011-12 – Conference South – Runners-up – Promoted as play-off winners
2012-13 – Conference – 8th place
2013-14 – Conference – 22nd place (bottom three) – finished in relegation zone but given a reprieve to stay in the division
2014-15 – Conference – 22nd place (bottom three) – Relegated
2015-16 – National League South (new name for Conference South)– 8th place
Visit Dartford’s website: www.dartfordfc.com
Dartford v St Albans City
Vanarama National League South
Tuesday 8th November 2016
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Princes Park Stadium, Grassbanks, Darenth Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 1RT