We have to be challenging for promotion again next year, says Dartford boss Tony Burman

Monday 08th May 2017

DARTFORD manager Tony Burman says it’s getting harder and harder to win a League title.

The Darts finished in third-place in the Vanarama National League South table having collected 84 points from their 42 match campaign, having finished in the top eight with 59 points in the bag the previous season.

However, Maidenhead United claimed the league title after bagging 98 points, while runners-up Ebbsfleet United banked 96 this time out.

Dartford suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to fourth-placed finishers Chelmsford City, who will travel to Ebbsfleet United for Saturday’s Promotion Final.

It took Rod Stringer’s direct side 160 minutes to break the stalemate in the tie when former Bromley striker Louie Theophanous buried Chris Dickson’s cross after a mistake by the corner flag by Tom Bonner.

Striker Dickson scored a cracking goal on the counter-attack with five minutes remaining, before Dartford scored a last-minute consolation through Duane Ofori Acheampong’s tenth goal of the season.

“I start talking to all of the players whether they’re here for next year or not and then we’ll have a go next year but we have to be challenging again for promotion,” said Burman.

“It hasn’t quite worked for us this year but we’ve improved on the year before. It’s been a good season and it’s been a privilege to work with all of the players that I’ve had.”

Burman has been surprised that his side – whom reached their 84 points target – did not win the league title this season.

“You have to live with disappointment,” said Burman, who took over from Tommy Sampson back in 2005.

“You learn more with the disappointment than what you do when you’re winning. I’ve gone through two relegations (from the Conference, now called the National League), that people keep reminding me about but you have to life with that.

“I’ve probably leant more in those relegations than you do when you’re winning but it is football and at the end of the day you try to improve again next year.

“We’ve had 84 points this year from 42 games. It’s a brilliant total of points and that used to win it.  Last year 64 points finished fifth (Sutton United won the title with 90, Ebbsfleet United finished runners-up with 84).

“It’s getting harder to win it and it’s getting harder to avoid relegation and people have got to realise that in the league above you’ve got to get over 50 points to survive.  It’s unbelievable really but that’s the way it is and that’s what we have to do.”

Visit Dartford’s website: www.dartfordfc.com