Darts' chairman: Forget about the past and enjoy the ocassion - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Thursday 13th July 2006
Mr David Skinner, the chairman of Dartford Football Club, pleads with rival fans to forget about the past – and enjoy the special occasion – as his club host arch-rivals Maidstone United on Saturday, 23rd September – the day their new Princes Park Stadium opens, writes Stephen McCartney.


The Ryman League released their fixture lists earlier today, and the two clubs lock horns at first team level for the first time since the two Kent giants reformed.

But Mr Skinner pleads with rival fans to support their teams and that troublemakers stay away.

He did reveal, the Division One South club, submitted a request to play Cray Wanderers on 23rd September.  But League officials had other ideas.

In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Mr Skinner said: “It’s not the game I would have chosen for the opening game at Princes Park due to the history between the clubs.

“We did ask for Cray Wanderers, as we re-started at their Oxford Road ground in 1993.”

When asked if the impressive 4,100 stadium will be ready to host the Stones, Mr Skinner replied: “The ground is a couple of weeks behind at the moment, but it is hoped to make this up during the internal fit out.

“But the second pitch is all finished, and the grass is growing through on the main pitch.”

Mr Skinner, whose club get their pre-season programme under way with a trip to their Kent League neighbours Thamesmead Town on Saturday, pleads with both sets of fans to mark the stadium opening as a “very special occasion.”

He said: “The intention of Dartford Borough Council and the football club is to make the opening a very special occasion with lots of events, and the hope is for a capacity gate with spectators and special guests.

“There is history between the two clubs, and although all the ill-feeling was mainly directed at the previous administrations, it has spread over the years into other areas of the clubs.

“It would be a shame if a capacity crowd at the opening game at Princes Park is treated to unruly behaviour or worse, at an event that should be all about celebration.

“That is my message for all involved on both sides, to forget about the past, and just look forward to the good times on the horizon for both sets of fans.  Enjoy the day and treat is like any other Kent derby.

“Our youth and reserve teams have met many times over the intervening years without any problems – so the hope would be for this to continue.”

With the Darts preparing for their first outing of the new season, Mr Skinner admitted there is a “buzz” surrounding the Darts.

“There is a buzz around the club, from the players doing their pre-season training, to the supporters helping out on the various summer events that are being held in the town,” he said.

“Everyone is talking about the new ground, and this is being reflected in season ticket applications that are being received, even before the application form goes out.”

Mr Skinner, whose seeking more teams for the club’s Golf Day next Tuesday, revealed that local businesses are purchasing advertising boards at the new stadium.

View the Ryman League website for your club’s fixture list -  www.isthmian.co.uk

Visit Dartford Football Club's websites:  www.dartfordfc.co.uk and their fan's forum at www.dartfordfootballclub.co.uk

Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 15th July 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead