"Lure of bigger gates" pesuaded Cass to leave Chatham for rivals Dartford - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

Sunday 22nd January 2006
Dartford manager Tony Burman has expressed his delight with the capture of 22-year-old striker Brendan Cass from their Southern League Division One East rivals Chatham Town on Friday afternoon, writes Stephen McCartney.

The former Tonbridge Angels striker, who lives in Chatham, came off the bench early in the second half of yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Waltham Forest to replace winger Dave Martin (dead leg).
Martin, meanwhile, should be fit for Saturday’s clash against Barton Rovers at Stonebridge Road.

”I made a seven-day approach and asked whether we could speak to him.  Brendan wanted to listen to what we had to say,” said Burman.

”I spoke to him on Wednesday and he basically gave me his answer Friday afternoon.

”I am delighted to be able to persuade someone of Brendan’s calibre to come to the club.  It wasn’t he wanted to leave Chatham.  We made an approach and he wanted to listen to what we wanted to say.

”I have to say regarding the transfer I spoke to Steve Binks before we put the seven-day approach in.  Steve desperately wanted to keep Brendan but I think both clubs handled the situation with the utmost respect.”

The Chatham Town manager admitted the support that their near neighbours generate, and playing at a “better stadium” was enough to persuade Cass to go.
”Very disappointed he’s gone,” he admitted.  “He’s gone for the lure of bigger gates and a better stadium.  I’d like to wish him all the best.” 

Although groundsharing at Gravesend & Northfleet’s Stonebridge Road ground, Dartford average 274 compared to Chatham’s 163 – but Dartford will see a bigger increase in gates when they play at their new Princes Park Stadium in the town next season.

Burman, however, was pleased with Cass’ debut yesterday.  “I think he done well when he came on,” he said.  “We know he’s looking to get in the box and in a position to score goals. 

”He very nearly scored with a header from a free kick, which went into the side netting.  It’s early days and I’ve no doubt he’ll be a success with us.”

Reflecting on the draw, Burman added: “Before the game I would have expected a point against Waltham Forest as they’re a good side. 

”We didn’t play particularly well yesterday, but I think the players battled and there is a determination now we don’t want to lose any games.

”We didn’t play well but we got a point and I’m pleased with that.”

Binks, however, admitted his side “weren’t a threat” as they crashed to their ninth league defeat of the season and dropped to tenth place in the table – five places below their Kent rivals - after losing 1-0 to Stamford at Maidstone Road.

”We was not a threat up front like we are as usual,” he admitted.  “We had Glen Billinness not available, Luke Harvey out injured and Rob Denness coming back from ‘flu.

”We gave the ball away two easily in the first 30 minutes and put ourselves on the back foot too easily.

”I started with Mark Brookes up front and then moved him in midfield.  We had a purple patch before half time, where we should have taken the lead.

”It was a game whoever scored first would win it 1-0.  They were organised but we weren’t any where near our best, which was a shame because we’ve played ever so well in our last two games.

”We are looking solid defensively, you can’t fault that but whoever sticks the ball in the net first normally gets the upper hand, don’t they?”

Looking ahead to next Saturday’s games, Burman, whose side are unbeaten at home, will be looking to add to Barton Rovers’ away-day blues.  Binks’ side, meanwhile, travel to basement boys Potters Bar Town – a side they beat to reach the Southern League Errea Cup quarter-finals last week.

”Barton have been ok at home with a lot of good results but I don’t think they travel that well,” said the Darts boss. 

”But they’re up there and on a good run.  All the games are going to be big if we want to stay in contention with the people above us.  We have to win these games.”

Binks, who should have Harvey, Billiness and possibly Andy Larkin available, added: “They’re fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table.  It won’t be easy but we are capable of winning it.”

Dartford Borough Council are inviting fans to name the road, which will lead up to Dartford’s new Princes Park Stadium.

The new road will be used by thousands of visitors to Princes Park and will appear on roadmaps, A-Z’s and of course will be part of Dartford Football Club’s new address.

The fortunate winner will be a special guest at the Stadium opening later in the year and will be invited to unveil the road sign bearing their suggested name.

The road is a twin carriageway forming the main road for vehicles entering and leaving the Princes Park Stadium.  It runs east off Darenth Road, one turning on from the Next Generation Sports Club.  The roadway and wide grass banks climb dramatically up to the Princes Park complex – a stunning entrance to the Darts new home.

For more details on how to enter the competition, please visit www.princespark.co.uk

Darts boss Burman, meanwhile, has admitted he is out of running.  “I had a road named after myself at the old Watling Street site – so I don’t think it will be my name.  I think it’s a good idea and I hope they come up with someone suitable.”