The wait goes on for Darts fans

Tuesday 08th August 2006
With Dartford supporters waiting anxiously for the new opening date of their new stadium at Princes Park, Cllr Jeremy Kite, the Leader of Dartford Borough Council, has explained his reasons why fans are being kept in the dark about the new opening date, writes Stephen McCartney.


The impressive 4,100 capacity, all-covered stadium, was originally planned to open on Saturday 23rd September.

The Ryman Football League gave the Darts a lucrative game against arch-rivals Maidstone United for that day, but that game, and the ones before the club’s return will be played in Essex at Nationwide Conference South outfit Thurrock Football Club.

“The last thing we want to do is offer up another date that has to be moved,” Cllr Kite explained to Darts fans on  

“We’re working very hard to make sure that the next date we give will be the date when we book the band, get the bunting delivered and actually move in.

“This is an enormously complicated project and the fact that we’re on the home-leg doesn’t make it any easier.

“We are managing all the processes and I promise there are no big problems or hidden difficulties out there.

“It’s just that the circle of people who have to say “GO” when we ask them about opening gets wider and wider.

“It’s not just the builders, landscapers and contractors but the fire, police, safety, public safety regulators etc.

“If this was a semi-detached house we were moving into, this would be the stressful time between exchanging contracts and moving in, where the date keeps moving.

“We are also trying to work with the team’s fixture list to maximise revenue and interest in the opening.  That doesn’t present as many windows as you might imagine.

“The good news is that we have a date in mind, which seems to have received a “GO” from about 80% of those who need to and the other 20% are very close to confirming.

“We are very conscious of the Multiplex scenario, which is why we are very keen not to band about opening dates until we are ready – and sure.

“The one thing I hope you can be reassured about is that beautiful building at the top of the Princes Road isn’t going anywhere.

“It’s there, it’s nearly finished and the Darts will soon be coming home to it.

“The next few weeks will also see some of the most interesting and exciting work as we head towards fit-out, landscaping, signage and public space.

“I hope that we can confirm the date inside a day or so but we will do as soon as we can.

“I know it’s frustrating but remember, come Christmas morning you are still going to have the best bike in the neighbourhood.

“In fact, I can tell you that someone very high up in English football is coming round to view that we have always had – that Princes Park will be the best non-league ground ever created!”