Thursday 01st September 2005

Tingley: I want to put something back into the game

FOLLOWING a long and successful career in Kent football, Dartford full-back, Danny Tingley, who retired after Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnham, has revealed he wants to put something back into the game, writes Stephen McCartney.

The thirty-five-year old admitted he was chocked as his club presented his wife with a bunch of flowers and he received a trophy from Dartford chairman Dave Skinner as rapturous applause rang around Stonebridge Road.

Speaking after the game, Tingley said: "It's been quite an emotional day to be honest.  Tommy Sampson (Dartford manager) has really rolled out the red carpet today and it's been absolutely fantastic.  The icing on the cake was we got a win in the end, so it was a fantastic day all round.

"I was quite chocked with the presentation before the game.  It was nice to see my wife, who has gone through the thick and thin of it over the last few years,  get a bunch of flowers.  It was a really nice touch from the club."

Tingley admitted he won't notice his retirement during the close season, but he will notice it once his former team-mates report back to pre-season training in July.

He added: "Retirement won't probably sink in as it is the close season, but obviously once everyone starts going back pre-season it will probably start to hit home then.  I said to everyone I will miss it, I just felt it's the right time."

However, Tingley has many plans lined up to compensate from the loss of football with his young family at the forefront.

He said: "I've got a very young family, a new addition, so initially I want to spend some time with the family.  No doubt you will see me on a few local Kent football club terraces watching football as I love watching the game.

"Long term, I would ideally get involved with some sort of youth team football and put something back into the game because I've had a good few years out of it.

"As you probably gather I'm quite a quiet lad, I am not sure whether first team management is really me.  I would love to get involved with coaching, partically children."

At the final whistle, in Tingley's and Dartford's final game of the season, where they beat Burnham  2-1 at Stonebridge Road, his team-mates ran up to him to celebrate the hard-fought victory.

Dartford were reduced to ten men after 36 minutes when Mark Horan was sent off for a second booking.

Tingley added: "The players wanted to win the game for me.  Paul Sykes did a little speech before the start of the game and said: "lets win it for Danny." Again it was a nice touch and shows the team spirit the club has.  I am sure they will take that forward into the next season."

After starting his career at the age of eighteen, Tingley has played in Gillingham's youth team before moving into the non-league game with Sheppey United, Sittingbourne before serving ten years at Longmead Stadium with Tonbridge Angels before spending his last campaign with Dartford.

Wherever he goes, he is a favorite with players, managers and supporters with his professionalism and putting in so many solid performances at the back.

He revealed: "The one highlight that sticks out more than anything was when I was with Sittingbourne and we went the whole of the Kent League season without losing a game - I don't think it's been done since.

"There are just so many things I could probably go through, I'll probably still be here tomorrow." 

And his lows?
"I had a hernia operation about three or four years ago, and thought I might not be able to get back playing.  That was quite a low point but fortunately I managed to have the operation and get back onto the pitch again after a long six months out of the game."

Tingley, 35, lives in Stroud and cites work commitments as a banking manager as one of the reasons he has decided to hang up his boots.

He added:  "That was another side line issue.  I've got quite a demanding role, it's been more and more difficult for training and things like that.  If I can't commit 100% to football it is time to call it a day."

Like many footballers, Tingley has worked with many managers during his career.  He acknowledged the many managers and people that influenced his career, and like other players, someone close to him stands out as the main man.

He said: "I was with Gillingham as a youth boy, John Gorman was my youth team manager, and he was a huge influence when I was a kid as he got me into non-league football, and I have a lot to thank for him.

"Obviously all the manager's I've played for, Phil Emblem (Tonbridge) - absolutely fantastic guy, Hugh Stimson (Sittingbourne), Tommy Sampson, here at Dartford, but I suppose the one person who stands out miles above everyone else is my father - Dave - who comes to every game supporting me. 

"I went to watch him play local football but that was how I got interested in football.  He has just been 100% supportive ever since I was a kid.  He stands out miles above everyone else." he thanked.

Speaking about his last game and for Dartford's future, Tingley added: "You could probably not write a better script.  To get someone sent off, it was backs to the wall and I don't know if the linesman was thinking off me when he put his flag up when they scored. 

"As I said it just shows the team spirit this club has got.  We've had to have that because the financial resources have been to their limits this year and we've had to throw in a lot of young players and they've done excellent when they have been asked to come in and do a job."

His manager at Dartford, Tommy Sampson, added:  "I cannot speak highly enough of Danny Tingley.  He has put in another Danny Tingley performance - solid.  He has such experience, and I've tried to talk him out of retirement, but he is determined to retire. 

"He has been a fantastic player this year and he deserves all the plaudits and he is one of the best pros ever to play for me.

"You can see the crowd appreciate him - he has only been here a year - he had ten years at Tonbridge and he is a fantastic lad and we will miss him."