Sunday 17th July 2005

Decision time for Dickson

Erith & Belvedere officials are sitting down with their highly-rated striker Chris Dickson on Tuesday night to settle his future once and for all, writes Stephen McCartney.

Dickson netted 19 goals for the Park View Road club last season and assistant manager Wayne Baldacchino wants to keep him at the club.

The Deres are preparing for life in the Kentish Observer (Kent) League following their relegation from the Southern League was confirmed on the final day of last season.

And in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Baldacchino, who clinched two titles for Erith & Belvedere's reserve team in the past two years, revealed: "We certainly hope as a club he's future is with us here.

"We've had a number of meetings with the chairman, club secretary, myself and (manager) Mick Acland.

"We've put a deal together, Chris was unsure about certain issues in the deal but we've managed to iron those problems out.

"On Tuesday we can sit down for the final part of the discussions and hopefully put pen to paper on Tuesday.

"So as a club we are hoping Chris Dickson will sign for us on Tuesday.

"He's still on contract with us officially so if he chooses not to sign a renewal it would mean we would need to get a fee for him, which obviously the chairman, club secretary and board of directors would have to agree on if anyone should be interested."

There has been speculation over Dickson's future during the close season, but Baldacchino revealed the player missed Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Ramsgate due to "family commitments".

The Rams, preparing for their debut Ryman League division one campaign, secured the victory with goals from their new signing from Sittingbourne, David Cory (71) and Shaun Welford two minutes later.

Speaking after the game, Baldacchino insists the club are aiming for the top three.

And he is enjoying life with the first team following his promotion from the reserve team set-up.

"Pre-season has gone pretty much how I expected," he admitted.

"I've done the under 18's followed by the two years as reserve manager.

"As far as the playing side is concerned, I don't expect any different.

"The players are fully aware of our expectations as a club.

"They're fully aware of our expectations on and off the pitch and personally, if I'm being honest, with hand on heart, I would say based on the players available to us, we are more than capable of a top three finish.

"So although I'm not one to set targets, the old cliché of one game at a time comes in.

"I really honestly believe we have the squad available in depth to challenge for the top three."

Baldacchino, however, feels the club has the pull to attract the players to lead the challenge back to the Southern or into the Ryman League.

"The facilities, pitch, training facilities that we have, the sponsorship availability and the youth section, which has grown immensely this year, we need to be out of here as quickly as possible," he insists.

"But obviously we are not going to disrespect any of our opposition.

"Everybody is in the same position, they all want to go up to the next level.

"As far as Erith & Belvedere are concerned, we will do everything we can to make sure that happens sooner rather than later."