It's been a great journey and it's now time to leave the bus, says Dartford co-chairman Bill Archer

Thursday 18th December 2014
BILL ARCHER has announced that he is to step down as the co-chairman of Vanarama Conference club Dartford.

Mr Archer, a local businessman and long-term supporter, joined the board of directors in September 2001 to help with the campaign to brign the club back to the borough and was at the centre of negotiations with Dartford Borough Council that saw the club return to a purpose built stadium.

Following the opening of Princes Park in November 2006, Mr Archer took up the reigns as co-chairman with responsibility for commecial matters alongside long-time chairman Dave Skinner, who concentrated on football and stadium operations.

In a statement posted on the club’s website, Mr Archer said: “I told the board some time ago that this season would be my last as co-chairman because I wanted to concentrate on getting myself back to full health and had to consider my family and friends.

“I suspect very few people appreciate how much work and stress is invovled in keeping a club of this size running or how much the board do to sustain the business. 

“They are all unsung heroes and I have had enermous support from them.

“I also want to say a word about our magnificient supporters. It doesn’t matter whether you have been with us for the long-haul and shared the dark days with us or have discovered Princes Park more recently.  Each of you is part of our club and we appreciate you.

“I can understand why some clubs settle for life in the lower leagues and why winning against lower oppositino has its attractions for some fans but I’m proud that our club has been brave enough to knock on the door of higher leagues and not lose its sense of fairplay, financial responsibility and it’s long term commitment to our community.

“Long-term supporters will remember what dark-days REALLY look like and I can assure you that today’s ups and downs, competing just one step from the Football League, don’t come close!

“It’s been a great journey and it’s now time to leave the bus. There’s a lot more to come and I look forward to being alongside you.”

The board has unanimously asked Mr Archer to take up the post of club president and is delighted that he will continue to advise the club.

Mr Archer’s replacement as co-chairman will be the club’s current vice-chairman Steve Irving, who has been a director of the club for 22 years, a supporter for 43 years and will continue to work alongside Dave Skinner as co-chairman with responsibilioty for football.

Dave Francis, another long-serving director who has been responsbile for merchandising and commercial activities steps up to repalce Mr Irving as vice-chairman.

Mr Irving said: “We all understand Bill’s decision but are delighted that he has accepted an invitation to become the club president.

“It is hard to think of anyone in the entire club history who has presided over such an exciting era.

“He built the relationships that persuaded Dartford Council to bring us home and in doing so ignited an extraordinary run of success that saw us club from the Ryman North to the Conference Premier.

“The board put more into this club than many people realise and I am honoured to be taking over from Bill.”

The Darts are sitting in the bottom three in the Vanarama Conference table, having collected four wins, eight draws and 12 defeats.

Manager Tony Burman takes his side to Wrexham on Saturday.

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