There's certainly no bottomless pit of money at Dover, insists chairman

Wednesday 14th June 2006

Dover Athletic chairman Jim Parmenter has highlighted the tight balancing act the club are currently undertaking to improve the squad - but at the same time keep an eye on the purse-strings, writes Justin Allen -

The Whites are currently trading with £65,000 of debt, which includes the outstanding CVA balance as well as an old overdraft that is currently being serviced.

But, despite this, the board have still managed to support manager Clive Walker positively in the transfer market this summer by bringing in four new signings - with another one expected, possibly this weekend.

Mr Parmenter said: "There's certainly no bottomless pit of money at this club and we're being extra careful to ensure that we don't overspend, like Dover Athletic has done in the past. We're very mindful of the club's debts and that's what we have to take into account when working out our budgets.

"We've got a big squad now and brought in some quality signings in our opinion. We only narrowly failed to achieve our target of promotion last season - and had we turned a few draws into wins then the club would never had to enter the lottery of the play-offs.

"So what we've done this summer is look at a couple of areas that needed strengthening.

"We're always hearing from people that we should be signing this player, and that player, and you'd think we have money splashing about everywhere here. Sadly, that isn't the case and we're not going to overspend on players."

Whites signed experienced keeper Glen Knight, Sierra Leone international John Keister, as well as excellent young prospects Matt Bourne and Byron Walker from Chatham Town.

Walker was Chats' second top scorer last season, while defender Bourne was their third top marksman.

Now the club are hoping to add a striker, who scored a decent amount of goals last season for his club - to add to the goalscoring threat of Craig Wilkins, Walker, Jimmy Dryden and Tommy Tyne.

Mr Parmenter added: "We've gone for a real mixture of players this summer. We already had a very good squad, which frankly should've won promotion last season - had it not been for a horrendous amount of injuries and a lack of experience in certain matches.

"Glen Knight is one of the best signings we've made for some time. He's a quality keeper and has such a wealth of experience. We suffered in the goalkeeping area last season and now we're confident that we have a player who will command his box, talk to his defenders and add experience.

"Keister, make no mistake, is a superb player. There's many clubs at a higher level who would've wanted him, that's for sure - and we know that.

"He makes not only the midfield stronger; he adds a defensive option too. Fans will see this when the season gets underway.

"He makes not only the midfield stronger; he adds a defensive option too. Fans will see this when the season gets underway.

"And the two young lads are far from rookies. They were ever present last season and finished second and third top scorers at Chatham, an amazing achievement in a struggling side. They've got real pace too - and that's what we needed around the older legs in the side.

"That was what we wanted to address for this season. We felt we didn't quite have the pace we wanted, now we're hopeful that has been addressed. The striker we hope to sign will provide that too."

Some fans had expressed concern about Bourne and Walker - because they are young players and come from a club playing this season in Ryman League Division One South.

Mr Parmenter said: "We told the two lads that expectations are high at Dover and they'll have to cope with that. But I'm disappointed that there has been criticism about them before they've even kicked a ball for us - in training, never mind matches. It would be terrible if a few supporters, and I know it's only a few, end up destroying their confidence before the season starts.

"I'm hoping that fans get behind these lads and make them feel welcome at Dover Athletic. And I'm sure they will, with their pace, quickly establish themselves as fans favourites at this club.

"Although we're always looking at players at levels above, sometimes it's better to get young prospects on their way up from the same level or below, than older ones who drop down. Getting a mixture is usually the best policy, I think."