Dover Athletic Club Profile
Once upon a time in the early 70's Dover were one of Yeovil's serious Southern League rivals, but they suffered relegation in the 1977-78 season and so missed out on the formation of the Alliance League. Fourteen years passed until Dover got the Southern League title to their name, eventually gaining promotion to the Conference after their ground had been deemed unfit the previous season.
Since then, their overall progress has been anonymous to an extreme. They've not troubled the FA Cup to any extent for over 20 years, and although they've not done badly in the FA Trophy (their semi-final exit to eventual winners Cheltenham in 1997/98 is their best achievement in that competition) their league form has been boring boring mid-table, with their luckiest escape coming in the 1995/96 season when 20th position turned out not to mean relegation. The 1999/2000 season's sixth place finish was their best ever performance since arriving in the Conference, but last season saw a return to a more typical 15th position, albeit a relatively comfortable 10 points above the relegation zone.
Since the end of the season however it's been all change at The Crabble. Long-serving manager Bill Williams has left to take up the reins at relegated Kingstonian following Geoff Chapple's departure from the West London club; whilst the highly-rated (but relatively inexperienced) Gary Bellamy has been recruited from Chelmsford City to fill the manager's seat. All change on the playing front too, with 11 out and 5 in at the time of writing. Highly rated forward Joff Vanistart has left for an undisclosed fee to big-spending Conference newcomers
whilst 3 players, including midfielder Dave Clarke, have followed Williams to the K's. Defender Colin Pluck was shown the door by Dover at the end of last season and was snapped up by a certain West Country club for free on a 2-year contract - it must be said that on the evidence we've seen so far (admittedly only friendly fixtures) that Dover made a big mistake in letting the former Watford youngster go at all, never mind for nothing!
On the plus side new manager Bellamy has so far brought in the talented young midfielder Jamie Day from Bournemouth and Peterborough midfielder Niall Illman on a year's loan as well as experienced former Kettering defender Colin Vowden....No, sorry, it doesn't sound enough to us yet, either. Still 3 weeks to go until the start of the season (at the time of writing) however!
Dover are often bundled in by people into the list of "home counties teams" but their coastline position makes them almost as remote as Yeovil, and it is a deceptively long journey to get there. They may be in the south, but the distance from Yeovil probably equates to a trip to
Add to that the horrors of the M25, and the possibility of heavy traffic heading for the ferries, and this is one serious journey.
Once you get there, you'll find that Dover Athletic are situated in a beautiful location on the north side of the town. They're a friendly sort, and the bar is definitely one of the most welcoming in the league (see below for our glowing assessment of its view of the pitch!). Not too surprisingly, Dover is crammed sky high with B&B's, pubs, takeaways, and yes, with the ferry to France, and the chance of some cheapo booze in Calais, we totally recommend the overnight stop.
They have never been big spenders and always give the impression that money is tight at The Crabble. Their best known player Simon Wormall was sold to Rushden for £50,000 2 years ago now but whatever they have done with the money it hasn't been spent on transfer fees as they have only brought in a few frees and loans for a while now. Trying to pay part-time players Conference wages 52 weeks a year as they are now doing (Dover's compromise position instead of going full-time) instead of the usual 40-something weeks on average gates of just over 1,000 must be difficult, to say the least.
Prediction corner: Last season we predicted a solid season for The Whites, forecasting an 8th-9th final placing; in the event they finished 15th. This season we hope (because we enjoy our trips to The Crabble) that they can improve on that, but fear that they won't. We predict a difficult season for Dover, but, with heart ruling head only a little, their eventual survival. Final position: 17th! [That should guarantee them an LDV slot - ed]
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We've Met Before ...
|Dover Athletic : We've Met Before|
|Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Dover Athletic
|17/01/1970||Home||SL||W||3-2||Weller, K Thompson, Plumb|
|10/02/1973||Away||SL||W||2-0||2136||Myers, Own Goal|
|22/03/1975||Home||SL||W||3-0||2110||Plumb, Housley, Brown|
|23/04/1976||Home||SL||W||5-1||1509||K Thompson(2), Brown(2), Thompson|
|31/08/1994||Away||GMVC||D||1-1||1573||Own Goal 60|
|29/08/1998||Away||Conf||W||2-1||1154||Thompson 67, Own Goal 70|
|03/10/2000||Home||Conf||W||4-0||2306||Smith 24, Patmore 34, 53, Way 42|
|22/09/2001||Away||Conf||W||2-1||1015||Alford 14, Giles 30|
|27/04/2002||Home||Conf||W||2-0||2852||Alford 19, Stansfield 45|
Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Dover Athletic
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For a team that keep on gifting Yeovil so many comedy goals, Dover have proved in
general to be a difficult team to beat. In fact Yeovil have have not done the double
over Dover in 30 years worth of meetings in the Southern League and the Conference.
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Crabble Athletic Ground,
Telephone Number : (01304) 822373 / 240041
Fax : (01304) 822373
Clubcall : 0930 555801
Chairman : John Husk
Press Officer :
Fixtures Secretary : John Durrant
Team Manager : Gary Bellamy
Capacity : 6500
Seated : 1000
Covered Terrace : Yes
Record Attendance : 4035 v Bromsgrove, 1992
Nickname : The Whites
Midweek Games Played : Tuesdays
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Directions To The Ground
Dover's ground is two or three miles outside Dover Town Centre, on the North West
side of town, in an area called River. Unless you are coming from Canterbury, the best
way to reach it is from Dover Town Centre, doing up a long suburban hill known as London
Road, part of a huge one-way system. London Road eventually turns into Crabble Hill, you
come out of the one-way system, and at that point you are nearly there.
River and The Crabble are signposted from the top of the hill.
From the M20
Follow the M20 until you reach the beginning, the road name changes
to the A20 and you will pass through a tunnel. Proceed along the A20 for
about 10 minutes until you reach a set of roundabouts. Go over the first 3.
At the fourth roundabout (with a nightclub called "NUAGE" on your left,
turn left. A the next roundabout go straight over. You will pass the town hall
on your right. Go straight over at the traffic lights outside the town hall and
over the following set. At the end of this road you will come to a set of traffic
lights (with Hollis Motors infront of you) with the option to turn left or right. Turn
left and follow the road until you reach the next set of traffic lights. Do not
go straight over, but down the hill to the left. Follow the road until you come
to a right hand bend. We are on that bend. (Look for the Daihatsu Signs)
From the A2
Follow the A2 from Canterbury until you pass the Forte Posthouse
Hotel on your left and approach a roundabout with McDonalds's drive
through resturant and an Esso petrol station on the left. Turn right, signposted
to Town Centre and go down the hill. At the mini-roundabout at the bottom
of the hill turn Left. At the next set of traffic lights turn right and follow the road
under the railway bridge. The ground is up the hill on your left.
Road directions courtesty of The Official Dover Athletic FC Website.
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Food & Drink
Dover's club bar is situated inside the ground, to the right of the main turnstiles, and
is a flat, single level hut with a long room. The bar contains a good pool table, and
service is friendly. The entrance furthest from the actual bar itself, in theory lends
itself well for disabled access, although this needs to be put into practice to be certain.
There is no membership charge for entry. One of the beauties of
Dover's bar is that it's large windows look directly out onto the side terrace, and the
bar does not shut during games, meaning that it is quite possible to sit in the bar for
the entire duration of the game without losing too much view of what is going on in the
game. Not that we've ever tried this; oh no, not us!
Queuing for a pint, in our experience, has been in general not too bad, probably
because people do start heading to the bar before the half time and full time whistles
blow, knowing that they will miss little of the action. Their television in the bar
usually features all the final scores and ceefax is available.
Tea bar food is on the whole good, although we've found service a little slow. The main
tea bar is just to the right of the drinks bar.
If you choose to take the long walk from Dover Priory station, up London Road and
Crabble Hill, there is a veritable feast of pubs awaiting you between the
the ground. The annoying thing is that they are all rather too average but
somewhere there may be a gem, so let us know if you spot one!
You pass all of these if you are driving to the ground from the A20, coming out
of the town centre. Note that if you are driving back from the ground, into the Town Centre,
you will not pass the London Road pubs, due to the one-way system.
The Priory Hotel can to be tentatively recommended in the afternoon, and
is a good place to meet if you are waiting for someone to get
off a train. Not much in the way of real ale - in fact for our
visit two years ago they were all off :-( -, but a reasonable
atmosphere, if a little over-smokey (when you're sat next to HHH anyway). Under new management when we called in for a final pint to eek out the tinnies whilst waiting for the train home last season we'd just say the welcome was er less than cordial, though of course we were verra verra drunk.
Still close to the station, running about five or ten minutes walk east,
is the Eight Bells. It's a Wetherspoons pub. Given that the Wetherspoons chain is normally of a consistent standard, this was whereCiderspace ended up for a pre-match half - or 10 when we found Spitfire at £ 1.29 a pint.
Once you near the ground, The Gate Inn
(pictured) can be found on your right hand side. Quite frankly, do us a favour and
give this one a wide berth. They used to, in years gone by, serve
the Shepherd Neame real ales made by the local brewery in Faversham. Now it appears
to be a diet of fizzy shit, and the sort of clientele that turn around, stare at you
as the place goes quiet when you wander in. Don't stay, we didn't!
The nearest bar is
The Cricketers (also pictured), which sits appropriately enough, at the foot of the
cricket ground, just before you head off Lewisham Road up to the football ground. It looks
to be a very quaint pub from the outside, but is furnished with a pool table in the left
hand bar once you get inside, and is a fairly down to earth relaxed place.
When we went in there the season before last (January 2000) their food service was completely up
the proverbial. Their deep fat friers were up the spout, their cheese burgers had run
out of ... err, cheese, and were served undercooked inside stale bread rolls without any salad or
relish. Mmmm, nice! Apparently, it was a bad day for them. Whether you believe that or
not is your own choice. Let's put it this way - we've eaten elsewhere since!
You'll find that few or none of these pubs go to much lengths for their food; there's
just too many Fish and Chips, Chinese and Indian takeaways on London Road, that if you are
getting peckish, your best bet is one of the takeaways or the club tea bars. The
tea bars tend to be a little bit packed, although whether that was down to the largish
crowd, or everyone piling out of the Cricketers in search of decent quality food, we're
not rightly sure.
Priory Hotel, Priory Station Approach, Dover, Kent, CT17 9SB Tel: 01304 211365
Eight Bells, 19, Cannon St, Dover, Kent, CT16 1BZ Tel: 01304 205030
The Sportsman, 238 London Rd, Dover Kent, CT17 0TA Tel: 01304 208411
The Bull Inn, 168 London Rd, Dover Kent CT17 0TG Tel: 01304 204500
The Old Endeavour, 124, London Rd, Dover, Kent, CT17 0TG Tel: 01304 204417
The Gate Inn, 79, Crabble Hill, Dover, Kent, CT17 0RY Tel: 01304 206121
The Cricketers, Crabble Avenue, Dover, Kent, CT17 0JB Tel: 01304 206396
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Local Guesthouses and Hotels
(a) Saint Brelades Guest House : 80 - 82 Buckland Avenue, Dover, Kent, CT16 2NW
Phone: 01304 206126, Fax: 01304 211486
Prices : Double from: £40.00 per room per night.
(b) Bleriot's : Belper House, 47 Park Avenue, Dover, Kent, CT16 1HE
Phone : 01304 211394
Prices : Single from: £17.00; Double from: £34.00 per room per night.
(c) Beulah House : 94 Crabble Hill, Dover, Kent, CT17 0SA
Phone: 01304 824615, Fax: 01304 828850
Prices : Single from: £30.00; Double from: £40.00 per room per night.
(d) Talavera House : 275 Folkestone Road, Dover, Kent, CT17 9LL
Phone: 01304 206794, Fax: 01304 207067
Prices : Single from: £18.00; Double from: £30.00 per room per night.
(e) Merzenich Guest House : Station Road, St. Margarets-at-Cliffe, Dover, Kent, CT15 6AY
Phone: 01304 852260, Fax: 01304 852167
Prices : Single from: £23. Double from : £36.00 per room per night
Tourist And Other Local Attractions
You can catch a ferry to France from Dover should you be so inclined. I believe the Channel
Tunnel is fairly close by as well. Oh look, there's a famous white cliff!
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©Ciderspace 2000 - 2001
Main Stand Photo © F.T. Lancaster 2000 - 2001
All Other Photos © Martin Baker 2000 - 2001
Last Updated 22nd October 2001