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The White Shirts of Dover

Dover Athletic - The BallyC Journey
Started on 12 August 2017 by chrisball712
Latest Reply on 3 September 2017 by De Magere

Kinnear Resigns Following 3 Years In Charge at Dover Athletic

Chris Kinnear has vacated his role as Manager of Dover Athletic Football Club, stating that he feels he has taken the club as far as he can. Kinnear has enjoyed some great success in his 3 years in the role, successfully leading Dover to promotion from the National League South in his first year in charge, only to follow that up with two top half finishes (8th and 5th) in the Vanarama National League.

Chris went on record to say "I've had a wonderful 3 years at this fantastic football club, but I feel the time is right to move on and let a younger manager with fresh ideas come in to take the helm and help this club reach its full potential that I genuinely believe it has. I regret to say that I don't feel I am the man for the job. I've always said I will do the best by the club and I think that is for me to step down now, and go out on a high. I'd like to thank the fans for all their support and wish the club all the best".

Chris Kinnear was a popular figure with the 'The Whites' fans and the incoming manager will have his work cut out to get them on side.

Chris Ball Arrives At Dover In Style

Chris Ball has been announced as the new manager of Dover Athletic FC, following the departure of Chris Kinnear. Ball, born in Chatham, Kent, is an ex footballer who spent most of his career on the fringes of first team football at the likes of Ipswich, Reading and Colchester.

Having been forced to retire at the age of 26 due to a recurring knee injury, Ball moved into the world of advertising, establishing and growing successful business, Balley Media, which he sold for £5 million after just 4 years. Ball, now 31, has since completed all his professional coaching badges in a bid to start a successful career in football management, for which Dover Athletic will be his first managerial job!

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter said "Chris is a young, intelligent manager with fantastic passion for the game and an incredible drive to succeed. We're confident he is the right choice to take Dover Athletic to new heights in the world of English football".

Ball immediately turned heads today, as he arrived in style at Dover's training ground this morning in a brand new Ferrari Spyder. Ball looked very relaxed, and was seen laughing and joking with his new players (in between taking them for a ride in his new motor). It remains to be seen if Chris Ball is the real deal or not, only time will tell.

Facilities & History

Club Established: 1983
Reputation: Local
Estimated Value: £567k
Professional Status: Semi-Professional

Stadium: Crabble Athletic Ground (6,500 capacity/1,000 seated)
Stadium Condition: Good
Pitch Condition: Good

Training Facilities: Basic
Youth Facilities: Basic
Youth Recruitment: Basic
Junior Coaching: Minimal

Competition History:

Vanarama National League South: Runner Up 2010, Third Placed 2013

English Isthmian League Premier Division: Winner 2009

English Southern League Premier Division: Winner 1990, 1993, Runner Up 1992, Third Placed 1972, 1973, 2003

English Isthmian League First Division South: Winner 2008, Third Placed 2007

English Southern League Cup: Winner 1992, Runner Up 1993

English Southern League First Division Southern: Winner 1988

The Squad

So it's my first day in the job and my first job on the list is to take a look at my squad and get an early indication as to where I need to improve my quality or numbers. I decided on two tactics I would be looking to employ throughout the season with a 4-1-4-1 with two flat wingers as my standard setup, with a more attacking 4-4-1-1 for when I'm playing much weaker sides or I need to switch it up during a game because I need a goal.

I asked my Assistant Manager for some advice on the team sheet and his evaluation quickly gave me some key indicators of where we are at...

  • I have a pretty decent first choice defence, and some excellent depth in the CB roles
  • I have a couple of decent forwards, possibly one of the best in the league in Ricky Miller
  • My goalkeepers are pretty average - probably good enough to do a job but not going to set the world alight
  • Huge improvement required across the whole midfield, with very poor crossing ability from my wingers

So I've set myself a little checklist before the start of the season....

  • Must bring in a decent LM
  • Must bring in a decent RM
  • Must bring in a decent DM
  • Must bring in at least one decent MC

All of the above won't be easy, but with a transfer budget of £60k and £6k left in the wage budget too, I have some money to play with at this lowly level and put my mark on the team. I'm hoping with a couple of cheeky loan signings, I can make the required additions over the coming month.

Staff Evaluation

The other job on day 1 is to take a look at my staff and immediately clear any 'dead wood'. I'm keen to bring in a couple of my own guys, so I won't be suffering any fools here.

  • Assistant Manager Jake Leberl has got to go. Awful stats, a poor reputation, and a close relationship with ex manager Chris Kinnear. Keen to bring in my own AM who will do things my way and give me all the support! Jake Leberl offered a mutual termination.
  • Coach Mark Newson keeps his job. Decent stats of 13 for defending training. Much needed as my personal training technique is geared towards the attacking side of the game.
  • Loui Fazakerley offered new contract as player only. He was on the back room staff as a player/fitness coach but with a fitness training rating of 1, this is clearly not good enough.
  • Lee Hook offered mutual termination. Down as a player/goalkeeping coach but goalkeeper training rating only 11 which is not good enough for me. Aging player with nothing offered to the first team either so clearing him out.
  • Callum Green, Head Physio, fired! Physiotherapy rating of 4 is nowhere near the standard I'm looking for from my medical team.
  • No scouts in place so I am free to bring in my own scouting team. Happy days!

The Board Expects...

So after my sit down with the Chairman, John Parmenter, we've set the board expectations at:

Vanarama National League: Top Half Finish
FA Cup: Reach First Round
FA Trophy: Reach Fourth Round

I'm feeling pretty pleased with this and it's good to see the board are not putting too much pressure on me in my first season in charge.


So I hired Brede Hangeland as my Assistant Manager. Very pleased to have him on board with plenty of top level experience as a player both in England and at international too. With a tactical knowledge rating of 12, I will be utilising him to set my opposition instructions for every match throughout the season.


So as mentioned before I used the 4-1-4-1 with two out and out wingers and an anchorman sitting just in front of the defence for all 6 friendlies. Overall I am relatively happy with how pre season has gone with my only defeat coming against West Ham (to be expected). Other than that, performances have been OK, not great but OK, and its good to see that my two strikers Ricky Miller and Ross Lafayette have been chipping in with 7 goals between them in the 6 games.

The highlight of pre season would have to be a 5-0 trouncing of Derby U23s, a game which we were predicted to lose. I definitely feel that this formation can work for me this season once the team has played a few more games and started to gel a bit more.
A solid start mate, nice and in depth, keep it up and hopefully take Dover onwards and upwards!
Thanks mgriffin2012..... I'm having a bit of a footie manager sesh today so will be more updates to follow :-)

August Review

We opened the season away at Gateshead, a team that are predicted to finish just inside the top half like ourselves, so I thought this would be a good game to assess where we are following pre season. An early goal from centre back Bondz N'Gala set us off to the perfect start, only to get sent off for an awful two footed lunge 9 minutes later. Obviously, being down to 10 men so early, our whole gameplan went out the window and I tried to shut up shop for 75 minutes and protect the 1 goal lead. We suffered a barrage on our goal with Gateshead racking up 30 shots against our 5. It didn't look good but I was delighted to come away with the smash and grab win, with two goals from corners coming early in both halves.

Our first home game of the season was against one of the league favourites in Lincoln City. I was expecting a stern test for our first outing at the Crabble Athletic Ground and we got exactly that. A very even affair with both sides recording 10 and 11 shots on goal respectively. Unfortunately Lincoln took their 1 clear cut chance, and we missed ours. Although our first defeat was on the board early in the season, I am not too disheartened with the decent performance against one of the best teams in the league.

Now this was a different story...I was disappointed with this result. We were the better team throughout with 14 shots to their 9 and 59% possession. We created 4 clear cut chances to their 2. Basically I felt let down by my team and I made sure they knew it after the game too. Their 82nd minute winner was a bitter pill to swallow considering it came from my own CB Sam Magri dwelling on the ball as the last man back, getting tackled by their CF who went through for an easy one on one against my keeper. Gutted as I felt we gave it to them!

So after giving my team a good kick up the arse following defeat to Woking, we had a tough visit from Aldershot to deal with. They had won 2 and drawn 1 of their opening 3 games so made a decent start and I knew a 3rd defeat in a row so early on in my career would have the fans on my back early on which I wanted to avoid at all costs. However, the boys did me proud as they rallied and produced a decent performance to take the game 2-0. Ricky Miller popped up with his first goal of the season too, so I was pleased he has the confidence boost to hopefully go on a goalscoring run early in the season for me now.

Performance of the year so far. A solid home performance at home to Wrexham resulting in a good 3-1 win. We created more chances, had 59% possession and restricting them mainly to long shots (5 of their 8 chances). Although I felt we were already all over them, once they had Russ Penn sent off, I went two up front to really turn the screw and the extra pressure secured the win with two late goals.

Clinical finishing was quite simply the difference in this game as the scoreline does flatter us a little. Boreham Wood had 54% possession and both teams created 9 chances with none of them being clear cut. DM Tom Champion popping up with two goals is a rarity, both coming from my wingers getting to the byeline, cutting it back to the edge of the box for an onrushing Champion to slot home.... Good to see my winger tactics starting to come into effect and with 4 goals scored I'm excited that the team is 'getting it' and it's starting to work.

We finished off August with a 0-0 draw away at Torquay. We only have ourselves to blame for this one as we created 12 chances, 4 clear cut, against their 9 chances (7 long shots). We just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net and I had to make strikers Ricky Miller (later replaced by Ross Lafayette) aware that this was not any level we have got to be taking at least 1 of 4 clear cut chances.

So a pretty solid start in the end. After 2 early defeats, we put together a run of 3 wins and a draw to leave us sitting just outside the playoff places. Hopefully we can maintain this run of form into September and keep in touch with the teams at the top of the table.

TRANSFERS - It's all about the midfield

Although there is no official transfer window in the Conference, I thought I'd give an update now at the end of August as to the players that have been brought in. Lots of new additions with a real focus on improving the Midfield as earlier identified when I took over the role.

Jordan Sanderson, Tom Champion, Ryan Burge, Max Makaka all coming in to rotate the CM positions throughout the season. And wingers, David Fitzpatrick, Taylor Tombides and Dale Jennings all coming in to fill the gaps out wide. Feeling good about the wingers I have brought in as I've taken my average crossing stat from about 7 to 11 with these new additions.

I also set up an affiliation with Fleetwood Town and as part of the deal I was offered 20 year old Joe Maguire on a season long loan. A very strong LB who learnt his trade at Liverpool, I just couldn't say no. With decent pace and acceleration (12), and good crossing (11) I made the left full back role an attacking one to take advantage of this young talent I'd got my hands on. But when I'm on the back foot and need to go more defensive, I know Joe can hold his own with excellent tackling (13), positioning (12), and anticipation (12) stats.

New Manager Ball Makes His Mark With New Dover Record

Strong start to the season, and it looks like you certainly know where the improvements need to be made with plenty of midfield reinforcements coming in! The longer you can hold that unbeaten run, the more impressive this season is going to turn out to be!


Started September with a solid 1-0 home win to Southport. A game that we were always in control of, with 14 attempts made and 55% possession. Although we didn't create any clear cut attempts, we restricted Southport and they never threatened our goal due to a solid defensive performance from my boys. A cool finish from outside the box from young winger James Caton secured us the 3 points.

This would be potentially our toughest test of the season so far. Away at Forest Green, predicted to finish 2nd, having made a fairly good start to their campaign and currently sitting 5th. I wished my boys good luck before the game and told them all I have faith in them to get out there and get the job done. We gave a good account of ourselves with 57% possession and 15 chances created. Ricky Miller scored a great goal, cutting in from the right wing and coolly slotted into the far corner to give us an early lead, only for Christian Doidge to score an absolute cracker from about 30 yards for them. On the face of it, it was a pretty even game and 1-1 a fair result that I was happy to take.

What a performance this was from my team. I rotated the squad a little having only played a tough match against Forest Green 3 days before and the players that came in did me proud and really gave me something to think about moving forward. Young winger Taylor Tombides came in and banged in 2 goals at the end of either half to secure the win for us. Well deserved as we dominated, with 59% possession and 16 chances created (4 clear cut).

Away at local rivals Maidstone, and I think Maidstone manager Jay Saunders rattled my team before the game with his constant hounding of our team in the press. I tried to maintain professionalism but next time I won't be so nice. We scraped a 1-1 draw despite being dominated throughout the game with Maidstone creating 20 chances against us...luckily they missed an early penalty which could of dented confidence otherwise it may have been a different story. Worst performance this season, but happy to have come away with a draw still.

After such a poor showing away to Maidstone in our previous match, I didn't go into this one with any real confidence. Macclesfield are a huge club playing in this league and one of my own favourites for promotion although the media don't agree. Twice we took the lead with two more goals from hitman Ricky Miller but twice we were pegged back about 15 minutes later. Some clinical finishing on show from both sides and again a pretty even game so a draw a fair result. Lady luck was on our side again as for the second game in a row the opposing side missed a penalty against us.


Went through September unbeaten with 2 wins and 3 draws. Have to say I am very pleased with this as at the start of the month, I checked out our upcoming fixtures and with 3 away games lined up against teams in the top 7, I wasn't feeling too optimistic. But to come away with 3 draws in these games I'll take anyday. My management philosophy has always been to secure at least a draw with the big teams away from home and then beat them at home. At the end of the season this is bound to stand you in good stead, providing you can consistently pick up the results against the smaller teams in the lower half throughout the year.

Ricky Miller looks like he is really starting to come to grips with his new role as a lone Complete Striker as he bangs in 4 goals in 5 games too. Young winger Taylor Tombides continues to impress since the York game and his future looks promising for the year.

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