Andy Hessenthaler would love to take on the challenge of handling Dover Athletic next season


Andy Hessenthaler is up to the challenge of handling Dover again regardless of the outcome of their appeal for a points penalty and £ 40,000 fine.

The club were punished for refusing to continue playing midway through the National League campaign after President Jim Parmenter said he could no longer afford to play without the fans present.

Andy Hessenthaler is up for the challenge at Dover next season Photo: Alan Langley

Mr Partmenter said they would appeal the ruling, hoping to reduce a fine they can hardly afford and a 12-point deduction that would leave them facing a battle as early as next season. Their record for this season has now been erased.

Whites manager Hessenthaler, the rest of his coaching staff and all players are without a contract when the season officially ends. Dover has only played 15 games in the 2020/21 season.

Hessenthaler, who has been on leave since the Dover shutdown in February, said: “I’m without a contract, everyone is, but I want to stay and take up the challenge, whatever it is.

“This is a conversation between the president and myself, we have to sit down maybe in the next week and see where we go. Are we still going to be full-time or are we going to work part-time because of financial issues? We will see which direction we are going to go with the football club.

“It would be a difficult challenge for us, it would be a difficult start if it is minus 12, but what a great challenge to take up? If you can actually pull that off and stay in the division … I love challenges.

“I feel like I haven’t been able to do my job for the past two years, even the year before (2019/20) when we had to finish early with eight games to go, we were in and around. We were four points away from the play-offs, we had a good chance of making that last place, but unfortunately this season has come to a halt and this season has been an absolute nightmare.

“At the start of this season the president was honest and said the money was tight, that we had to ask the players to take pay cuts and that we had to manage this on a really tight budget. We didn’t get off to a good start and unfortunately we only played 15 games.

“I would like to think that the president wants me to stay, there are things unfinished because of what happened this year and last year. He also knows that we have a tough job, especially if we’re going to start with minus 12.

“I’m up for it, whether it’s full-time or part-time, I want to be part of continuing what we’re doing there. It won’t be easy but I’m up to the challenge.

Dover’s punishment could have been a demotion, and some might have preferred it, but not Hessenthaler.

He said: “As a club we want to be in the first division of the non-league whether it’s minus 12 or not. It could well be reduced, we do not know. As a manager and players we want to be in this division, it is the best division in non-league football, although it will be a challenge.

Dover started the season on the assumption that the subsidies given in the first few months would continue. This did not happen and loans were offered instead.

Mr Partmenter was not prepared to take on debt to get the club through the season, which could have been interrupted at the time by the high levels of Covid-19 rates in the country.

Other clubs were expected to follow but in the end only Dover acted.

Mr Parmenter told Sky Sports: “We have stepped outside when there are seven or eight other clubs in a similar situation, scared of the kind of action the league has taken against us.

“We have shown that we cannot afford to continue, or fund a loan, so how does fining ourselves £ 40,000 help football?”

Other clubs in the Northern and Southern National League have been fined for failing to complete matches in a league that has been arrested. Maidstone United has called for a vote of no confidence on the National League board.

Hessenthaler certainly thinks the questions need to be resolved.

He said: ‘The £ 40,000 fine is absolutely ridiculous, where are we going to find that? We do not have money.

“People like Dulwich Hamlet were fined and it’s absolutely outrageous they are fining teams in leagues that are basically null and void and so the season meant nothing anyway. How can you fine teams for not completing matches when the league is meaningless this season.

“The National League must look at itself. People have to be responsible for these decisions. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

“I hope we can win this call, they look at us favorably and we could reduce it if there are still sanctions against us.”


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