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Dartford boss Tony Burman tells fans: 'We're not Manchester United'

By Matthew Panting

Dartford’s critics need to get a reality check with the season reaching crunch time.

Manager Tony Burman wants the club’s pessimists to put their views aside and get behind the team with just eight matches remaining in National League South.

In a lengthy rant, Burman admitted that it has been like banging his head “against a brick wall” with the criticism his team continue to receive.

Dartford boss Tony Burman is tired of criticism from the terraces Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford boss Tony Burman is tired of criticism from the terraces Picture: Andy Payton

“I think I know how to be challenging for league titles and how teams should play,” stated Burman.

“We’re not a Premier League club, we’re not Manchester United, Liverpool or Manchester City – we’re Dartford from National League South.

“Get a reality check some of you of where we are, we’re the most boring side you’ve ever seen this season but now we’ve scored 68 goals – the highest in the league. That’s really boring, really, really boring.

“I don’t find it funny. I think some people only see the players for 90 minutes on a Saturday. They haven’t got a clue what’s gone on from Monday to Friday, and they’re not interested, either. They don’t know what’s gone on, I do.

“If they are constructive in their comments then great but when they are damn right disrespectful (it's wrong). To me, it’s not a problem as that’s the manager’s job (to deal with that). But not when it’s disrespectful to players or directors and volunteers and the way the club is.

“Last week I said there’s something not quite right. We’d been top of the league (since November) and we might as well have been mid-table. I’ve got a feeling there’s too many people here who might just not want to go up.

“I’m not worried about going up, I’m worried about winning this league and that’s what I’m trying to do."

Burman’s squad appeared to have developed something of a siege mentality, ignoring all those around them in the past week after the dismal display in losing to Poole.

Two goals in the last nine minutes to sink Hemel Hempstead last Saturday showed their detractors just how much character there is inside the dressing room.

“It just gets on your nerves sometimes,” added Burman. “But I’m the manager, they can give me as much stick as they want to, and they will.

“But on and off the field we’ve got to be together. If this club isn’t together on and off the field then we’ve got no chance.

“I told the players not to take notice of anyone else, just take notice of what I tell them.

Ryan Hayes helps Darts to their 3-2 win over Hemel Hempstead Picture: Andy Payton
Ryan Hayes helps Darts to their 3-2 win over Hemel Hempstead Picture: Andy Payton

“People can criticise us. They think they know more than what we do and they criticise that we play a long ball, it is absolute (rubbish).

“We’re in National League South, get a grip. I’m having a little rant now but I want to get it off my chest. We try to play to win the game, short ball, long ball, medium ball, sideways or backwards – if it’s the right ball, play it.

“Regardless of what 11 I put out, no-one is going anywhere, they are all with me. They could have gone hiding this week.

“There is another team playing, and they do have tactics and they do have formations and you do have to look at them.”

Dartford travel to Oxford City this Saturday, needing three points to keep the pressure on leaders Havant. Right-back Danny Harris is fit to return after missing the Hemel Hempstead match with a hamstring injury.

Read the full interview in this week's Dartford Messenger

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