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Dartford manager Tony Burman admits losing Tom Bonner and Tom Champion to Cambridge United was a killer blow

By Steve Tervet
Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton
Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton

Dartford manager Tony Burman has admitted the club never fully recovered last season from the summer departures of Tom Bonner and Tom Champion.

The pair both signed for Cambridge United and helped the U’s to a second-placed finish in Skrill Premier. Dartford, meanwhile, were relegated from the division.

Centre-back Bonner and midfielder Champion were always going to be big losses and although Burman’s summer signings raised their game in the latter part of the season, the damage done in the early months of 2013-14 proved irreparable.

Burman said: "I was unable to better the players that we lost. You can’t easily replace the calibre of what we built up.

"But it didn’t take Tom Bonner or Tom Champion six months or a year to be the players they are. It’s taken them longer. They had two, possibly three, years with us and we helped them to improve as players.

"When you get other players coming in from Conference South, which is where we have to normally look, you have to try to build them up to be better players. It hasn’t (happened). It will do, over time, but we got punished because we haven’t been able to bring in the calibre of what I’d like to have."

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