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Dartford chairman Dave Skinner wants Tony Burman to continue as manager despite relegation from Skrill Premier

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

Dartford are still coming to terms with relegation but the club’s board believe Tony Burman is the right man to lead them back to Conference Premier.

Chairman Dave Skinner lent the manager his backing straight after Monday’s 3-2 defeat to Tamworth, which condemned the Darts to the drop. And Burman, the club’s longest-serving manager, isn’t about to walk away.

Mr Skinner said: "Tony’s still the man for me. I don’t see any reason why not. Nobody could have overcome all the problems we’ve had this year any better, so why change for the sake of change?

"We know Tony, we know he’s a Dartford man through-and-through, so why bring someone else in, who’ll cost you bundles of money and probably think ‘all right, I lost’ and that’s it? Tony goes home on a Saturday night if we’ve lost and he sulks until Monday."

Burman considered quitting after Dartford were thrashed 5-1 by Wrexham in November, a result which came in the middle of their horrendous losing run. There was pressure on the board to sack him then but Mr Skinner spoke out in support of Burman, saying "if we have to go down, we’ll go down."

Asked if he wanted to carry on now, Burman said: "I think I do. If I ever had any negative thoughts, that I couldn’t do it, I’d be the first to say. The board want me to stay and as far as I know, that feeling is still there."

The dark days of November and December had Burman reeling.

He said: "You question what you do. We were up to about the fifth game on the trot that we lost, that was my worst time. I wasn’t close (to walking away) – I just wanted to know whether we had the full backing of everybody and the answer came back yes. So we carried on."

Dartford have enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years and this is their first relegation since 1985-86. Mr Skinner described the feeling as "empty" but also put the disappointment into perspective.

He said: "People who have only experienced Princes Park are going to be doubly disappointed. But those of us who have been here a bit longer remember all the troublesome times we had when we were homeless."

Full story in the Dartford Messenger.

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