Dartford boss Alan Dowson has been singing the praises of his assistant, Christian Jolley.
It was a first season in coaching for Jolley, a former player and physio under Dowson who had a spell in the Football League at Newport during his playing days.
The calm 35-year-old slotted in nicely alongside the more eccentric Dowson as they guided the Darts to the play-offs in National League South.
“Christian is a great lad and I love being around him,” said Dowson. “He’s a top man, everybody loves Christian. He’s got a way about him.
“I had him at Kingstonian as a young player and he got his move to Newport under Justin Edinburgh. He was a good player, I had him at Woking and wanted to keep him around us so he worked as the physio there.
“When I got the job at Dartford, he was the first one I wanted to see if he could come along as well.
“He's a very respectful guy so we’re like a good cop, bad cop. People like to see him. He’s a really good kid and I haven’t heard anyone say a bad word about him.”
Even though it’s his first coaching role, Jolley isn’t afraid to tell Dowson when he disagrees with a decision.
It’s the same for all of his backroom team.
“I’ve got a good staff here,” added Dowson. “We talk two or three times a day and he’s not scared to say what he thinks. You need people to tell you what’s right or not. Christian is calmer than me so he can get the point across well.
“He knows what I was like as a manager when he was a player and a physio, so he knows what to expect as the assistant as well.”
The Darts boss even joked Jolley is starting to show similar traits on the sidelines when it comes to berating match officials.
“I even got him to swear a little bit as well,” he laughed. “I think that’s an achievement in a way because I’ve never really heard him swear. When he used to shout, he’d just say ‘referee’ and so I used to batter him for that.”
But that might be where the influence ends with Jolley.
Dowson added: “He’s a fitness fanatic and is into water and all that, whereas I want beer and burgers! That’s why I’m fat and he’s got a body like an ironing board.”
Dartford’s pre-season campaign includes a trip to the north east, with Dowson’s squad visiting Northern Premier East side Dunston UTS, who play at Step 4, on Saturday, July 15.
“I’m going to take them up to Gateshead to learn the language!” joked Geordie Dowson.
“When you bring a player in from abroad they have to learn the language, so I’m going to make my players learn, too!
“I do it every year, take the staff out, and the players have a night out to bond together. We did it last season in a way, we went to restaurants and places like that as that extra spirit can give you another five or 10 points a season.”
Dartford’s pre-season also includes trips to three 3G pitches, against Margate, Bromley and Billericay.
“There’s so many in the league,” said Dowson. “We’ve got to get used to them as a lot of teams have them.
“Obviously, we train on one but we want to play some friendlies on them as well.”
Pre-season fixtures: Sat July 8: Charlton (h), Sat July 15: Dunston (a), Tue July 18: Margate (a), Sat July 22: Gillingham (h), Tue July 25: Bromley (a), Fri July 28: Phoenix Sports (a), Sat July 29: Billericay (a), Tue Aug 1: Leatherhead (a).