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Dartford's potential makes it an attractive job for new manager Alan Dowson


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Alan Dowson knows his job is to win promotion at Dartford - but he’s refusing to look that far ahead.

The 51-year-old returned from holiday on Monday and was at his new office in Princes Park the following day, immediately securing the signature of captain Tom Bonner.

New Dartford manager Alan Dowson is welcomed to the club by director Tony Burman, himself an ex-Darts boss
New Dartford manager Alan Dowson is welcomed to the club by director Tony Burman, himself an ex-Darts boss

The Darts finished in the play-off places under former manager Steve King and have made no secret over their ambition of returning to the top flight of non-league football.

It’s part of the attraction for Dowson, who can’t wait to see if he can realise Dartford’s undoubted potential.

“One of the attractions is that it’s a club where you know you can do something,” said Dowson.

“A lot of clubs out there you think it’s just a job, with Dartford it’s more than a job. It’s got good backing, a good stadium, a lot of people who want to work hard for the club.

“The chairman, the board and Tony Burman are all supporters of the club as well which I think is important, it means they care about the club.

“We’ve nearly got there in the last couple of years, it’s up to us in the next two years to make sure we do get there.”

Dowson was sacked by Woking at the end of February. He’s had clubs approach him to return to the game but he wanted to wait for something that could match his ambition.

“I’ve had offers but nothing really appealed,” added Dowson.

“If I’d taken a job, I would have been taking it for the sake of taking it. Here, I’m taking it because I really want it and I want to do well.

“It’s a really good club, I’ve always liked the club and the feel of it when you come here but you don’t realise until you join what it’s got around it.

“You’ve got the stadium, the training facilities, the directors who want to do well, so there’s not much wrong with Dartford.

“I keep saying if you haven’t got the people, you haven’t got a football club so I want to try and engage with the local people.

“Anybody can come in and have a cup of tea and meet me, as long as I’m not talking to a player. I’ve had people in this morning and it’s been nice to meet them.

“I’m looking forward to Sunday as they’ve got a family fun day so I’ll be meeting people there, which is great.

“All managers are different, I’ll be different to Steve King, he did a good job down here. I like to try and embrace the community, so come and join the journey and I look forward to meeting as many people as I can.

“It’s a blank sheet of paper but I had the same when I went to Woking.

“Everyone is saying ‘oh it’s a hard job, the manager’s left and the club finished fourth’, but I’m here to do a job. It doesn’t matter where you finished before, as long as in the next two years I can get the team promoted.

“Of course, I’m not daft. It will be harder this year because we’ve lost a lot and I’m late to start but if I didn’t think I could do it then I wouldn’t take the job, it would be pointless.

“I believe I can get the team up, if not this year then next year - we’ll be close, that’s for certain.”

Just like the manner he wants his teams to play in, Dowson is now going to have to work hard to catch up.

He joins the Darts just two months before the new National League South season gets under way.

“Let’s get the cards on the table, I am a bit behind but we’re not going to make any excuses,” stated Dowson.

“You’ve got to win every game of football. It’s pointless me sitting here if I don’t win games of football. I can make as many cups of tea as you like, go to the pub and have 10 pints but if I don’t win a game of football what’s the point of being here? So that’s the main aim.

“Ambition is promotion, of course it is. But I never look that far ahead. The main thing is to win a game of football on Saturday, if you do that then win again on the Tuesday.

“Last October, everyone thought Dartford would win the league by 20 points but the rest is history. You can’t plan too far ahead, just go game by game and try to win every one.”

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