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Coronavirus Kent: Dartford manager Steve King foresees financial struggles for National League clubs and calls for support

Manager Steve King predicts non-league clubs such as Dartford will face some testing times financially in the coming months – unless they are given help.

The Darts have been in amazing form since boss King took over in October and Dartford now lie sixth in National League South.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones

But like many other clubs within the English football pyramid, they will now be without a game until at least April 3 following the coronavirus outbreak.

As things stand, Dartford are due to return to action with a Kent derby at Maidstone next month. However, King isn’t convinced their season will resume then.

He said: “I don’t see it happening, no.

“I would like it to happen but I don’t see it happening, I really don’t.

"Clubs are going to struggle because they rely on gate receipts.

“When you think our gate on Saturday was just under 1,500 (1,486 watched their win over Chelmsford), we have got Bath to play at home which would be another 1,500-plus, we have got Weymouth to play at home at the end of the season – that’s another 1,500-plus – and Hungerford where we will probably get near enough the same again.

“So you are probably looking at losing the revenue of having 4,000-plus people (watching matches – dependant on how long the football hiatus continues).

“When you work that out financially, it’s a big, big chunk for a club like ours.

“I don’t know where the FA stands with it (with regards to) government funding.

“Whether they can help out the National League…we’ll just wait and see what happens.”

Dartford did, at least, go into the enforced break in style with a 3-0 success over Chelmsford.

First-half strikes from defender Josh Hill, facing his old club, and Elliott Romain put them in control before midfielder Noor Husin added a third to seal the victory.

King was also able to bring ex-Fulham defender Matthew Brigg on from the bench for his debut.

He said: “The performance was just different class, it really was.

“You never before would have heard me praise a performance to the extent I have done (with Saturday’s display).

“Someone showed me a statistic on Saturday that, for the last 10 games, we have been top of the form guide.

“For the last 15 games, we have been top of the form guide.

“For the last 20 games, we have been top of the form guide and, for the last 25 games, we have been top of the form guide.

“That’s just mental. It’s more than championship-winning form, it’s more than two points per game now.

“Anyone will tell you that, if you are getting two points per game, you should be getting close to winning the championship.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent


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