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Dartford sack manager Steve King after missing out on promotion from National League South

Dartford have sacked manager Steve King.

The Darts missed out on promotion after a penalty shoot-out defeat against Chippenham two weeks ago in the National League South play-off eliminator.

Steve King sacked as manager of Dartford Picture: Keith Gillard
Steve King sacked as manager of Dartford Picture: Keith Gillard

King’s side were beaten 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out after their match ended 0-0. Chippenham were beaten by Ebbsfleet in the semi-finals, who in turn lost to Dorking Wanderers in the final.

A brief statement from the Darts late on Tuesday night said: “Following a board meeting this evening, it was unanimously agreed to terminate the contract of Steve King."

The club offered more on Wednesday, saying: "Following a lengthy discussion at our board meeting last night the directors made the unanimous decision to dispense with the services of Steve King after a little over two and a half years.

"In that time our league position has been a source of pride. Finishing in the play offs three seasons in a row is a huge achievement.

"Steve King is clearly a talented manager hence his initial appointment.

"However, Dartford FC is built on stability and the wider footballing and supporter family within the community.

"Our recent approach to player recruitment, development and retention, though successful in terms of league position, hasn’t perhaps proved to be best fit for us and our ambitions / plans going forward. Steve is a talented professional manager but the board is very conscious of the responsibility we have to the club’s history and its future.

"We would like to place on record our thanks to Steve King for his tireless efforts since his appointment and we sincerely wish him well in whatever he does next."

The move to sack King comes a year after Dartford gave him a new three-year deal, with his contract at the club running to 2024.

King was appointed Dartford manager in October 2019, replacing the management duo of Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan.

He took over when Dartford had 13 points from as many league games but steered them to 56 points from 34 games and sixth spot when the season was halted due to Covid-19.

The play-offs were eventually played, with Dartford losing in the final at Weymouth - the fourth play-off final defeat of King’s managerial career at this level.

Dartford were second in the table when the 2020/21 campaign was declared null and void due to Covid while this season the Darts spent the first two months of the campaign at the top of the table after a flying start.

Form subsequently dropped off but they were never out of the top five and reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy. However, a home defeat to Braintree in early May saw the Darts relinquish third spot to rivals Ebbsfleet, finishing fourth in the table.

King’s league record in charge of Dartford was 44 wins from 80 games with 19 draws and 17 defeats.

The vacant position will certainly attract plenty of interest with perhaps the first decision of the Dartford board whether to remain part-time or move towards a full-time training model.

Of those candidates currently out of work, former Woking and Hampton boss Alan Dowson is available while Ryan Maxwell enjoyed an excellent second half to the season before leaving Braintree.

Former Welling player/manager Jamie Day, who won the Conference South title at Park View Road, is a former Dartford player and is available this summer after leaving his post as head coach of Bangladesh.

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