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New Dartford boss Alan Dowson can bring community and supporters together, says co-chairman Steve Irving

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New Dartford manager Alan Dowson is the perfect fit for the club, says co-chairman Steve Irving.

The 51-year-old former Woking and Hampton boss takes over just one week after the club sacked Steve King.

New Dartford manager Alan Dowson. Picture: David Holmes
New Dartford manager Alan Dowson. Picture: David Holmes

There was no shortage of applicants for the vacant position but Dowson stood out from a high-quality field.

Irving said: “Alan just seemed to be the right man and fit given his track record is excellent at his last three clubs.

“We first knew of him when he was at Kingstonian and we were coming through the Isthmian League at the same time under Tony Burman.

“He went to Hampton and got to the play-offs there and lost to Braintree - as we did that season as well.

“Then at Woking he got promotion in the first season and then established them in the National League.

“He is the sort of guy that can bring the community and supporters together.

“As before, the job attracted a lot of interest and very quickly after the announcement we had applications coming in, it was 30 or 40 in the first couple of days.

“We took a bit of time to go through them and it became apparent quite quickly that Alan was a real standout candidate.

“We had some very strong candidates but you can only give the job to one person!”

Dartford released a statement last Wednesday following King’s departure where they stated “Dartford FC is built on stability and the wider footballing and supporter family within the community”.

It’s unlike the board of directors to make public their feelings but the Darts clearly feel there is work to do in the community again going forward and Dowson certainly appears to tick those boxes as well as his managerial credentials.

“It’s not something that we as a board go out and criticise,” added Irving. “It was a statement that was heartfelt and true. We felt the community side of things had taken a bit of a hit.

“We looked at Dowse’s record and checked with people at previous clubs, and since his appointment we’ve had several supporters from his previous clubs contact us to say how great he is within the community and with the supporters.”

Dartford co-chairman Steve Irving says Alan Dowson's track record at his last three clubs is excellent. Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford co-chairman Steve Irving says Alan Dowson's track record at his last three clubs is excellent. Picture: Andy Payton

Dartford will remain part-time next season, although the ambition within the club is to change to full-time training in the future.

The late finish to the previous campaign means Dowson, 51, is playing catch-up to an extent but there’s still plenty of time before pre-season begins.

“We’re going to stay as we are for the time being and the plan is that we liaise with Alan about what is best going forward,” said Irving.

“We are quite clear about where we want to be.

“We want to be in the National League and we’ll need to change the model a little bit but we’ll work closely together to do that.

“It’s not ideal because of the late finish to the season but the expectation is that given Alan Dowson has managed at his level, I don’t have any worries about the timescale.

“We’ve got four weeks until pre-season starts and then nine or 10 weeks until the first game.

“The disappointment in the play-offs in the past few years is driving us all on and the ambition within the club is to get to the National League again - and stay longer than before.”

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