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Former Gillingham and Dartford goalkeeper Jason Brown writes exclusively for the KM Group

Having enjoyed a successful season at Sutton United, I was hoping I could take that momentum into 2014/15 when I signed for Dartford.

When the fixtures came out, I remember seeing we had Wrexham – who had been tipped for the title – on the first day of the season. I was concerned because we hadn’t performed that well in pre-season.

But to my surprise, we took the game to Wrexham and for 65 minutes we were the better side. Then we hit a brick wall and they were able to exploit us.

After the game, I felt there was much to be optimistic about and that we would be fine but I was still concerned by the way we hit that brick wall.

That’s been one of our biggest struggles as a part-time team in a professional league.

I listened to Barnet manager Martin Allen talking after his promotion back into the Football League. He spoke about how the Conference has moved on so much, where managers are more tactically aware and teams now try to play football and take things more seriously by having fitness coaches.

These are areas where we’ve been found wanting and it’s cost us. Yes, people may talk about individual errors – which do happen – but in football today, these areas can be the difference.

For English football this is great but for semi-professional teams it’s going to spell the beginning of the end.

On my quest to one day become a manager, every experience at every club – good or bad – I have stored and at Dartford it’s the same.

Through the 10 months I’ve been with the club, there have been a lot of ups and downs.

Among the ups were the FA Cup run and giving the fans a fantastic day out at Bradford, where Lee Noble scored that backheel.

The downs include being racially abused while playing, annoying, niggling injuries and the sad death of my dad. At that time, Dartford were nothing but supportive and I will always be grateful.

I’m loving my coaching right now and I’m not sure if I’m going to play for another club or go into full-time coaching.

Thank you Dartford and all the best for the future.

Hopefully, one day I can come back and manage the club.

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