Published: 00:00, 12 June 2019
| Updated: 07:20, 12 June 2019
Will de Havilland is relishing a reunion with a few familiar faces after completing a move from Maidstone to Dover last Thursday.
The central defender joins on a two-year deal, starting July 1, after activating a relegation release clause in his Stones contract.
He marks the latest in a long line of players to make the switch from the Gallagher to Crabble, behind Lee Worgan, Kevin Lokko, Bobby-Joe Taylor, Jai Reason and Alfie Pavey.
De Havilland said: “I can’t wait to see Worgs (Lee Worgan) again. I got on with him really well
at Maidstone so it will be good working with him day in, day out.
“I know Bobby (Bobby-Joe Taylor) from when I was on loan at Aldershot, Alfie (Pavey) from when I was a scholar at Millwall.
“I know Jai from when I was on my first loan spell with Maidstone. I already know a few of the lads so it will be nice.”
A close-knit squad will be a welcome change for the 24-year-old on the back of a season in which Maidstone saw a string of personnel changes, inclusive of both players and staff.
He added: “That’s really important actually with teams that do well. I had a similar thing at Wycombe, a small squad but it didn’t change routinely. The togetherness and team spirit was some of the best I’ve played with and that played a massive part in getting promoted so I think that is a huge thing.
“That’s something we didn’t have at Maidstone, where we had about 50 or 60 players.”
Full-time football proved a major lure for De Havilland during his meetings with Whites boss Andy Hessenthaler, not to mention a drive to build on the club’s nine-game unbeaten finish to the National League campaign.
“I’m really looking forward to it actually, just excited to get going now, especially with how they (Dover) finished the season,” said De Havilland.
“They put a good run together and hopefully we can carry that momentum into next season.
“It must have been about a week or two ago I set up a meeting with the gaffer. He spoke about the club’s ambitions, the fact that it was full-time really appealed to me as well.
“That’s what I wanted this year, a full-time club where I’d be in every day and everything was done right.
“By the sounds of it, it was very professional and they’ve got ambitions to push on.
“There are a lot of big clubs now – Chesterfield, Notts County, Yeovil. There are some massive clubs. If you’re going to compete I think 100% you have to be full-time.
“I know we won’t have the biggest budget in the league and won’t be expected to finish right up there, but the ambition is that we can do that especially with how it was going last year.
“Anybody can challenge for the title, you just need results.”
De Havilland has also reflected positively on his time at Maidstone and tipped his former employers to earn promotion straight back to the National League.
“It was a tough time, especially with all the changes,” he admitted.
“We weren’t able to get that togetherness with the amount of players we had, but I really enjoyed my time there.
“The fans were good to me and I like the people in and around the club.
“It is a shame that the season went the way it did but hopefully they can bounce back straight away. I think they’ve got the capabilities to do that now.
“(Bosses) John Still and Hakan Hayrettin are getting their squad together now, they’ll get the players they want and will probably stick with them which is what it needs, a bit of stability.
“I think if they get that right, and they will, they’ll have a good chance of coming back up.”