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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler says midfielder Omar Mussa stayed with him and wife Nikki for two weeks due to cutbacks


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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler has revealed that money's been so tight this season that one of his players had to stay with him for two weeks.

Hessenthaler and wife Nikki welcomed Whites midfielder Omar Mussa into their home earlier this season as the club couldn't afford somewhere for the 20-year-old to stay.

Omar Mussa joined Dover Athletic in October 2020. Picture: Richard Harvey (42865935)
Omar Mussa joined Dover Athletic in October 2020. Picture: Richard Harvey (42865935)

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter put his entire first-team squad and management team on furlough at the weekend as he can no longer afford to fund their wages without any external grant from the government.

Hessenthaler's revelation shows not only how tough it has been for Dover throughout the season, but also how the former Gillingham boss is willing to go the extra mile for any of his players.

"People don't know it but Omar stayed with me and my wife for two weeks," said Hessenthaler.

"Financially, the club couldn't find him anywhere to live so he came and lived with me - he ate me out of food, mind!

"It's all part of what's been going on over the last year.

"I got a bit of stick from the boys and there were a few asking if I had any room for them as well!

"I did it because I believed in him as a player. It was a no-brainer for me.

"He was at Walsall and then went back to Belgium but I saw enough of him in training to sign him. With the season being so stop-start, I don't think we've seen the best of him yet.

"I'd do it again for any of my players - that's just me and the way I work."

Mussa - who had a liking for "coleslaw sandwiches at midnight" according to his boss - moved out once the club were able to find suitable accommodation.

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler and wife Nikki hosted midfielder Omar Mussa earlier this season.
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler and wife Nikki hosted midfielder Omar Mussa earlier this season.

Dover have now put their National League season on hold and Hessenthaler admitted that it's been a campaign like no other.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen finances tighter than ever, uncertainty from one week to the next about whether they will play or not, and even now the National League vote on whether to continue or null and void the season could linger on for another fortnight.

"I did a management course years ago with Harry Redknapp and Dave Bassett," recalled Hessenthaler, who returned to the Crabble hotseat in October 2018.

"I learned a lot about the media and working with budgets but you don't get anything on those courses about how to deal with the situation we're in at the moment and how to handle it, of course you wouldn't.

"I've been frustrated but I'm okay and I'm the first person to put this all into perspective.

"Football is my life, and my job, but this pandemic has caused problems to a lot of people, many people have lost their lives and I always remember that."

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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