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Dover Athletic keeper Andy Rafferty disappointed by handling of his departure from Crabble

Former Dover keeper Andy Rafferty is dismayed that his memorable spell at Crabble has been tarnished by the acrimonious manner of his departure.

The former Hartlepool stopper was one of five players – along with Tom Murphy, Craig Braham-Barrett, Naby Diallo and Duane Ofori-Acheampong – whose contracts expired after the final game of the season before discovering on Friday they were not being offered new deals.

Rafferty – who joined in September 2014 – revealed that while he was not surprised at the news that he would not be offered a new deal, which was broken on his 28th birthday, he found the manner of his release “unprofessional”.

Andy Rafferty. Picture: Matt Bristow
Andy Rafferty. Picture: Matt Bristow

He claimed he was not informed of his release by the club and only found out about it when he was tweeted by a fan who had seen an announcement on the club’s website.

Rafferty said: “It’s a shame it’s ended like this because I have a lot of good memories from my time at Dover and I really want to place on record my thanks to the fans. Ever since I joined the club they have been brilliant with me. They still are now, I’ve had some nice messages.”

He added: “Finding out when someone has tweeted you is not nice. In my experience, and talking to other players, it’s the norm to get you in the week after the season.

"To be fair (manager Chris Kinnear) did try to ring me on Thursday night but though I rang him straight back and left messages for him, he didn’t get back to me.

"It is unfortunate, but then he's had three-and-a-half weeks to get in touch with me and my agent had been trying to call him for the previous two months without any success either."

Rafferty revealed an SPL club had enquired about him in pre-season last year but added: “Dover priced me out of a move, saying I was their No.1. A couple of weeks later and I’m not in the team for the pre-season friendlies.

“I just wanted to know why they rejected what would have been a brilliant move for me.”

Rafferty added: “In January an SPL club showed interest in me and Dover basically put an unrealistic price-tag on my head when I only had four months left on my contract.

“At the time I was more than happy to stay and play, as I was in the team at the time, but I find it unbelievable that I have gone from having SPL interest, to now not even being told by Dover that they are not renewing my contract.

“I find it unprofessional that they didn’t have the decency to inform me. Some of the boys got letters through the post saying their options had been exercised, the academy boys who I coach got letters inviting them to training and all I got through the post was my pay-slips.”

A Dover spokesman said: "We had no formal offers from any club in relation to a move while he was under contract.

"We don't price players out of moves. We have a good record of allowing players to move on and progress."

As for his future, Rafferty said: “I’m waiting for managers to get back from holiday and see what the future holds.”

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