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Nicky Southall speaks following Dover Athletic departure

Nicky Southall has spoken out following his Dover departure.

His exit from his coaching role was announced last week, with the Crabble club saying he was unable to commit to Dover’s new training schedule.

Nicky Southall has spoken after his recent Dover departure. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Nicky Southall has spoken after his recent Dover departure. Picture: Barry Goodwin

But Southall says he was actually still discussing with his full-time employers if he could change his work schedule to ensure he was able to continue in his Dover role as they start training three mornings a week.

“I was probably a week or so down the line,” he said of those discussions.

“Andy [Hessenthaler, Dover’s manager] went away and we all wanted a break.

“We’d had a conversation before and the club said that they wanted me to speak to my current employers and I was in the middle of doing that.

“Obviously I had a conversation with Andy and it was quite a difficult one.

“But listen, I don’t want to go into that too much because of repercussions in the future.

“We know people come and go at football clubs and I wish Dover all the best.

“I know that I put 150% into the club and I think a lot of people appreciated that.

“There are a lot of good people there.”

Southall has previously had a player-boss role at Whitstable and spent four years as Maidstone’s assistant before his three-and-a-half-year stint with Dover.

That came after an illustrious career which saw the Gillingham favourite also play for Hartlepool, Grimsby, Bolton and Nottingham Forest.

And the 50-year-old says he is eager for a swift return into the game.

He commented: “It’s my occupation.

“You don’t play for 30-odd years and then go into coaching if it’s not your occupation, do you?”

Southall’s departure comes after Whites were relegated from the National League last season, having only won two matches all campaign, after they had started the season on minus-12 points.

The former midfielder admitted it was the hardest period he has experienced since hanging up his boots.

He said: “Obviously it was a difficult season last year. It was probably the hardest period for me as a coach with everything that went on behind the scenes.

“We were almost relegated straight away. We would have had to have got 55 or 60 points to have any chance of staying up and nobody has ever done that from that position before.

“We decided ‘Let’s look at this academy that we have got’. They have won a lot of leagues and cups and stuff.

“So we were really delighted with that. That was the main positive for Dover Football Club last season.

“We went to Wrexham and only narrowly lost there, drew late on at Bromley and beat Boreham Wood.

“So that was all a great experience for them.”

Southall added he would be interested in speaking to both full-time and part-time clubs about prospective new roles.

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