Hessenthaler staggered by decision
Hessenthaler staggered by decision

It’s been another weekend of head scratching for Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler following the announcement that the National League have fined the club for not playing on with the help of unaffordable loans and that they will start next season on minus twelve points.

“I’m staggered by the decision,” a bemused Hessenthaler admitted. “I knew that there would be some sanctions handed out because of the decision that we made, but for it to come out as heavy as it has, is totally beyond me!”

“As I’ve said before, the reason the Chairman made the decision he did was to save the Football Club – and he’s done that!”

“We’re going to be in the division next year and to be left starting on minus twelve and a forty-thousand-pound fine is, for me, very, very harsh! The Chairman will be appealing the situation quite rightly and we’ll have to see what comes of the appeal.”

“To be fair to the Chairman, he was honest at the start of the season saying that it would be a financial struggle due to the pandemic and having no crowds in.”

“I honestly think the National League should have stopped like the North and South personally, but we haven’t, and the League carried on and we stopped playing because we had no money, simple as that.”

With that in mind, the wording of the League statement on the issue becomes even more alarming as it stated – it said, “Dover Athletic had avoided costs by not completing their season alongside the other 22 clubs. In addition, The National League basic award meant they were significantly benefiting from not completing the season compared to the 22 clubs that continued.” 

Comments that have left the Dover boss completely perplexed, “It’s ludicrous!” he exclaimed. “How’s that an advantage when we start on minus twelve, and we’ve got a forty thousand pound fine to pay? We’ve got no money!”

“I think they’re implying that because the other teams have carried on playing and put themselves into debt which a lot of them probably have, because there are a number who wanted to do what we did, we still have to find a way to find a budget to start next season. All that, how can there be any advantage to us?” Hessenthaler asked.

“I’d like to think that all of this will have brought the Club closer together! I feel for the fans obviously as we’ve not seen them for a while, and they haven’t seen any football at Crabble for a long time.”

“We’ve got a lot of support in the game and I’m sure that come pre-season when we can hopefully get some games going and some fans will be able to come back in and we’ll see that fighting spirit that it will all come together and fight on as the Chairman has done!”

“That said, there can be no way that next season will start without the fans involved – we have to have fans back and that is for me the only way that we can start.”

“There have been too many mistakes from the National League and for me it would a major mistake if they think about starting the new season without fans – there’s no way it can happen!”

“People have to be accountable for the decisions that were made – don’t get me wrong; it certainly couldn’t have been easy for the guys who have made these decisions, but there have been too many bad mistakes as far as I’m concerned, so they’ve got to have a look at themselves and whether that means a re-jig of the board next year then so be it – they certainly need to look at themselves over the pandemic in the way that our League has dealt with everything!”