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More woes for Dover Athletic as COVID isolation threatens re-start

calendario 14.08.2021
by: Zach
  • England
  • League
  • Vanarama National
More woes for Dover Athletic as COVID isolation threatens re-start

Few clubs have fared worse than the National League’s Dover Athletic during the pandemic. After lockdowns, infections, isolations, furloughs, and funding disputes marred their 20/21 season, the club failed to field teams for their league fixtures and faced hefty consequences from the board. Fined £40,000 with a 12-points deduction for the coming season, Dover need to kick on this year to keep their heads above water.

Unfortunately for Andy Hessenthaler’s men, COVID interfered again ahead of their vital first game of the season. Dover aimed to pack 3,000 fans into their Crabble Stadium for their opening clash with Solihull. However, two Dover players tested positive for COVID, forcing the squad into a ten-day isolation period. 

While the club stated that ‘we now await confirmation regarding next Saturday’s opening National League game’, the match looks unlikely. Although Dover desperately need the game time, the points, and the matchday revenue, owner Jim Parmenter clarified that their ‘priority is the health and wellbeing of the players and staff.’

The latest blow looks set to extend Dover’s absence from the National League, the club’s last game being a 3-0 loss to Yeovil back in January. Dover’s strong pre-season form makes the possible delay all the crueller. In seven hard-fought friendlies, Dover held two clean sheets and scored 19 goals, losing only one of the games to League 2’s Stevenage.

This coincided with an outpouring of fan support and fundraising ahead of the season. The manager himself starred in a legends versus supporters fundraiser match, with the legends winning 19-2. Following the match, Hessenthaler celebrated the ‘feelgood factor’ alive and well at Dover. Before the latest COVID setback, the manager acknowledged that ‘things have gone against us and we are pulling together.’ 

Hessenthaler did his best to rally the Dover troops: ‘if we stick together to overcome the hurdle that’s been put in front of us then we will be okay.’ While prioritising health and wellbeing, Dover fans will hope the squad get back on the pitch as soon as possible and get to work on the campaign ahead. 

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