Monday, October 25 2010
Eighty-two balls in the hat for the FA Cup draw but it always seemed destined that Gillingham would be paired with Dover.
I’m sure Andy Hessenthaler and co had hoped Dover fans would have forgotten what happened in the summer and moved on.
But it appears not.
Dover need no incentive now on Tuesday night to win their FA Cup replay against Farnborough and set up what will be a cracking first round tie at Gillingham.
Whites fans will be hoping Martin Hayes and his team can dish out a bit of revenge after Hessenthaler left Crabble to return to Priestfield.
I don’t think anyone can really blame Hess for leaving, but what appears to still rankle with them is what happened afterwards, particularly the decision of Ian Hendon to leave just weeks after "joining" them as manager.
The problem is that Hendon never signed a deal (despite sitting with Whites chairman Jim Parmenter with pen in hand at a press conference to unveil him as manager!) and weeks later hot-footed it over to Priestfield to link up with Hessenthaler.
Nicky Southall followed and so did Darren Hare but who can blame them?
Dover are a great club and going places but as a professional you’ve got to aim high. Hessy did a good job at Dover and deserved another crack at the Gills job so why the hysteria?
Most managers have a team of trusted people that they keep close to them and that is no different than Hessenthaler. He and Hendon have been close since their Barnet days, and probably before that. Football can be a murky world and so it’s best to have people you can rely on close at hand.
It was a messy situation in the summer without a doubt but, like the Dover chairman said this week, it’s all worked out well in the end and Martin is doing the business so far at Crabble.
I’m sure that if Dover get through to play the Gills those Whites fans will be quick to attack Hess and co, but should they? I don’t think so.
Someone called me naive previously for saying such a thing but that’s football. We all have differing opinions.
I can’t see what is wrong with having ambition in the game and moving onwards and upwards. All Ian Hendon did was weight up his options and choose Gillingham. How it ever got to the stage where there was a press conference to announce him as manager before a deal had been signed is for others to answer.
Good luck to Dover on Tuesday, it’s great to have so much Kent involvement in the cup and congrats to Scott Porter and his Hythe team for making it this far.
Roll on November 6.