DOVER Athletic’s commercial director Roger Knight is dreaming of an FA Cup win over Town – but he’d rather it took place at the Crabble than the Galpharm!
The man who is marking 25 years’ involvement with the Conference South club, whose quaintly-named home lies high above the Kent ferryport, is happy to admit taking Lee Clark’s side to a financially lucrative replay, then winning a place in round four, would be a great outcome.
“It’s not too much to ask, surely?” quips the businessman who has been on the board for 15 years after first getting involved with the club he’s supported since childhood as a sponsor back in 1985.
Dover, managed by ex-Arsenal player Martin Hayes, have already seen off League II sides Gillingham and Aldershot during an FA Cup campaign which began with a 5-1 home win over Erith Town in the second qualifying round back on September 25.
The scalps of Cambridge City and Farnborough followed, and 4,123 turned out for the 2-0 triumph over Aldershot which took the Whites to the third round for the first time.
Not surprisingly, cup fever has gripped the Kent town, and Knight is hopeful more than three times the hardcore support of 600 will make the 270-mile trek North on Saturday.
As well as boosting the coffers, the cup run has raised the profile of Dover, who battle it out with Gillingham, Charlton and the leading London clubs for support.
“You see supporters leaving here for London every Saturday,” said Knight, who comes from a West Ham-supporting family but has lived in Dover most of his life and now runs a design, print and signage company.
“That’s always going to happen, but if just some of the people who go up to Huddersfield on Saturday stick with us, that would be great.
“We like to think the club is well run. There are five of us on the board, and we take the same approach to football as we do to our businesses, which is don’t carry debt.
“But that isn’t to say we aren’t ambitious. This club has been in the national Conference before, and that’s where we want to get back to, in fact it’s our top priority.”
Hayes’ side are fourth in the Conference South after Monday’s thumping 7-2 win at Thurrock, in which ex-Arsenal striker Adam Birchall, a Wales Under 21 international, netted five times to take his season’s haul to 27, 11 of them coming during a cup run which has so far yielded 18 goals.
“It’s been a great adventure, and hopefully it will go on for a while longer yet,” continues Knight, who will be among the party which flies North on Saturday morning.
“We looked into various ways of getting to the game, and being a port with a number of shipping companies on the doorstep, we had offers to sail up to Hull and get a coach from there,” explained Knight.
“But we also have an airport nearby, and given that most of the players will be working on Friday, flying up is a great option.
“We’re under no illusions as to how tough it’s going to be for us, but we’re preparing as thoroughly as we can, and you never know, Huddersfield might have an off day!”