Sun. August 10, 2025
Manchester United vs. Dover
Wembley, London, UK
We face our main rival, Manchester United, in the Community Shield. This is the second consecutive year weíre in the competition and we are looking to defend after winning against City last season. We expect to face Manuel Perez in goal today, as he just arrives back from International duty in time to face us in his first game for United. Wonderful. He joins defender Cristian Rodriguez and midfielder Said Henni as former Dover players now starring for United. Of course, the main man on offence is Yaya Sanogo, who continues to score at will despite being 32 years old.
Weíll go with a full lineup today, with newcomer Sergio De la Vega
starting at right midfield over incumbent Gianluca Bolis
. Mads Pedersen
will start at left midfield for injured Arsene Bamba
, who will miss up to three months of action. Paul Moses
starts up front and has had difficulty regaining his fitness after missing so much time last year.
Dover: 4-4-2 Control
GK - I. Wilke
D - Renato Gaucho, C. Contreras, R. Hamon, S. Loucif
M - M. Pedersen, B. Raab, Jose, S. De la Vega
S - P. Moses, Chiquinho
Manchester United 1 - 0 Dover
Man of the Match - Jaroslaw Brzyski (Manchester United DC - 7.4)
Other Dover Notables -
Attendance - 82,540
Ugh. Not a great game and United didnít even play Sanogo, Henni or Rodriguez, arguably their three top players. Not a good start for us. Oscar Briceno, one of their strikers, scored on a 3rd minute header off a corner for the only goal of the game. Possession was even and we outshot United 17-7 (6-4 on target).
MANCHESTER UNITED WIN THE 2025 COMMUNITY SHIELD
-- Ha. We get a note that the attendance for the Community Shield was a record low by over 4000 fans. I blame United!
-- We continue to load up on the best youth talent in the game, bringing in 18 year old striker Bakary Kone
from AIK for a modest £2.5 million!
This guy is a flat out STUD and joins a ridiculous U18 striker core of Fernando Estrada
and Marcus Sowter
. Kone is a 2.0/4.0 talent already and I immediately worry about how all three are going to get enough playing time. Iíll monitor the situation closely but may have to loan one of them out eventually.
-- I have two key players in the last year of their deals in Gianluca Bolis
and Saber Nasri
- Nasri has fallen to fourth on my depth chart and Bolis, at the moment, is a 1B player alongside newcomer Sergio De la Vega
. I go fishing to see what I can get in the transfer market and offers come in for £12.5 million for Bolis and £6 million for Nasri. I reject both for now but will keep those in mind. Iíd rather keep Bolis if I can at this point but Nasri will definitely be a transfer candidate so I can at least get something for him as opposed to losing him for nothing on a Bosman transfer.
-- We come to terms on a new three year extension for blossoming midfielder Emmerson Harvey
. Heíll get a huge raise and sees his contract extended to 2029. Good show.
-- We have a number of U21 players take part in friendlies. Michel Benard
and Felix Hernandez
suit up for the France U21 team - pretty big honour for the 16 year old Benard! Alberto Velazquez
(Mexico U20 - 1 goal), Fernando Estrada
(Mexico), Adrian Torres
(Spain U20), Juan Jose Culebras
(Spain U20) and Bakary Kone
(Ivory Coast U20) also played.
-- We find a backup goalkeeper, bringing in 23 year old English international Chris Davies
to Dover in a £2 million deal with Reading.
Davies is an emerging player and is rated 2.5/2.5, basically putting him just under Ingo WIlke
from a pure talent perspective but Wilke has always outperformed his ratings. Hopefully, Davies does the same! We had a chance to bring in an American goalkeeper but I couldnít get a contract settled with his agent so Iíll be content with Davies as a backup. He should be able to play about 15 to 20 games for us without issue.
Clause Money IN
-- Last year, we sold promising striker Orlando Scolari
to Udinese in Italy for £3.8 million and smartly built in a 20% sell on clause. Well, he just sold for a whopping £10.75 million so weíll be getting 20% of that paid out over the next three years. Love it!
2025-26 Dover Athletic Squad
-- We head into our season opener against Tottenham with 27 first team players, the same number as last year. Here's a look at a breakdown of our senior team along with notes on our reserves, players on loan and key U18 personnel. Preferred starters are noted in bold
, Chris Davies
IN: Chris Davies (Reading - £2.0m)
OUT: Steven Potter (Middlesbrough - £750,000), Manuel Perez (Manchester United - £27.5m)
Manchester United ran into major injury issues in goal and came hard after star Manuel Perez, meeting his minimum release clause and forcing a transfer. Itís a significant loss, as we turn to 31 year old veteran Wilke, who will once again lead the way like he has for so many years. We also moved reserves keeper Potter out but bring in 23 year old English international Chris Davies as our backup. We are definitely weaker in goal this year with the sale of Perez. There are keepers on the market I can go after if Wilke canít get the job done.
, Rafinha, Renato Gaucho
, Saber Nasri, Rayane Hamon
, Claudio Contreras
, Mwemere Mutesa, Adrian Torres, Rodolfo Lopez
IN: Rodolfo Lopez (Galatasaray - £16m), Adrian Torres (Sevilla - £2m)
OUT: Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz (Aris - Free), Hans Briers (Deportivo - £600,000), Carlos Guzman (Released), Steve Reed (Stoke - £750,000), Adam Betts (Charlton - Loan), Emerson (Recreativo - Loan)
Once again, we have the same starting four at the back but Renato Gaucho and Salim Loucif are officially on watch after down seasons last year. I spent a ton of money to bring in talented fullback Rodolfo Lopez and he will get every chance to push our captain Loucif for a starting position. Loucif is in a contract year. Saber Nasri is also in a contract year and Iím actively attempting to sell him, as he is making a ridiculous wage for a #4 centre half back, having been overtaken by promising youngster Mwemere Mutesa. Iím also intrigued by newcomer Adrian Torres and heíll get much more playing time after we sell Nasri. We are better with the addition of Lopez but depth is a minor concern once we move Nasri.
, Emmerson Harvey, Jose
, Neil Cairney, Gianluca Bolis
, Sergio De la Vega, Mads Pedersen, Benedikt Raab
, Paolo Secchi
IN: Sergio De la Vega (Pachuca - £7m)
OUT: Lyubomir Kunchev (Evian TG FC - £5.5m), Andrea Rocca (Released), Marcel Quade (Modena - £500k), Vlastimil Silhavy (Leverkusen - £1.4m), Felix Hernandez (Metalist - Loan), Graham Allan (Everton - £7.5m)
Last year we saw the emergence of young star Raab, as he took over from wonderkid Neil Cairney. We didnít get good play from Arsene Bamba, who continues to be very injury prone and will once again miss a chunk of time early in the season. Gianluca Bolis will be pushed hard by newcomer De la Vega and Mads Pedersen will hopefully continue his progression on the left side. We also expect Emmerson Harvey to take the next step, as he starts to push for more playing time with the release of longtime Dover midfielder Andrea Rocca. Weíre not as deep here as last year but our talent is unquestionable.
Zoltan Bardi, Andy Broomes, Chiquinho
, Manuel Lugo, Paul Moses
OUT: Alberto Velazquez (Werder Bremen - Loan)
We will go with the same roster of strikers as last year and hope that injuries donít hit as hard as they did last year. The key to our team is the health and production from Paul Moses, who had two significant injuries last year that limited him to only 11 starts. We need his explosiveness and I think he still will need some time to get back up to speed. I am watching Chiquinho closely - heís got two years left on his contract, is 29 years old and was very inconsistent last season - he will be pushed hard by last yearís leading scorer, Andy Broomes, veteran Zoltan Bardi and last yearís big signing, Manuel Lugo, who has been a huge disappointment thus far but has talent to burn. We hope heís settled in by now. Our talent and depth here is incredible and we have prospects galore on loan and with our U18 team. This is a major strength on the team.
RESERVE TEAM -
DC Danny Hope, ST Neil Evans
Neither of these players will amount to anything here and have contracts that will expire at the end of this year without being renewed.
U18 SQUAD -
GK Philippe Jung, GK Jordan Tandy, DL Lorenzo Raimondi, DC Luis Miguel Garcia, DC Robert Hoffmann, DC Dominico Fracassetti, DC Andrew Hunter, DR Eneko Remirez, DC Francisco Lopez, DC Kevin Mirzai, DL Ralf Kramer, DL Liam Pearce, ML Stuart Cousins , MC Juan Jose Culebras, MC Michel Benard, MR Giuseppe Forti, ML Cheikh Gueye, MC Nathan Protheroe, MR Stephen Brannigan, ML Jonahtan Langlet, MC Edward Smith, ST Marcus Sowter, ST Fernando Estrada, ST Freddie Laird, ST Bakary Kone
We have some CRAZY talent here, with Garcia, Remirez, Lopez, Kramer, Culebras, Benard, Langlet, Sowter, Estrada and Kone all having 3.0 star potential or greater. We might average 6 goals a game with this crew in the U18 league.
PLAYERS AWAY ON LOAN -
DC Adam Betts, DR Emerson, ML Felix Hernandez, ST Alberto Velazquez
Emerson, Hernandez and Velazquez are all very strong talents and could eventually make their mark with our club.
Our goals are simple:
1. Win the Barclays Premier League
2. Win the Champions League
3. Repeat as FA Cup champions
Lets do it.
-- We open our Premier League season on the road as underdogs against Tottenham.