Dover Player Retirements and Other Departures
-- Well, it’s a very sad day, as long-time Dover midfielder Andrea Rocca
packs up his belongings and leaves the club without a new deal. Simply put, his agent was asking for too much money and at best, he was going to be a fifth or sixth choice this year so we bid adieu to a fan and personal favourite. Rocca first electrified our supporters back in 2016-17 when he spent the year here on loan from Arsenal. We were in League 1 at that time and he was easily our top player even as a 19 year old, scoring 14 goals and adding 20 assists in 46 games to help us earn promotion to the Championship. He’d be sold to Celta that offseason and spend one year in Spain before coming to Dover for good in a solid £1.6 million deal. Rocca would spend seven more years with our club, all in the Premier League and there’s no question that he leaves as one of the most talented figures to ever suit up for us. In all, he played eight full seasons, appeared in 298 matches, scored 46 goals and added an incredible 114 assists. He was a master at set pieces, with a wonderful knack for corners and his left foot was filled with power and deception, as he owned a wicked curling blast on free kicks. I hope he continues his career as he approaches 30, still hope he gets that elusive first international cap for Italy and we wish this icon all the best in the future.
-- Central defender Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz
leaves the club on a free, having signed with Greek club Aris. I scooped up a 16 year old Yilmaz from INF Clairefontaine back in 2019 for a VERY modest £120,000 and the youngster spent three full years with our U18 team to develop his skills and also gain eligibility as a home-grown player for European play. He’d graduate to our senior club in 2022 and would play three seasons with our main club. In all, he spent six years at Dover, played in 34 games, scored five goals and added one assist. He was always excellent when called upon and we wish him well in Greece.
-- We also complete a £500,000 transfer for defender Hans Briers
, who heads to Deportivo in a previously arranged deal. We signed Briers on a free from Anderlecht in 2022 and he spent one year with our U18s before spending two years in the Championship on loan with Coventry and then Hull last year. He never suited up for our senior club. I’m thrilled to get anything for him, to be honest!
-- I also release a few players from our Reserves team and our U18 team with expiring contracts. Leaving the club are MC Warren WInd
, MR Steven Miller
, MC Gary Archer
, ML Adam Hyde
, GK Luigi Nicoletti
, DC Fouad van der Horst
and DL Dennis Richter
. None of those players suited up for our senior team and none will be missed.
-- Interestingly enough, Carlos Guzman
sticks around despite not having a contract. If you recall, I recently tried to extend him but was foiled by the work permit authority, who denied my wish for an extension. I guess Guzman is allowed to stick around on his old deal so for now, I’ll get to keep him here on a weekly basis, which is fine by me.
Transfer Market Plans
-- I’ve already touched on my transfer market plans, which are relatively modest this year. I would like a stud right midfielder and beyond that, I’m just looking to add the best young talent available. That said, I love strikers and will always seek out the best there and I’ll make possible stabs on right fullbacks and maybe a young goalkeeper if anyone is available.
World's Richest Club List
-- Real Madrid maintain their status as the world’s richest club for a fourth straight season, with an estimated value of £720 million, DOWN more than £70 million after dropping £53 million the year before. Those are HUGE decreases but they maintain their spot at the top of the world list. Barca are at £672 million (down £28 million from last year and now down almost £150 million in the last three years). FC Bayern climb to third at £435 million and Manchester United drop to fourth but gain £16 million in value and are now up to £434 million. Arsenal (??) climb one spot to fifth at £379 million. Tottenham move up to 7th, City drop from 5th to 8th (and lose over £50 million in the process), Chelsea drop from 8th to 12th and Liverpool are in 19th. We stay in 23rd position, same as last year, with a value of £141 million, up a modest £5 million from last year. We’ll never move up much more than this unless we get a new stadium.
July Board Confidence Update
-- The board are very pleased with my overall leadership. Our FA Cup win is the main highlight but they are slightly disappointed with the departure of Hans Briers
. Oh, now THAT is rich! Haha!
-- We recorded a PROFIT last month of £7.19 million. That’s a rarity for me in the month of June!
-- I get a note about a few possible buyout fees available on transfer clauses previously set and I cash in on two of them: one for Kostas Kalfas and another for striker Roberto, who I guess has become relevant again in lower leagues and his club is worried about the clause. I accept their buyout offer and take the money and run!
-- We have a bunch of offers out right now and I expect a flood of good news soon but I’m delighted to say that we have signed the best young football prospect in the world, at least according to my scouting team. Welcome 15 year old (!!) Michel Benard
to Dover in a £5 million transfer with AJ Auxerre!
He’s only a baby but my scouts feel he has 4.0 star potential, which would put him amongst the world’s elite players. He’ll be 16 in August and has up to three years to spend with our U18 team if I so desire. That said, I may eventually send him abroad but for this year, he’ll definitely stay here and we’ll attempt to get him settled in England. Great looking prospect.
- We have a number of key players in the last year of their contract: GK Manuel Perez
, DR and captain Salim Loucif
, MR Gianluca Bolis
, MC Neil Cairney
, MC Emmerson Harvey
, ST Paul Moses
, GK Ingo Wilke
, DL Renato Gaucho
and DC Saber Nasri
are all important players and I’ll be looking to extend them all soon. That’s a lot of key players! Also with expiring deals are MR Graham Allan
, DR Steve Reed
and MR Marcel Quade
, who may not see extension offers.
Manager, Team & Stadium Status and Media Expectations
The big news is my huge salary increase which takes me to over £4 million per year. Just crazy money!!
Ticket prices remain pretty static and our team value edges up a bit. I don’t know how much more that value can increase without a new stadium…
No changes to our facilities over the past year but we do have some construction finally underway on a training ground and youth facility improvement. Work should be completed soon. My big desire is to get into a bigger stadium but I don’t see the day where that will happen, unfortunately.