Mon. August 8, 2022
Margate (England Non-League) vs. Dover
Hartsdown Park, Margate, UK
Margate at one time got as far at the Blue Square Bet Premier division back in 2003/04 but since have fallen into the depths of non-league football. This game could get REALLY ugly.
We're fielding a very weak lineup today but Paul Moses
, Wayne Rooney
and Graham Allan
will play. I call up a ton of my U18 players as well.
Dover: 4-4-2 Control
GK - L. Read
D - S. Kraft, E. Agbo, M. Yilmaz, S. Reed
M - S. Ingram, E. Harvey, S. Spall, G. Allan
S - P. Moses, W. Rooney
Margate 0 - 3 Dover
Goals - Emmanuel Agbo 2 (9.3), Emmerson Harvey (7.8)
Assists - Shaun Spall 2 (8.4), Steve Reed (7.6)
Man of the Match - Emmanuel Agbo
Other Dover Notables - Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz (7.0), Sebastien Kraft (7.4)
Attendance - 1,581
A very uninspired performance today, even if I did start a bunch of scrubs. I still expected Paul Moses to score five goals and he never even got loose in this game. I think Wayne Rooney is completely done but we'll see…I kind of thought the same thing last year and I couldn't have been more wrong. We held 55% of overall possession and outshot them 16-2 (5-0 on target). They sat back in an ugly 5-2-2-1 formation, with five defenders and two defensive midfielders. Yawn.
-- We close out the preseason undefeated, with a 7-2-0 record.
-- Yikes. Palermo come calling for Gianluca Bolis
, offering £20,000,000. Ooh boy. No sale but that's a LOT of money. He's way too important to our team to give up so the only chance he leaves is if the board steps in.
-- We have three key players injured right now: Zoltan Bardi
, Kostas Zagos
and Said Henni
are all a couple weeks away from returning to training.
Champions League Update
-- As indicated previously, we're fortunate enough to be entering the competition at the Group Stage. Right now, during the Best Placed Playoff, you have matchups like Olympiakos vs. Porto, Club Brugge vs. Le Mans FC, Liverpool vs. Wolfsburg, Fiorentina vs. Ajax and Barcelona (!!) vs. Metalist. Can't believe Barca finished fourth last year in the league and are forced to enter at this stage despite making it to the semi-finals last year.
-- Arsene Bamba
, Daniel Traore
, Manuel Perez
, Paulus Tjiuoro
and Salim Loucif
all earned caps for their respective countries in international friendly play. Gianluca Bolis
did not dress for Italy.
2022-23 Dover Athletic Squad
-- We head into our season opener against Everton with 28 first team players. Here's a look at a breakdown of our senior team along with notes on our reserves, players on loan and key U18 personel. Preferred starters are noted in bold
Manuel Perez, Ingo Wilke
IN: Manuel Perez (Cruz Azul - £3.3m)
OUT: Youssouf Sylla
Wilke has been excellent going back to our days in League 1 and he will be our main starter to begin the year. Perez was brought in from Mexico and will get plenty of opportunities as he attempts to acclimate himself to life in England. If you were to ask me if we're stronger or weaker in goal this year versus last, I'd likely say we're about equal but the future looks much brighter with Perez around versus the older Youssouf Sylla.
Emmanuel Agbo, Claudio Contreras
, Carlos Guzman, Rayane Hamon
, Salim Loucif
, Renato Gaucho
, Paulus Tjiuoro, Daniel Traore, Kostas Zagos
IN: Carlos Guzman (U18), Daniel Traore (LOSC Lille Metropole - Free), Kostas Zagos (Sheffield Wednesday - £9m), Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz (U18)
OUT: Abdallaye Kokaina, Jozef Kuciak, Ross McLaughlin, Matthew Thompson, Jozef Varga
We return with all four starters from last year. Hamon, Renato Gaucho and Loucif are known quantities but Contreras is still wildly inconsistent and we'll rely on Tjiuoro quite a bit most likely for support. Guzman is a highly touted prospect up from our U18 club but the key substitute at fullback will be injury-prone English international Kostas Zagos, who can play both sides effectively. Traore was brought in as depth. Yilmaz is also a very highly touted centre back prospect and qualifies as home-grown for Champions League play now. Overall, I'd say we have better depth this year versus last year but much of that depends on the health of Zagos, who will be very important for us this year.
Graham Allan, Arsene Bamba
, Gianluca Bolis
, Neil Cairney
, Gian Marco Fanfoni, Steve Ingram, Mancini, Jamie Matthews, Andrea Rocca
, Shaun Spall
IN: Graham Allan (Blackburn - £7.5m), Gian Marco Fanfoni (Inter - Loan),
OUT: Kostas Kalfas (on loan), Cameron Murray, Samir Nasri, Aitor Zubizarreta
For the third consecutive season, all four starters return and I'm really hoping this is the year that Neil Cairney busts out. Last year it was Bamba and Bolis, our two wide midfielders, exploding with superlative play and it would be wonderful to see Cairney live up to his huge promise. We've upgraded our backups on the wings, with Graham Allan better suited for our system versus Kostas Kalfas, who is away on season-long loan and striker Said Henni will be our backup at left midfield if necessary. Young star to be Gian Marco Fanfoni is here as depth behind Mancini and Shaun Spall, who is returning from a bad injury suffered early last year. Ingram and Matthews are only here for their home grown status. I think our depth at midfield is a slight concern, especially in the middle of the park and it's something that will need to be addressed at some point - hopefully next season!
, Zoltan Bardi, Chiquinho
, Said Henni, Paul Moses, Wayne Rooney
IN: Chiquinho (Anderlecht - £9.5 million), Said Henni (Anderlecht - £7.75 million)
OUT: Giorgos Gesios (on loan)
Here is the only position to see a change at starter and it's BOTH striker positions seeing an overhaul. Andrea was supposed to be depth last year but that's before he exploded for 24 goals last year. He's been pedestrian in the preseason but he will start alongside new addition Chiquinho, who has been SENSATIONAL in the preseason, scoring in every game and flat out dominating the opposition. Henni, Moses and Bardi will all get plenty of chances to start and contribute but I expect Wayne Rooney to be more of a factor in training sessions and in mentoring roles versus an on the field role. Then again, I said the same thing last year and he went out and scored 12 goals in 2021/22! We are unquestionably stronger here versus last year and with Giorgos Gesios still on the team, albeit on loan, we are absolutely stacked with world-class talent at this position.
RESERVE TEAM -
GK Louis Read, DC Andrew Stanley, DR Steve Reed, MC Jonathan Gauthier
Steve Reed may play a role on the senior team this year, as he is essentially our third string right fullback. The other players are transfer list fodder, although GK Read could eventually fetch a pittance on the transfer market.
U18 SQUAD -
DR Hans Briers, MC James Campbell, GK Garry Doyle, MC Jay Doyle, MC Emmerson Harvey, DL Shane Holmes, DL Sebastian Kraft, MR Lyubomir Kunchev, DR Ben Lee, ST Tomas Liska, MC Johnny Mardenborough, DR Dean Morgan, ST Ben Patterson, MR Marcel Quade, ST Eddie Robinson, GK Richard Schaap, ST David Smith, MR Pete Smith, ML Joshua Stokes, DR Damian Thorne, DR Daniel Wagner, MC Phil Whitbread, DR Geoff Williams, MC Sean Woolley, DC Unisa Wright
The key prospects here are Emmerson Harvey (4 star talent) and recently acquired MR Lyubomir Kunchev, who like Harvey could see some time on the senior team this year.
PLAYERS AWAY ON LOAN -
MR Kostas Kalfas, ST Giorgos Gesios, ST Orlando Scolari, ST Rogelio Garcia
I tried to sell Kalfas and Gesios but I was able to get more than acceptable up-front fees for their season long loans. Scolari and Garcia are talented youngsters.
-- We open the 2022/23 season on the road versus Everton.