Dorking Wanderers manager Marc White can today announce the clubs first team plans for the upcoming 2023/2024 season, including a revised operational structure and confirmation of players who will be departing the club.
Despite promotion having been achieved from the National League South through the play-offs as late as June last year, and continuing to remain part-time thereafter, the club finished in its highest ever league position in its history with a very respectable 16th placed finish in the inaugural campaign in the National League Premier last term.
Marc White said:
“Last season was a tough one; competing in a new division, which was a huge step up from the previous, and additionally needing to complete several works off the field to achieve the required ground grading, we had to work hard to retain our National League status. It was a real all round effort - from the players, management team, committee, volunteers and of course our amazing supporters - what became clear is that our new division is that of a professional status and unless you merely want to exist, changes to our working structure would need to be implemented in order for us to strive for further upward success.”
“With that in mind, we are now swapping our evenings for mornings and will remain part-time for now, but as part of our learnings from last season, this will enable several key elements to be implemented that can help us close the gap on our professional counterparts who of course make up the vast majority of this league”.
“As I’m sure everyone will understand, this is a big transition for everyone and not all of our players are able to adjust to the new structure. Those players leaving us will be sorely missed and, as always, this is the toughest time of the year for our closely knit club”.
Below are the players confirmed to be leaving the club, with personal comment from Marc White regarding their departure:
“Sami has been with the club since August 2018, making 100 appearances and part of two promotion winning squads. Captaining our famous Isthmian Premier team that won the league by over 20 points in 2018/19, Sami has been a deceptively great player that has always stood up to responsibility, and he will be sorely missed. Irrespective of whether Sami has played or not, he is always the first player supporting the team and helping in the warm up. He is a natural born winner which is why the club and Sami have done so well together, and I am pretty sure we will see more of Sami in a different capacity in the future, but until then, the ‘buffalo’ sadly departs.”
“Nicky joined the club in January 2020, making 82 appearances and scoring 7 goals, joining us from Eastbourne Borough just before the COVID-19 outbreak. Nicky brought a wealth of experience to the club, and was a key part of our squad that was cruelly denied the National League South title in 2020/21 before going on to win the play-offs the following year. One of the most liked characters in the changing room and a real team player, I will personally remember Nicky the most for being an exceptionally talented footballer. I am gutted that Nicky is leaving us and will miss him very much.”
“I've become renowned for not personally liking many goalkeepers over the years (!), but Dan really grew on me. What probably helped was his will to win and professional mindset that he brought to the club, given his cricketing background. I don’t think we would have got promoted in 2022 without Dan playing and I also feel like he was a significant contributor with regards to staying in our new division last season. Dan has become really popular with myself, the management team and the fans - it’s been particularly great to see him excel in the National League through this last term. An extremely popular character around the club, I am very sad to see him go.”
“It is so hard to say goodbye to Cheads - he is a huge figure in the changing room and has the best left foot known to man. We actually spoke several years ago about him joining the Wanderers when we were in the Isthmian League, knowing him as a person and player now, I am gutted he has not been part of our journey for longer. Ultimately though I am glad he has experienced the success of being part of that amazing play-off win last year. Indeed he played a massive part in that promotion winning season coming into the club midway through the campaign, having a big impact in a short space of time. For what its worth, his banter is up there with the best, what a guy…”
“Meks moves on, after just a short stint at the club this past season. He wasn’t so much plagued by injury issues but more just got them at the wrong time, and therefore failed to establish himself in the squad. Adam (who has had an amazing career in football) still has a great deal to offer. He is a real team player, always on call to muck in when required and was brilliant around the changing room. Characters like Meks are one of the main reasons that I enjoy football management.”
“Signed from Boreham Wood in the Autumn of 2022, Alfie struggled to hold down a regular starting position which was mainly due to the timing of his arrival and the challenges that the team were facing on the field. His lack of match action at his previous club meant Alfie found it difficult to gain the fitness levels that a standard pre-season would of course provide. He did however contribute in several solid National League performances. Tremendously skilled, a natural born footballer, and another who was a fantastic character around the changing room, he will be missed by all of his teammates and the management team.”
“Part of our successful youth set up and development squad, James now moves on to pastures new as his development term finishes. A fantastic lad, with a really supportive family, James is an excellent box-to-box midfielder and has featured several times for the 1st team in the past 4 years, and been praised highly and played regularly in his loan spells at the likes of Chipstead, South Park and Haywards Heath. I wish him all the best. Both James and his family will remain firm friends with the club.”
Further information on players retained by the football club will be released in due course.