The last time Dartford played at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, they hosted Chelmsford City. Andy Pugh featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:
Andy Pugh arrived at Dartford in the January of the 2013-14 season on loan from Cambridge United, and duly made the move permanent the following season.
The striker made his debut away at Welling United on the 10th of January 2014, as Tony Burman’s side ground out a 1-1 draw with their rivals. Does Andy remember much about his debut?
“Yeah, I remember that game well Chris. We were in a dog-fight and it was a really hard-fought point away from home.”
Andy impressed during his loan spell and, as has already been mentioned, he made the decision to remain with the club permanently. He went on to make 176 appearances in all competitions, 123 of them in the starting eleven. What are his thoughts on reaching those statistics with the Darts?
“To be honest, I loved every minute playing for the club. I took to the dressing room and, it’s fair to say, they changed my life for the better. From top to bottom, Dartford was a terrific place to be.”
Does any game stand out in particular? “There were lots of great games Chris, but one that really sticks out is Poole away on the last game of the season. We needed to win to secure home advantage in the play-off semi-final. The atmosphere that day in the dressing room was special, especially being 2-1 down and scoring a last-minute winner. The experience was made even better by the night out in Bournemouth afterwards!”
With so many special memories made with the club, does Andy have a favourite goal? Afterall, he netted 53 times while wearing Dartford colours…
“A couple stand out yeah, but I think that my left-footed volley at home against Truro would be my favourite.”
He continues, “Like I said, Dartford was a great place to be. The dressing room was phenomenal, and we all had a great rapport with the fans. We were all in it together. There’s still a lot of people there from my time, and I grew very attached to the club. I always look out for the results.”
During his time at Princes Park, Andy played alongside some of the club’s legends, not to mention several tough opponents in the league. But, who does he believe was under-rated by others?
“That’s a hard question Chris… I’ve never taken much notice of the opposition to be honest. But, from the players that I played alongside, Danny Harris would be up there. He played in nearly every position whilst I was there, and he never moaned. He just gave 100% and was always effective. He was a great teammate.”
At 34 years of age, Andy is still fighting fit and playing his football with Isthmian South East Division outfit Phoenix Sports, who he signed for in September 2022 after leaving Chatham Town. Has he been up to anything else?
“I have. I’ve graduated from University with First Class Honours in my Quantity Surveying course (congratulations Andy!), which I started in my last couple of years at Dartford. This was a big achievement for myself. I’ve also given my kids a lot of time and attention, which has been nice, as my commitment to football has reduced. Obviously, I’m still playing, but I’m also fighting through a lot of pain.”
And now for something completely different to finish with… I asked Andy which five players (that he’s played alongside/against) he’d pick if he was involved in a five-a-side tournament. This is what he said..
“I think I would go with Nick Pope (currently at Newcastle United) when he was at Welling United and Cambridge United in goal. In defence has to be ex-Dartford Captain Tom Bonner (at Havant & Waterlooville), while ex-Dart Lee Noble would be in midfield with Luke Berry (currently at Luton Town) when he was at Cambridge United. Up front, I’d have Joe Healy (currently at Beckenham Town FC) when he was at Welling United.”
By Chris Palmer