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Hello again, welcome to Walking With The Darts, a monthly update on all things related to Dartford FC, courtesy of Dartford Living Magazine.

In case you missed the article in our February issue, here’s a reminder: 👇

As the opening days of the new year are upon us, let me just take the opportunity to wish you dear readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year. I raise a glass to you all and hope that 2022 brings peace, happiness and nothing but good things for you all.

Talking about peace, happiness, and good things, there appears to be an escalating issue of mindless hatred towards the club (and others) from a minority of people on social media and within the crowd at recent games. I’d like to start off by sharing the following message from Steve Irving, Co-Chairman of Dartford FC, who spoke on behalf of the Board of Directors:

“A note to supporters: Following recent incidents of homophobic postings on social media and reports of homophobic chanting recently towards an opposition player, we absolutely distance ourselves from this disgusting behaviour.

“Such events come under the category of a ‘Hate Crime’ and where necessary and proven, will be dealt with in the strongest possible manner by both the authorities and particularly by us, the Club.

“Such behaviour is not welcome and must stop”

Having witnessed such homophobic comments towards a friend on social media recently, of which I reported, I absolutely stand firmly behind Steve Irving and everyone at the football club. This is an issue that is escalating in our football communities, and drastic action must be taken to prevent it from continuing.

Another issue that must be addressed in this article is the increasing attacks on the team and players across social media which, again, I have witnessed. It’s no secret that Dartford FC is struggling with recent results, the table doesn’t lie. However, the results aren’t always a reflection of the action on the pitch. Football is a funny old game, always has been always will be. Nobody knows this better than manager Steve King and his players, who are working extraordinarily hard to get the winning run back on the rails. I’d like to point out that Steve King urged supporters not to get carried away at the beginning of the season, stating that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and that there are a lot of clubs in the National League South who have very strong squads this season.

We all understand how frustrating football can be at times, however, derogatory remarks such as “bottlers”, etc…, are unacceptable. The true supporters who I see each matchday are behind the players 100% and that’s how it should be. Therefore, I urge anybody who witnesses such comments to respond by defending and encouraging our players. Let’s all be gentle with our words towards each other, showing kindness and understanding.

Whilst on the subject of players, Dartford FC recently said goodbye to Craig KIng and Emmanuel Sonupe, who have moved on to Hemel Hempstead and the USA respectively. However, we welcomed Frenchman Kalvin Kalala to the club, who has started his first three games for the Darts.The lively winger/forward is still finding his feet at the club, but will surely be an excellent addition to the dressing room, as will latest addition Kai Woollard-Innocent. The young left-back has arrived on loan from Championship outfit QPR.

At the time of writing, the Darts sit in fifth position in the National League South table, and are still in contention in such a competitive league having registered nine wins and six draws in nineteen games. The club had a break from league action yesterday (Saturday 15th January), having entertained and beaten Weymouth in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Trophy at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. The game saw goalkeeper Dan Wilks in excellent form and midfielder Jack Jebb score another one of his specials.

Having won the delayed 2019/20 Kent Senior Cup earlier in the season, the club will start its defence of the trophy in this season’s competition by hosting Dover Athletic at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park on the 8th of March. Meanwhile, the Dartford Women’s team began their defence of the same trophy by hosting Aylesford FC today (Sunday 16th January) in a game which saw the Darts progress to the final again with a dominant 8-1 victory. Connor Dymond’s side now face Gillingham Women FC in the final.

Ironically, the women opened their new year with a thumping 7-1 victory against Aylesford FC last weekend in Chatham, where they raced into a 3-0 lead within four minutes! An impressive start to the year indeed by Connor Dymond’s team. As his side remains at the top of the London & South East Regional Women’s League table, having earned 26 points after 13 games, the ladies can’t wait for what could prove to be their biggest game of the season, where they’ll host undefeated Ashford Middlesex WFC on the 30th of January.

By Chris Palmer