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Fleet boss Dennis in quit threat shock

Fleet Town boss Mark Dennis is embroiled in a bitter row with the football club over finances, that could see the manager walking out within a month.

Fleet Town boss Mark Dennis is embroiled in a bitter row with the football club over finances, that could see the manager walking out within a month.

In a scathing attack, Dennis said that the financial situation at the club is desperate and that he and co-manager Adie Aymes have been severely let down by broken promises.

He added that he did not even know whether the management duo would still be at the club next month to start preparations for their first full season in the Doc Martens eastern division.

He blasted: "I feel absolutely gutted, not for me, Adie or the chairman, but for the players, they've had a magnificent season and now we've been let down in a way you wouldn't believe.

"I'm always an optimist but over the last few weeks I've been as low as a snake's belly, I feel like I've been kicked in the teeth, picked back up and kicked in the teeth again.

"At the moment I don't think we've got the backers to be able to continue" he said.

The row started as a result of a committee meeting at the club earlier in the week where Dennis' playing budget for next season was the main point of discussion.

It is believed that Dennis asked for a 50 per cent increase in order to harbour his ambitions of Fleet going toe-to-toe with the big boys of the Doc Martens League, which the club just could not commit to.

Committee member Steve Cantle explained: "Managers ask for increased budgets all the time, we expected that because we are playing in a highly-competitive league against clubs a lot bigger than ourselves. We had the same problem with Steve Beeks.

"But 50 per cent is excessive in any walk of life — the world doesn't work like that.

"We are currently working very hard to pursue a new main sponsor for next season and until that is done and the money is obtained then we just can't commit ourselves to that sort of increase at the moment.

"That said, we are doing everything we can to work with Mark and Adie to help increase the budget as much as possible."

Ex-Hampshire cricketer Aymes and Dennis — Southampton's former hard-man left back of the 80's, were installed as joint managers in October following Beeks' walk-out in similar circumstances.

Since then, they have steered the club away from the relegation zone, against all odds, to finish 14 points above the bottom two clubs.

Their surprise appointment was surrounded by a wave of publicity but they proved to be a breath of fresh air at Calthorpe Park with their enthusiasm and commitment despite the club's perennial shoe-string budget.

Now Dennis wants action, although he has vowed to stay at Fleet under better circumstances, despite offers from other Dr Martens League club.

"Myself, Adie and Stuart have been working tirelessly to get sponsorship for the club, we've been working on a budget of about £700 while everyone else in this league gets double.

"Adie and me have been working out of pocket here and not only that but been out raising money for the club," he added.

Dennis continued: "I don't want to be horrible but the problem is that this club is not really big enough for the league it's in, the problem is that I'm too ambitious.

"However if it hadn't been for the work me and Adie have done, and with my contacts brought in from Southampton, we would have been down before Christmas."

However Mr Cantle added "We are also currently working on a new capital programme which could benefit the club to the tone of £250,000 in the next 12 months and we'd love it if Mark and Adie were a part of that.

"It's a real shame though that Mark is saying things like this so soon after a successful season has finished and a good six to eight weeks before we see any of them again."

"We are equally ambitious as Mark but we just don't have a magic wand to make things happen right away."

The club are currently in the process of arranging pre-season friendlies — including a match against the boss' former club, Southampton, and Nationwide division two side Luton Town.

They are also due to stage a match against Conference side Woking and a potential money-spinning clash against well-supported Combined Counties side AFC Wimbledon.

Despite the lure of that, the boss is worried that players will leave to join bigger clubs. Youngsters Ryan Luffman and Wayne Noad have both been attracting interest and Dennis feels that the club will not be able to hold onto such players.

He added "At the moment I'm just keeping my fingers crossed, I'm not going to feel down because I'm not that sort of person, I'm just feeling very, very let down."


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
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