Monday 14 May 2012


The Blue Square Bet South play-off trophy is staying in north Kent for another 12 months after Dartford eased past Welling United 1-0 to follow neighbours Ebbsfleet United into the top tier of non-league football. Sunday's final was decided by a superb early strike from Lee Noble in front of more than 4,000 fans at Princes Park.

Celebratory messages flooded in via Twitter and the party quickly got under way. By the time Monday morning had dawned, I imagined lounges and bedrooms around DA1 resembling the opening scenes from The Hangover. However, defender Tom Bonner was sufficiently compos mentis to work his way through my questions, which began with the bleedin' obvious.

Firstly, you've just won promotion into Blue Square Bet Premier. How does that feel - has it sunk in yet?

It feels incredible to win promotion and to win it playing in front of a packed Princes Park in the play-off final made it even more special. It still hasn't quite sunk in. As soon as the final whistle went, it's all a bit of a blur to me, and then the champagne come out to play!

How did you celebrate? Was it a Flintoff-style all-nighter or something a little more low-key?

After a long hard season it felt right to go out 'Flintoff style' to celebrate, and rightly so. Definitely a few sore heads this morning!

If footballers were given end-of-year reports, what would yours say?

Gives 110% and a solid 7/8 out of 10 every game. The gaffer would probably disagree and say 5/6 though!!

What's your earliest memory of football?

The old man taking me to watch the famous Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. We lost 1-0 but I've been hooked ever since, unfortunately.

How hot do you have your chicken at Nando's?

I'm a medium man at Nando's. Even that's an adventurous heat for me!!

Who are your best friends in football?

I was once told there are no friends in football. Rubbish! I class many players as dear friends and have met some great people along the way.

Roy Hodgson as England manager - good appointment or not?

I think Hodgson is a great choice. He wants to play passing football, has done well on the international stage and most importantly he's English.

What England XI would you pick for the Euro 2012 opener against France?

4-3-3: Hart - Richards, Cahill, Jones, Cole - Gerrard, Parker, Milner - Young, Defoe, Johnson.

A couple of team-mate questions: who's the joker, who's the hard man and who's the biggest moaner?

Tom Champion is the team joker, he's hilarious. Also, Elliot Bradbrook and Matt Jones keep the boys entertained, they could be a comedy trio. We haven't got any real hard men, but I'd have to say Lee Noble, although it's probably a case of 'short man syndrome' rather than being hard! Biggest moaner is Ryan Hayes by a country mile. He has no right to moan either, because he is the worse trainer at the club by a country mile.

Tell us something we wouldn't know about the gaffer.

During a team talk, it's guaranteed the gaffer's voice will go high pitched at a random point - much to Lee Burns' amusement.

Who are you most looking forward to playing next season?

Luton definitely, you're guaranteed to play in front of a huge crowd at Kenilworth Road, plus it's not too far a journey!!

Imagine you're the manager... Of all the players you've come up against this season, who would you most like to sign over the summer?

I wouldn't swap a Dartford player for anyone else in our league. Although if Ryan Hayes keeps moaning.....

Are you coming down with Olympic fever yet?

There's only two or three sports that will interest me in the Olympics, unless they bring the tug-of-war back, then I'll be hooked.

Finally, you've got one tweet to tell the world about Dartford FC. Go...

Dartford FC Blue Square Premier. Three promotions in five years. Where will the stop??

You can follow @tombonner_ on Twitter

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