Tuesday evening saw Dartford host Slough Town at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Ronnie Vint featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:
Ronnie Vint should be a familiar name for any Dartford supporter. Afterall, the 27-year-old defender is another product of the successful Dartford FC Academy.
After coming through the Academy, he was drafted into the Dartford First Team and made his debut on the 16th of October 2013. The opposition was Charlton Athletic, the competition was the Kent Senior Cup. The Darts were victorious thanks to a sterling effort by all involved, plus a marvellous free-kick by Mohamed Eisa in the 90th minute. The result sent the cup holders crashing out, whilst Ronnie and the Darts progressed into the Quarter-Finals.
Does Ronnie remember the game? “I don’t remember much to be honest. I do remember scoring in the final the following year to win the cup though! That was a great memory.”
Having made his debut, Ronnie went on to make 202 appearances for the club in all competitions, a statistic that saw him register 190 starts. So he has lots of memories to choose from his time playing in black and white.
Is there any particular memory that stands out for him? “All of them Chris! It was always an absolute pleasure to wear the shirt.”
What about a game? Surely this defender must have at least one all-time favourite game hidden somewhere in those 202 appearances and fond memories?
And, he does… Responding right off the bat! “Welling United away on Boxing Day (2017)! We won 3-2 from a last-minute Alfie Pavey volley. The scenes in the away end were nothing like I’ve ever seen before. However, my National League debut against Lincoln City is another favourite of mine… I got the Man of The Match award too.”
During his time at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, Ronnie scored a total of eleven goals in his 202 appearances. For a central defender, that’s not a bad statistic and he should be proud of every one of them. But, does he have a favourite?
“I do. My volley at Bognor Regis. It was the last game of the season. I put us 2-0 up, and we were winning the league… until Havant & Waterlooville scored in the last minute in their game! I still can’t believe that season and I don’t know how we didn’t get promotion to the National League. That’s my one regret of my time at the club. However, it’s still my favourite goal… mainly because of me seeing the fans going mad celebrating. That’s the reason behind the goal being my favourite.”
And just like that, we’ve reached something which means an awful lot to Ronnie… The fans and the club itself. Ronnie’s love for Dartford is obvious, yet it goes deeper than just the club itself…
“The fans really stick in my mind when I think about my playing days at Dartford. When that place (Princes Park) is rocking, there’s nowhere else you’d want to be. The team that we had during my time there, and the management were top-class. Looking back on all that makes me feel nothing but great memories.”
Does he still follow the club? “Yeah Chris. I always follow the First Team there. I always look for the results after a game on Saturday.”
Speaking of the team of the time, Ronnie obviously flourished as a defender alongside a very good Dartford squad. When I asked him who sticks out the most, two come to his mind, and it’s no surprise as to who they are…
“Tom Bonner and Lee Noble. Lee… what a player! In training I could never get the ball off him. He was a top player, as was Tom. He helped me loads when I joined the club. I think our partnership in defence speaks for itself.”
Since leaving the Darts in 2013, Ronnie plied his trade at Dulwich Hamlet for a while, before moving on to Lewes… “Yeah, I’ve been enjoying my football again since I joined Lewes. It’s the first time that I’ve enjoyed playing since my Dartford days when Tony (Burman) was manager… so, a positive season ahead for me.”
And now for something completely different to finish with… I asked Ronnie 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…
“Tom Bonner, Bradley Dack, Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble, and Matt Gooden.”
By Chris Palmer