The MANarama Big Interview: Steve King on things so far – and Dartford’s big future

Steve King

League sponsors MANarama meet the club’s new manager as he gets to grips with life at Princes Park

Steve King isn’t overly familiar with the second half of the National League South table. As the last two results have shown, he’s not overly keen on hanging around in it, either.

For a manager who specialises in either getting teams into play-offs finals or taking them up, you maybe would have thoughts unfamiliar territory could put him off.

But the new Dartford boss is happy to hone his skills and do something a little different. For now. The best bit of news for the club’s fans is that he is convinced this new challenge isn’t going to be something he has to get too used to.

A few weeks into his new job, and the supporters can already feel the positivity.

The club have got a little lucky. It’s not often the manager who came within one goal of taking Welling United up last season is knocking around ready to answer the call.

King is getting his feet under the table. But don’t expect him to be getting too comfortable at wrong end of the National League South.

“It’s about taking what’s in front of you and knowing, around the corner, there could be something seriously exciting,” he told us.

“Not necessarily this season. I want us to get as high up the table as we can of course but I don’t know if we are going to be able to challenge for promotion. You have got to be realistic, and I’ll never just tell fans what they want to hear.

“But next season we know we want to challenge. I do get teams up there and I’m convinced that once we get this club moving it has a really bright future.

“The last two results have been fantastic, but we can play even better.

“Dartford is good good  club. what I mean by that is The stadium, fantastic. Training ground, superb. Supporters – well even when things aren’t going well 1,000 of them turn up. What if the team was flying?

“This is a project, it’s a work in progress and it’s one that can work if things fall into place.

“I signed near enough a three year deal and that’s the kind of stability Is important when you are trying to build something. Dartford Give me that, and I will give them  a team to be proud of.”

King got his first three points on the board at Eastbourne on Saturday and followed that up with a hard earned win at in-form Hampton on Tuesday night.

“I want us to have a real identity as a club and slowly we will change the way we play to something the fans will like to watch,” he added.

“The players are buying into it. They are behind what we’re trying to do and they know how much I expect of them.

“We have to be realistic about this season but going forward I couldn’t be more excited about what could be around the corner.”

King’s record of navigating clubs to within touching distance of promotion – especially in this division – is unrivalled.

He has a record of ten top five finishes since starting out his managerial career age 33 even if Lady Luck does seems to desert him in play-off finals.

“I just don’t seem to get the rub of the green in those matches!” cursed the former Lewes, Farnborough and Macclesfield manager.

“Last year at Welling was my sixth play-off final and we lost that unfairly too,when we should have had the Clearest penalty,that would have changed the course of the game.I’ve got to be due a change of fortune at some time.

“But at the moment it’s the last thing on my mind. All I want to do is get this team away from the dogfight at the bottom and give the fans a side they can really get behind and genuine hope for the future.”


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