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Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 15:17 UK

Gillingham target Andy Hessenthaler quits as Dover boss

Andy Hessenthaler
Hessenthaler had a four-year spell as Gillingham boss

Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler has left the club by mutual consent.

It paves the way for the former Gillingham boss to open talks with his old club about the vacant managerial position at Priestfield.

Whites chairman Jim Parmenter told BBC Radio Kent: "I asked him to sleep on it - as a friend - to make sure he was doing the right thing.

"But the lure of working with a league club was just too much and he wanted to have a go for that."

The chairman continued: "He realised that he couldn't stay on as Dover Athletic manager while still having those thoughts so he decided that he needed to move on."

Hessenthaler quits as Dover boss

Hessenthaler, who was Gillingham's player-manager between 2000 and 2004, emerged as the front-runner for the vacant role at Priestfield following Mark Stimson's departure last week.

But Dover had insisted that a compensation package must be agreed before talks could take place.

Now that Hessenthaler has left, Dover will not receive any money if the 44-year-old does take up the position.

"I've had no further contact with Gillingham," said Parmenter.

"This is an agreement that has been reached between myself and Andy personally and it doesn't involve Gillingham as far as I am concerned. What Andy's position is with Gillingham I have no idea.

"I imagine that there is a good chance he will (become Gillingham manager) but it's not as a result of an agreement between Dover Athletic and Gillingham.

"We'll still remain good friends. I've done what I believe is best for Dover Athletic, we have to get a new manager in and get ourselves together for our next promotion campaign."

Hessenthaler, who led Dover to back-to-back promotions in his three years at the club, admitted it has been a very tough week.

He said: "I'm leaving with a very heavy heart," he told the club's website.

"I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've not had much sleep these past few days. I've had to put a lot of thought into this decision because my time at Dover Athletic has been amazing.

"From the day I walked in, I've had a great relationship with the chairman, the board and all the fans, who have been first class to me.

"Together we've achieved so much - and the five-year plan of getting this club back into the Blue Square Premier has not finished because I'm leaving.

"Whoever comes in, he will have another two years to finish the job - and that is going to happen because Dover Athletic have that ambition and the chairman is backing that.

"I hope fans understand that I've always been clear that if I had the chance to take a job in the Football League, I'd like the opportunity to go for it.

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"I'm sure a lot of people have sometime in their lives had the chance to land a job promotion. This move is what I see it as - a job promotion.

"And wherever I eventually end up during my managerial career my relationship with Dover Athletic and the chairman remains very good. I will always be a friend off-the-pitch to Jim Parmenter and the club… as well as in the football business too.

"I will always help DAFC in any way I can."



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