'Privilege' - Dorking Wanderers boss 'excited' to host Paul Cook's Chesterfield on opening day of new National League season

‘Excited’ Dorking Wanderers manager Marc White is over the moon that the ‘minnows’ will host Chesterfield on the first day of the new National League season.

By Liam Norcliffe
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 10:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 10:43 am

Dorking, who were only formed 23 years ago and have won 12 promotions in that time, will welcome the Spireites to the 3,000 capacity Meadowbank and its artificial pitch on Saturday, August 6.

The club started out playing in 1999 on a council pitch which cost £50 to hire with players paying £5 for a game.

“It’s like real-life Championship Manager,” White, who also owns the club, told the Guardian.

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Chesterfield manager Paul Cook will take his team to Dorking Wanderers on the opening day of the new season.

Wanderers, who won a dramatic play-off final 3-2 in extra-time against Ebbsfleet United, will now come up against the likes of Chesterfield, Wrexham, Notts County, Oldham Athletic and Southend United and White can’t wait for the campaign to get underway.

“We are so excited about this division and playing all these clubs that have got such a big history,” he told well-known broadcaster Ian Abrahams after the new fixtures were released on Wednesday morning.

“We are a minnow in terms of history compared to some of these teams.

"We really wanted a home game against a Football League club and that is what we have got.

"It will be good to be next to people like Paul (Cook) on the sideline. We are privileged to share football pitches and dugouts and stadiums with these people.

"It is such a fantastic division and it captures such interest now because it has got so many clubs like Oldham and Wrexham and all the ex-Football League clubs and that attracts a lot of interest. It is a fantastic league to be in and we are really excited."

Dorking could have been promoted sooner had it not been for the pandemic – they were top of the National League South when the season had to be curtailed.

But they got their dream moment in the end with a fairytale play-off final victory against Ebbsfleet, equalising in the dying seconds of normal time after conceding what looked like a late winner, before going on to seal promotion in extra-time.

“The Wanderers gods were out there and someone was looking down on us and gave us this opportunity,” White said.

The opening day fixture will see a quick return to Dorking for midfielder Darren Oldaker, 23, who signed for Chesterfield this summer on a free transfer.

Oldaker will know exactly what to expect from his former club in what could be a potential banana-skin for the Spireites.

"Our club is just off the high street, it is in the heart of the community so it is a really olf school football club in that respect,” White added.

"We are a friendly club and we look forward to welcoming people to our town.

"We are never playing under pressure because we have so over-succeeded expectations really, so we can just enjoy it and hopefully we can turn a few heads.

"We have been proving people for years and I don’t see anything changing. I think we have earned a lot of respect in the game. When the whistle goes there will be nobody that underestimates us.”