Sort file:- Dover, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 31 March, 2021.


Earliest Apr 1904

Centre Spot

Open 2020+

Crabble Athletic Ground


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 12 June, 1907. Price 1d.

Crabble Athletic Ground 1907

Above picture showing the scene at Dover's first County Cricket Match. The premises of the "Centre Spot" is shown as the buildings on the left.


Not a pub but doubles as the Football club and Cricket club at Crabble Athletic grounds.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 8 April, 1904. Price 1d.


Mr. Bishop obtained permission to sell intoxicating drink at the Athletic Ground on the occasion of a football match.


From the Dover Express 9 January 2003.

Centre Spot Bar

It's not such a bad old Spot after all!

AS I seem to recall telling you all in a recent column, I went to a Christmas dinner at the Centre Spot a week or two ago.

Nothing special in this, I guess, as I'm sure we all had our share of seasonal tuck.

But hang on a minute!

This is the much-maligned Centre Spot we're talking about which can't cater for such events. Well that's been the theory for a fair few years and one I've been happy to give credence to in these pages. Viz. Dover Athletic can't raise any serious commercial income until such time as the Centre Spot has been bulldozed and a new club house built.

I suppose if you're told anything frequently enough you'll believe it, but in truth it's nonsense!

When I attended the event, as a guest of 'Striker' promoter Dave Brazier, I was honestly expecting burger and chips and a couple of pints with friends.

I'd have happily settled for that. I hadn't reckoned on a four course Xmas dinner (enjoyed, I would estimate, by around 80 people) mainly because I'd no idea that the club had the wherewithal to not only host such a function but to run it like clock-work.

I'm sure we've all been to some fairly ghastly Christmas dinners in our time - you know the ones, I'm sure, where the turkey turns up an hour after the sprouts.

By the time you've finished an absolutely average meal it's time to go home and you're left with the feeling - even if you've avoided food poisoning - that you'd have been better off staying in with cheese on toast.

By contrast, I had a smashing evening with Messrs Kemp and Co notwithstanding the "yum, nice jam" remark of my youngest, prior to spreading cranberry sauce on a chunk of bread. You have to blame the parents, I guess.

The rather long-winded point I'm making here is that the meal and service was first class. Which only goes to show that whilst we've spent so much time hand-wringing and admiring the facilities enjoyed by our non-league counterparts, Dover Athletic have never used the Centre Spot to its full potential.

Happily, that seems about to change.

Thanks to the hard work of a number of volunteers in the summer months, the Centre-Spot is a much more comfortable place to spend an evening than it was.

And following Chairman Mick Kemp's pre-season assertion that the venue "would have to host an event a' week in order to contribute to club funds," events have been more frequent, better run and generally better attended than ever they were.

Thanks for this can largely go to Gavin Hughes, who has taken over the full-time running of the place, and the Supporters Trust for coming up with ideas that now suite' just about every taste.

That certainly makes for a vast improvement from my days on the Supporters Club Committee when the monthly Quiz night was just about the only thing we laid on that was usually well received.

The ever popular quiz nights remain, of course, but far more tastes are catered for nowadays.


Whether your bag is bingo, heavy rock, horse racing or exotic dancing (hmmm!) there does seem to be something for everyone, a fact that Trust treasurer Ashley Forecast was happy to expand upon.

He said: "We've known for a little while that we need to broaden our appeal and we've been keen to encourage fresh ideas.

"Bingo, for example, might not be every football fan's cup of tea, but it's something that's become increasingly popular and has become a regular feature of our monthly calendar.

"One thing we plan to do over the next few weeks is to enter teams in some of the local competitions, like the 'Beer and Brains' league for example, as a means to hosting more events and showing more local people what we have to offer.

We'll always be open to new ideas and anyone who wants to host an event should get in touch with us, as we know there's so much more that we can do."

This was an invitation I put to the test a while ago, when I thought about holding (imaginatively enough) a football quiz night.

"Off you go then!" was the response and I got the impression that everyone who came along enjoyed themselves.

In the event, I was a little disappointed with the turnout and that only 150 was raised towards Trust funds.

That wasn't the view of director Steve Cattermole who consoled me by saying: ''The way you have to look at it is that we've got 150 we didn't have yesterday and that the bar takings were probably on a par with a lot of local pubs.

"If you multiply that a few times over you can see how greatly the club can benefit."

Clearly, the Trust has made massive strides over the course of the past year, but there's clearly a lot of work still to be done.

Publicising the events it organises is one area in which it seems to fall down badly.

The list of forthcoming published is something I had to go digging for and I don't think it's asking too much for this information to come to me directly as a matter of course.

Tonight (Thursday) it's bingo.

And while that wouldn't normally be my cup of tea, I'm reliably informed that caller Barbara ("On its own-54!") is a natural born entertainer in her own right.

Going on the "try anything once" principal, we might just give it a go.

Eves down, looking....


From the Dover Express, 9 October 2008. Report by Kathy Bailes


DOVER Athletic fans have helped to celebrate the official opening of the team's new clubhouse.

The Centre Spot, which cost 200,000, has disabled and conference facilities as well as a seven-metre bar and laptop facilities.

Dover mayor Diane Smallwood performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony with club chairman Jim Parmenter last week.

Jim Parmenter and Diane Smallwood

She said: “I had the most wonderful time and was absolutely delighted not only by the reception but also the surroundings.

“With success both on and off the field, long may it continue.”

The "Centre Spot" replaces the rather more primitive former clubhouse put up in the 1960s.

An appeal to raise cash for the venture was launched last autumn. Mr Parmenter vowed to pay for the centre if supporters could raise the first 30,000.

The Supporters Trust rattled buckets, held events and applied to Dover Town Council for a 10,000 grant, raising just under the target amount. The club board made a donation with Mr Parmenter paying more than 150,000 to see the project through.

He said: “We hope supporters will get behind our events and come and meet their fellow fans in our new facility.

“There will be a number of deals being introduced to reward our fans for using our bar prior to matches. Money spent in the "Centre Spot" will enable the club to generate more income so we can make continued improvements to our playing squad.”

A roll-of-honour board will feature the names of some of those who made donations.

Also present at the opening was "Centre Spot" manager Andrea Milton, members from the club board and many Whites fans.

• Dover Athletic will open the Centre Spot clubhouse from noon for the big FA Cup clash with AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. A crowd of more than 4,000 is expected for the match.

The bar will be open after the game and England's World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan will be shown on the big screens from 5.15pm.

Centre Spot fans

Cheers: Fans raise a glass to the new Centre Spot.


From the Dover Express, 9 October 2008. Report by Kathy Bailes


Centre Spot manager etc

"Centre Spot" manager Andrea Milner, Dover chairman Jim Parmenter, Mayor of Dover Cllr Diane Smallwood, manager Andy Hessenthaler and directors Chris Oakley and Roger Knight at the new clubhouse.


A VITAL source of income that will help the club move forward is how Dover Athletic's new clubhouse for supporters is being described.

The "Centre Spot" at the Crabble was opened on Wednesday in front of around 100 Whites fans.

Mayor of Dover Cllr Mrs Diane Smallwood was on hand to officially open the venue.

The town council awarded a 10,000 grant for the facility, which was co-funded by the supporters' club.

The "Centre Spot" boasts 260sqm of space for conferences, events, banquettes, weddings and parties.

Dover Athletic Supporters' Trust representative Paul Harrison said the "Centre Spot" will provide an important source of income.

He said: “It will give the club a new revenue stream which is vital for success in this day and age in football.

“The new "Centre Spot" was 20 years overdue but we could not get the ball rolling because of our financial position.

“For a non-Football League club like us, using our resources for functions in the town will get the revenue needed for future promotion pushes", he added. After the opening ceremony there was a question-and-answer session with club chairman Jim Parmenter and other board members, manager Andy Hessenthaler and assistant manager Darren Hare.




BISHOP Mr Apr/1904+ Dover Express



Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express


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