*BS*DAFCtv – What are we all going to do to help?*BF*

You will all have read Dave Shirley’s blog last month concerning the difficulties that he is experiencing in continuing to provide his quite superb DAFCtv service to the supporters of Dover Athletic – and, of course, to supporters of our opposition in each match, too!

In talking to Dave about this, it becomes apparent that there are really two separate serious issues for him. Firstly, the amount of time that he puts into the service – time that clearly eats into his home life, especially given that he travels from his home in Hastings for every game, adding more than a couple of hours for every home game. Secondly, the costs involved in providing the service – costs that will be increased substantially this year with the increase in petrol costs since last season.

So what can we do to help? When I say “we”, I don’t necessarily mean “we” as the Trust, I mean “we” as supporters of the greatest team in the world (okay, that’s my opinion, and I’m perfectly capable of understanding that there are some people that may disagree – but they’re wrong, and this article isn’t directed at them!).

The first problem we can’t really do much about. Dave has to make up his own mind about this, and I wouldn’t dream of pre-empting him on this, but from discussions, I’m hopeful that Dave will continue to provide coverage of all home games, and will be selective on which away games he films. Indeed, where clubs already film their own home games, I’m sure that Dave will try to arrange some kind of reciprocal arrangement, so that we still get film from these games.

*Ppic1*The second problem is much more something where we can all help. Dave and I actually have different views on the Trust’s involvement in this. As he said in his blog, “I do not believe that they (the Trust) have had the return in membership and support that I had intended.” Dave hoped that the added benefits that are available for Trust members would result in people joining. It may be that the Trust failed in publicizing these benefits, but we certainly didn’t see any increase in membership on the back of this.

My view on this is that DAFCtv is a service that actually increases the profile of Dover Athletic and provides a great way for the “ex-pats” and others who can’t get to games (old, infirm and shift workers) to be able to see the quite wonderful football being played under the Hess revolution. As such, we will continue to support Dave’s efforts however we can. Where we need to find a balance is in finding the response to Dave’s comment “I am not about to easily let the Trust depart with its hard-earned funds again”.

So, what we’re suggesting now is aimed at finding this balance.

Firstly, the immediate reaction to Dave’s blog on the Fans Forum was a number of people saying, “I’ll happily send money to help support DAFCtv”. Anybody who wants to do this should send a cheque to the Trust specifically stating that it is for the benefit of DAFCtv. The Trust will then take all of these donations and pass this on to DAFCtv, and because we believe in the service, we will add £1 for every £1 contributed in this way.

Secondly, the Trust will organize a specific event, the proceeds of which will go towards the costs of DAFCtv. Everybody can do their bit to support this simply by turning up. However, what we really want to know is what sort of event we should organize that will get you all turning out in your droves? In the past, a Race Night has proved profitable. We’ve regularly held quiz nights, but, whilst always being fun, they haven’t always been well attended. Another suggestion would be to have an evening of Dover Athletic highlights – which would at the very least seem appropriate, but might make more work for Dave, which kind of defeats the object! Over to you, then, all suggestions gratefully received, but if your suggestion isn’t selected, that’s no excuse for non-attendance!

Finally, we return to Dave’s efforts to provide benefit to Trust members. Last year, Trust members were able to access a higher quality of coverage via a password issued on request. This meant that, rather than watching the games on a small part of their computer screen, they were able to watch the game full-screen. I’d have to say that I wasn’t sure how much benefit this would be until I actually saw it – an amazing difference. This year, Dave has managed to secure even more bandwidth, meaning that this will be even better quality.

*Q1*Also, there will be some items this year that will be only available under the Trust service – some interviews, for example. Finally, the films under the normal service will be available for no more than three weeks after the game, and will not be available for download, whereas Trust members will be able to look back at all our triumphs for as long as they want, whilst still having a download facility available. And all this for the same membership fee as was set when the Trust was first founded over 5 years ago – just £8 per year.

There was, of course, a particular comment Dave made in his blog that I would wholeheartedly agree with; “It seems that an increasing number of people are showing apathy towards the Trust and they are not renewing their membership. This is a huge disappointment to me”. Quite simply, the more members that the Trust has, the stronger is our voice, and the greater is the support we can offer to our great club.

Simon Harris – DAST