*BS*MARK LOVELL decided to join Dover Athletic after being wooed by boss Andy Hessenthaler and chairman Jim Parmenter.
*BF*His friend Jon Wallis opted to sign for Whites, instead of moving to a League Two club this summer, and that told him all he needed to know about Whites.
Mark said: “When quality players like Jon decide to sign for Dover, instead of a League Two side, it means that the club are going places.
“Andy Hessenthaler is a top-quality manager and was in charge of Gillingham when I was a youngster there. He did a good job, keeping that club in the Championship for three or four years.
“And, of course, his No 2 Darren Hare was running the youth academy at Priestfield when I was there, so those two being at Dover also played a big part in making my mind up to leave Sittingbourne for Crabble.”
Mark’s dad, former Gills star Steve, is manager at Sittingbourne – and the striker admits it was a wrench to leave him and his team-mates behind.
He said: “My dad is a good coach and I enjoyed playing for him. He has helped my game a lot since I was a kid, and it was nice playing for his club.
“I did seek his advice before deciding to join Dover – and, although as Sittingbourne manager, he didn’t want to lose me – as my dad he appreciated that I wanted to improve myself as a player.
“He just told me that he’d support whatever decision I made – and if I felt it was going to benefit my career, then go for it.
“I had some good times at Sittingbourne but there’s a new challenge waiting for me at Dover, and I cannot wait for the new season to start.
“Having played against Dover last season, I know they are a strong side and have some good players. You always knew you were in for a good game when coming up against Dover.”
*Q1*Mark was not surprised that Hess dropped out of the Football League to manage Dover.
He said: “He sees this as a big challenge – and believes he can take Dover back up the divisions. I was very impressed by his plans – and meeting chairman Jim Parmenter also made a positive impact on me.
“I could tell how determined he is to succeed. He desperately wants to take Dover back up to a level where they honestly should be – and his drive and enthusiasm made a good impression on me.
“The club is well set up and Andy is looking at building a very good squad – and I want to be part of that.”
Mark also knows of Frannie Collin, who Whites signed on Thursday following his release from Gillingham.
He said: “Frannie came into the Gills set up just after I left but I’ve seen him play. He is a different type of player. He drops deep, likes to run at defenders, is quick and scores a lot of goals.
“I’m more of a hold up player, who also scores goals. I’ve had a frustrating couple of years with knee injuries. I had a good season last year – and Hess said it was big year for me.
“I’m now hoping to wipe the slate clean completely and start a new challenge – and help this club win the title this year. That’s what we’re all going to concentrate on.”