Dover Athletic Football Club, nicknamed “The Whites,” is a non-league football club based in Dover, Kent.
Established in 1970, they currently compete in the Vanarama National League South, which is part of the sixth tier of English football. The team calls Crabble Athletic Ground their home ground.
The football history in Dover began in the 1888-89 season with an initial club playing friendlies, but little information is available due to limited media coverage. A second club, Dover Association Football Club, was established in 1891, existing alongside another club which later became a rugby club. Dover’s football landscape saw various clubs emerge over the years, all eventually folding due to financial issues. The most notable iteration was formed in 1934 as an amateur team and reformed in 1947 as a semi-professional club, lasting until 1983 when it shut down due to tax problems.
Dover United F.C., an amateur club, operated from 1920 to 1933. Another amateur club active from 1934 to 1940 ceased during World War II. Post-war, the Dover team, facing challenges in the Kent League Division One, turned professional in 1946-47. They competed in the Kent League until 1959, then moved to the Southern League, achieving promotion to the Premier Division in 1967 but facing relegation in 1978. The club’s final years were spent in the Southern Division, struggling with a youthful squad in 1982-83.
In cup competitions, Dover F.C. reached the F.A. Cup’s second round once, won the Kent Senior Cup seven times, and the Kent Senior Shield once. Their history in cups was marked by close calls, a trend continued by Dover Athletic.
Former players and managers elsewhere in the non-league pyramid