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How Dorking Wanderers went from park football to the top of the Bostik League

By Jon Couch

Marc White knows all about winning promotion – in fact, if anything, he’s getting bored of it!

On a journey which started in Division 5 of the Crawley & District League, White’s Dorking Wanderers have reached the highest ever placing in their short but sweet history – and there’s no plans to take their foot off the gas just yet!

No fewer than 12 promotions in 18 full seasons have seen Wanderers march all the way to the top of the Bostik Premier League, obtaining a spanking new town centre stadium and annual crowd increases of 300 per cent along the way. Now that’s what you call progress.

Founder, chairman and manager, White has overseen Wanderers’ rapid rise up the Pyramid since its inception in 1999, taking the club through the West Sussex League, Sussex County League and Combined Counties League all the way to the Isthmian League structure.

Now, top of the table and plotting an assault towards unchartered waters of Step 2, White is in dreamland having guided a success story that shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

“There aren’t many community projects in football that can match a story like ours, working our way up from scratch,” White told The NLP. “We know we are punching above our weight and we’re still enjoying the journey.

“It’s incredible to think that 20 years ago we were just a bunch of mates who started a football team, renting council pitches in the Crawley & District League Division 5. Now here we are in our own brand new stadium and challenging for promotion in Step 3.”

A strong spine made up of former AFC Wimbledon trio Lewis Taylor, Luke Moore and Jason Prior has powered Wanderers to the Step 3 summit, but White is quick to dispel any pre-conceived ideas that the Surrey club have bought their way to the top.

“Many people look at us and the players we have and assume we operate on a big budget,” the boss continued. “But, honestly, they could not be further from the truth.

“We do not hide away from the fact that these guys might cost more than the average player but 80 per cent of our squad have moved up the leagues with us from Steps 4 and 5 and are just pleased to be a part of the history.”

Read the full interview in Sunday’s NLP

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