The Vanarama National League is awash with owners, coaches and volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty for their clubs, but there can be few men more dedicated than Dorking Wanderers supremo Marc White.
Perhaps that should be no surprise – White is the founder, owner and manager of the National League South side, having overseen his team’s remarkable rise from park football to the English game’s sixth tier.
“Me and my friends, we just said let’s start playing football on a Saturday as opposed to travelling round and watching games – that’s where it all started really,” he explains.
“We rented a council pitch for 50 quid and we used to have to drag the nets across it… people would turn up late so they didn’t have to do it and other people would be stood there on stools with the nets blowing in the wind. Standard park football stuff!”
Wanderers may have humble beginnings, but their ascent through the football pyramid has been rapid, winning ten promotions since the turn of the century.
“We started in Division Five of the Crawley and District Football League. We played one season in that league and then we transferred across to the West Sussex Football League,” White continues.
“This club has got the most promotions in British football history. If we have the same number of promotions in the next ten years as we’ve had in the last ten years then we’ll be in the Premier League, that’s a fact!”
It’s undoubtedly a fascinating journey, made even more compelling by White’s all-encompassing role as chairman and manager.
“I’ve invested every single thing I’ve got, physically and financially,” he reveals.
“It is such a unique story because it genuinely is the case that we’ve created something from nothing, and now we’ve got kids, dads and families following the club week in, week out.
“It’s life-changing for me really, it’s just defined everything that I stand for.”
Find out more about the unique tale of Dorking Wanderers and Marc White, by watching ‘Building a football club: The Dorking Wanderers story’ below.
‘Vanarama Stories’ is a series of short documentaries about clubs in the National League, National League North and National League South – produced by Twenty3 for Vanarama.