JON WALLIS has agreed to sign for Dover Athletic - completing new boss Andy Hessenthaler's first major summer signing.
The talented central midfielder, who made 16 first-team appearances for Gillingham in League One before moving to Hereford United last season, opted to join Whites - despite an offer from a League Two club.
But Jon was quick to point out that the deal was not right for him - and the chance to team up with Hessenthaler in the middle of the park this season was too good a chance to turn down.
He said: "I'm excited about signing for Dover. Hess has got big plans for this club and wants to take it places. I want to be a part of that.
"Had Hess not been the manager, with Clive Walker and a number of players leaving, I'd almost definitely not have stayed here.
"It wouldn't have been the same at the club - but with Andy on board it changed everything. I know him and his assistant-manager, Darren Hare - and that certainly helped me decide to stay here.
"We've spoken at great lengths about the way the club is going to be run in the future. Hess says Dover Athletic will operate as a Football League club in every way, despite our current level. He is going to bring a fresh and professional approach to the club.
"He wants to help me improve as a player and I still want to be a Football League player. But I'm confident I'll be returning back to that level one day. In the meantime, I want to improve as a player and get regular first-team football.
"I've no doubt that this club will be rising back to at least the Conference with Hess in charge.
"The set-up is all there and with Hess's professionalism the club now has a real chance of making progress."
Hess said: "We're delighted Jon has signed. He is a player I've known for a long time from my Gillingham days.
"He's got a lot of potential and now we have a central midfield in place for next season, which is an excellent start. Jon will be the first of many good quality players we'll be bringing to Dover Athletic."
Chairman Jim Parmenter said: "Jon was our No 1 summer transfer target - so we're delighted to have got his signature. This also signals our intent to make a very strong promotion challenge this coming season.
"We're ambitious and Andy has a number of very good irons in the fire. We're currently working hard on all these things, as we have a number of options open to us. It's going to be a busy summer."
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