Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Curse of the Green Shirt is Broken

I apologise for this being later than usual but I have had a stinking toothache all week and have just found out I will be going for a root canal operation. Lucky me!
Right onto the joy of last Saturday

Saturday 25th September - Charlton Athletic - Away

I woke up later than usual for a football day and after a quick cup of tea me and the missus set out for Barking station to meet with a group of fellow Daggers. Once our little group was together we jumped onto the c2c to west ham. From west ham we got the Jubilee line to North Greenwich, as we exited the station a group of Daggers were already at the bus top. I bumped into Mick and a few others I knew and looking around I felt very comfortable surrounded by the red and blue (and green and yellow) army. The bus arrived and we all squeezed on it, that was when the singing started. This was feeling like the way I think an away day should be, a group of daggers singing and chanting into enemy territory making the bus rock with the noise! It was amusing to see the little girl in the buggy clapping along; she probably hadn't seen group singing of this calibre since her last day at playschool.
The bus pulled up at our stop and we got off with song in the air. We all walked up the hill and most of the group ducked into the Charlton Liberal Club but me and MrsMetalDagger had to head up the road to find a cash machine. After ducking into a newsagents and finding a cash machine hidden amongst the biscuits we took our crisp notes back down the road into the Liberal Club. The club was nice enough £1 to get in for me, free for the missus and at £2.50 a pint of Oranjeboom I found it very reasonable. The talk in the pub was optimistic but realistic, with many expecting us to walk out with nothing. 

The Valley looking more packed than last time we were there!

After a couple of pints we set off for the Valley, once there we bought our tickets from the little plastic booths and headed into ground. I chucked a pint of john smiths down me and then went to find a seat.  It has to be said the atmosphere was excellent and the Daggers faithful sang up a storm. As the Whistle went for the start of play I have no shame in admitting I was nervous and Charlton did nothing to help this when Lee Martin hit the bar with a rocketing shot but still we sang and still the boys in green kept their chins up. Then on 10 minutes Charlton’s threats became reality as Miguel Llera headed a Johnny Jackson corner over everyone and into the net (the same net that Danny Got himself trapped in) 1-0 to the Addicks!

Slowly but surely the Greens got more into the game with Gavin Tomin with a great chance only to put it at the (pink shirted) keeper. Then in first half stoppage time we caught a break, Therry Racon clipped the leg of a leaping Bas Savage and brought him down in the box. I couldn't believe it when the ref pointed at the spot to award us the penalty. Straight away I turned around in my seat I Didn’t want to watch. In the end curiosity got the better of me and I had to look. In the end that was the right decision as I got to see Danny Green slam the ball into the bottom left corner past the outstretched keeper! 1-1 and the halftime whistle blew.

Me, not wanting to watch the penalty

I ran for a quick pee (which I desperately needed by then) then back to my seat. The feeling in the away end was if we could walk out with this result we would be more than happy. Everyone got back to their seats and the second half started. Well obviously John Still had said some magic words in the dressing room because the Daggers came out fighting and within 20 minutes the mood changed to from "glad for a point" to "looking for the win" and Charlton’s keeper Ross Worner Kept the Addicks in the game more than once, you think they'd reward him with a new strip that doesn't look like pink Bacofoil!! With about 10 minutes left we were in full song, filling the air of the Valley with a rendition of "the Great Escape" because we were about to escape a former premier league club with a point. We sang for so long that Ian next to me was complaining of arm pain from clapping and my tongue was starting to ache!

Daggers pack out the away end

Then the unthinkable happened, totally against the run of play Therry Racon put in a cross which was nodded into the net by Johnnie Jackson. Charlton had stolen a point from us in the 91st minute and the Charlton fans woke up from there perpetual silence to rub it in our faces, with little chavvy kids running down to the front of their stand to goad us and wave their fists in the "wanker" gesture. 2-1 to Charlton. The second they scored we sat down dejected for all of 5 seconds then the Great Escape started to echo again around the away end and before I knew it we were all back on our feet making the noise for our team, the team that deserved more than they were getting and we all wanted to show how much their effort meant to us.

"The fourth official has announced that there will be at least four minutes of added time" well that was 4 more minutes for us to sing as far as we were concerned! Sometimes the fans lift the team, sometimes the team lift the fans but today it felt like we were one, both fans and players giving it their all for nothing more than the love of the team and the love of the game. So when Substitute Damien Scannel whipped in a cross which was met by the “Beast from Barbados” John Nurse's diving header and flew into the net to make it 2-2 we cheered like we had won a cup. it was then I noticed Nursey was face down and the physio ran over to attend to him watching the replays later it seems his diving header went right through to meet the keepers legs (lucky really, I thought he'd hit the post!).

Nurse down after scoring

So clapping and cheering we ran down to the front of the stand, the Charlton fans that had been so keen to rub our faces in the dirt for losing to "the mighty Charlton" seemed to have disappeared and we were left to celebrate as the final whistle blew. As the team came over we gave them a standing ovation and sung their praises (and I bumped into Walesdagger, nice bloke). It was another one of those rare football moments that you could have lived in forever. We left the ground singing "Point at the Valley, we got a point at the valley!"

The boys show their appreciation

It's here I’d like to mention that if you watched any of the highlights on wither the BBC or the DaggersPLAYER you would have never known how well we played in the second half because they all cut straight from the Green penalty to Charlton’s 2nd goal. I know we only have a small fan base but it would be nice to see some of the nice play that kept Charlton on the back foot for 45 minutes given the spotlight it deserves! 

in the Antigallican after the game

Once outside and not ready to go home yet we walked back to the Liberal Club but found out that away fans are not allowed in after games so we headed back down the road to the Antigallican for a pint. There was a great buzz in the air and everyone I spoke to was upbeat about the result with many saying we should have won, but none disappointed we hadn't. With beers drunk a group of us set off for the bus home, as we waited the team coach drove past and we gave them a much deserved cheer. Our bus came and we started singing like we had on the way there, then the bus driver turned off the engine and told us that if we didn't behave we'd have to get off!! Bloody killjoy must have been a Charlton fan! So with a bus of dagger sniggering like school kids the bus set off for north Greenwich. As soon as we reached our destination we sang as loud as we could, marching off of the bus and onto the jubilee line. The train was the same, songs were sung, banter was thrown and a good time was had by all.
Our original small group got off at West Ham and popped into the offie for beers cheese olives and a lemon (don’t ask!) we sat on the bench outside with our tinnys as the adrenaline finally left our bodies. After a couple of drinks the c2c back to Barking was looking very welcoming and while Ian and the others headed for another pub, my stomach needed to be taken home for food. Once in I had a GoGo special and fell asleep before the Football league show could show our goals. What and awesome day, for me the very definition of a good away day.

I was going to make this a double entry and include the Colchester game too, but looking at that page of writing makes me think it might be a bit much to take in one sitting ^_^

So I’ll bid you all farewell, first points on the road in the bag!



Next - Another unexpected point at Colchester

And after that - Swindon come to Vicky Road

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bragging Rights and a Game under the Lights

Before I recap my version of the last 2 games I would like to take a minute to say a very sad farewell to Stuart Thurgood, Who has had to retire at 27 because of a persistent knee injury. Thurgood (although not with us for the longest time) made an instant impression on the squad and the fans. After seeing him in a couple of pre-season friendlies I was an instant fan. His bulldog tenacity and his constant bullying of opposition until they relinquished the ball will be remembered for some time with some saying had we had a fully fit Thurgood all season we could have finished as champions! This may be an accurate statement, because it took us a while to fill the hole his injury left in midfield. The last time I saw Stuart play was actually after the Rochdale game that took him out, it was in the Essex Senior Cup away tie to Harlow Town and MrsMetalDagger will testify to my excitement at seeing him on the pitch. Sadly this would be the last time anyone would see him in our colours and this week it was announced he would retire. While there is nothing I could say that could take away the pain of losing a playing career to injury, I would like to shake him by the hand and tell him how great it was to see him in the red and blue! So Stuart, good luck in anything you do in life, you will always be a Dagger to us!

Stuart Thurgood 8

Sooooo I guess I can't avoid this anymore

Saturday 18th September - Bristol Rovers - Home

I woke up on the floor Saturday morning, MrsMetalDagger's west-country cousins were down for the game and I had been relegated to the floor while the missus was snug in my bed with her sister (not as interesting as it sounds). Shaking off the cobwebs I sank a cup of tea and joined the queue for the bathroom. No time for Soccer AM today because the family had to go to see a grandparent before the game, so off we set to Vicky road via the grandparent’s house. Getting off of the rail replacement bus at Dagenham East (so far I had yet to get a train there this season!) we headed to the bookies to put on some bets. It was here I discovered one of the cousins, Andy, was very good at the virtual gg's and walked out about £30 richer. Phil (the other cousin) put a fiver on Rover's to win (fair play, it is his team) but I warned him that if Rovers won I was entitled to a pint from the winnings that were earned at the expense of my tears!

Once at the ground we headed for the traditional pre-match pint(s) sitting with familiar faces with half an eye on the west ham game on the big screen. As the game started we seemed to be doing ok, the ball was going from end to end with both teams looking to get an early lead and I thought we scored when Tomlin spooned a rebounded Peter Gain shot. As the clock struck 27 minutes the Rovers attack danced around the Daggers defence and Jeff Hughes slotted the ball into the far corner. 1-0 to Rovers. 5 minutes later it got worse Hughes received a lobbed pass behind the Daggers defence and deftly lobbed it over the charging Robbo, 2-0. The atmosphere had gone from not very good to pretty bad, with the boys not playing as well as expected and a 2-0 deficit (not to mention West Ham being away that day!) lead to a flat and curmudgeonly mood in the sieve, of course the normal cried were trying to lift the atmosphere but the majority were waiting for something to sing about. As the half time whistle went a small boo grumbled its way out of the terrace.

The second half was a slight improvement but it seemed that every good ball was scuppered by a mistake or Rovers defending and with 10 minutes left people started passing me, heading towards the exits. It was around this time that new signing Bas Savage came on and as an ex-Bristol City player was at the wrong end of some stick from the Rovers fans. Sadly if the result wasn't set in stone it was about to be, Mark Arber was judged to have tripped John Akinde in the box and a penalty was given, Hughes stepped up and converted, 3-0. Bas tried to make a mark on the game when he hit the bar with a header shortly after. Thankfully the final whistle blew shortly after, I clapped the lads as always, although today it was with a feeling of sympathy, I knew I felt bad about the result but imagine how they felt. We exited the ground and went for a pint in the club house and Phil bought me a pint paid for by Daggers tears, and I topped it up with a few of my own.

It was in the bar that I found out that Phil and Andy had been started on by a Rovers fan and received some verbal until Phil unzipped his jacket to show Rovers colours, they then heard a member of daggers staff giving a description of a fan (very much like this same bloke) to a policeman as apparently a young Daggers fan had been hit. Phil later told me that he really hoped this didn't ruin relations between the two sets of fans, because having spent the day at Daggers drinking and chatting with our fans, he found us a very friendly bunch and is very much looking forward to heading west for the return fixture.

But random acts of idiocy wern't going to spoil their day, 'cause they met Digger!

Digger, Phil and Andy

After a family meal at Chiquito's we headed home with the bragging rights firmly in the pocket of the west-country lads!

So after that showing I was more than a little nervous about the Tuesday night tie...

Tuesday 21st September - Exeter City - Home

I can say I wasn't looking forward to this match as much as I normally do. Two 3-0 defeats on the bounce had taken the wind out of my sails a little. In my humble opinion (and I do not claim to be an expert) it didn't look like we were being outclassed because the teams in this league were an amazing class above the teams last year (although you do notice a step up in play) it seemed we were losing because we were not playing as good as we had last season and while some will point towards the loss of Benson I say we still have the rest of the team that got us promoted. So that leaves confidence and the team not quite gelling yet. But even knowing that we can play better than we had and that we could get a result, didn't mean I was 100% we would! 

After a pretty boring day I had a shower and waited for the Missus and Mikins to finish work. Once they arrived we jumped on the train (that's right!! an actual train!! now let’s see if this can happen on a Saturday!!) alighting at Dagenham East and heading down to Vicky Road and straight into the club house for drinks. As we entered through the turnstile I noticed the attendance has dipped a little, but this is as expected as the honeymoon is wearing off and fair-weather fans are not going to want to pay money when we're not winning most weeks. Despite the weekends loss the atmosphere was a bit better and I was starting to get that "Tuesday night under the lights" buzz. Me and the Mikins picked a bacon cheeseburger and headed deep into the sieve. 

Teh Mikins eats Teh Burger

Sadly we couldn't get to our normal place near the singing but we still sang for the lads, even if it meant a few "on our own" moments! As the game started both sides had a shot on goal but 5 minutes in we all felt like we had gone back in time to Saturday as some sloppy defending allowed Ryan Harley to whip in a cross which was flicked on by Jamie Cureton and headed into goal by Richard Logan, 1-0. As the half went on the Daggers kept finding each other with no end product but Exeter were creating a fair few chances but none of them found the net. At about 40 minutes it looked to me (and most of the sieve) that Stewart Lewis was tripped in the box but no penalty was given, I have yet to see a replay of it, but I feel that if Saturday’s trip was a penalty then so was this! Also no card was given for simulation so it was one or the other! We nearly had another equaliser when a Peter Gain shot took a deflection only to be saved very well by City keeper Paul Jones. Half time came and I disappeared for a quick toilet break and bumped into JerkFromTheCoach and shared a grumble at the score.

The Sieve

Back in the sieve we watched the start of the second half, Dagenham looked a bit better and really wanted to get something from this game but no matter how many balls were put into the box, nothing would get in the net. At around the 60 minute mark Bas Savage was subbed on for Scott and then Gwillem came on for Phil Ifil. The Switch in formation from 442 to 352 seemed to work quite well and if Savage and Tomlin can work out exactly who's going to go for each ball we could have a good little partnership brewing. As for Savage's low scoring record, I’d like to see how many assists he has because from initial impressions he seems to work really hard. 71 Minutes in and we had a corner, Danny Green whipped it in (thankfully as he'd caught allot of flack for not getting it past the first man today) and our midfield miracle Romain Vincelot jumped and with an almighty smack off of his blessed bonce, headed the ball into the net!! 1-1!!! As the cheers went up it felt like the cheers of relief washed over us all, for the first time this season we had come back from a deficit. Exeter kept having a go though and came close a couple of times, but so did Dagenham! And as injury time was announced the terrace filled with more excitement than it had all night as we willed the red and blue army to finish with points. Finally the final whistle blew and although not the best result it was better than Saturday. Happy with the point we walked into the clubhouse happier than we'd been 2 hours ago.

outside the club house with Jerk' we bumped into Paul Benson, I shook his hand and drunkenly told him how much he was missed and asked him if he could knock one the wrong way for us on Saturday, seeing him there made me completely forget that Theo Walcott had come to see us. Who needs Walcott when Benno's in town!


So now we've moved up 1 place and the Orient are the team below us. This is good, we are moving forward, but Saturday we return to the valley and a difficult game against Charlton where a win means we could be above the dotted line.




Drunk at the station

Next - South London Football fans claim "they pay our benefits", we remind them they're "in the same league as Dagenham".

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

From our reporter in the field

So a lack of money and payday looking far too far away all conspired together, meaning I couldn't go down to Bournemouth for the game.

A family christening and a lack of appropriate clothing meant instead of sitting in with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich, taking in the comedic and journalistic genius of Soccer AM, I had to go into Romford and buy a shirt and tie! Although I have to say I think I looked pretty nifty in my new threads (even if I did look more than a bit like The Undertaker!)

So with respectable threads in the bag I returned home for the game on Daggers Player.

So now over to our reporter in the field. The one, the only JerkFromTheCoach.

Saturday 11th September - AFC Bournemouth - Away
(report by JerkFromTheCoach)

I now find that I travel to most away games. Certain games I feel confident about, others I do not – but this was one game where I figured we would be able to come away with a point.
Sure, it’s worse than 3 points, but far better than the 0 we would get if we lost. Come kick off, it was clear we’d be extremely lucky to walk away with that point.

We all know home games are different to away games, and that generally you cannot play the exact same way. This meant that Darren Currie looked pretty poor again, as the game we played wasn’t as suited to his style of play (largely brought on by his lack of pace, but that’s forgivable at his age of 126 years) as the game we played last week, which was more to feet. Watching the battle between Darren Currie and Lee Bradbury was like watching two sloths drag racing. Superb stuff!

I don’t know why, but we seem to be exceptionally poor away from home – and it’s lasted some time. As far as I am aware, since February when we came from behind to beat Aldershot 3-2, we have won once on our travels (Wembley aside) – and that came at Darlington, the worst team in the history of football, ever.

Back to the game anyway, the fans turned up – I was very impressed at the number in attendance. We were quite vocal throughout even when we looked less likely to come away with anything than an armless thief in a swag bag shop. The team however, didn’t seem to be there.

Bournemouth played a half decent game, but looking at their fans comments online I am less impressed by them than their own fans seem to be. Despite however, both of us losing our main focus of attack in recent weeks (Pitman to them was what Benson was to us after all) it’s Bournemouth who seem to have stepped up their game and are coping better.

38 or so mins in, and we conceded to go 1-0 down when my distant relative Pearce scored. As I was thoroughly pissed off with what I had been watching up to that point, I decided that it was time to head downstairs to the bar area and have a think about things over a plastic tub of overpriced and poor quality Australian beer. Whilst down there, goal number two went in – watching the goals on the TV later that evening it’d appear to be the fault of Danny Green and a lack of concentration. The first half ended with us being 2-0 down. More beer was consumed, jokes were shared, and shutters were….shut, and then it was time to head out for the second half.

The second half started much in the same way as the first had ended. We didn’t particularly look like we were going to score until Jon Nurse was introduced. I found the partnership of Tomlin and Scott to be rather lazy. I am not known for being a massive fan of Josh Scott, and Tomlin needs to learn to chase the ball more. Another thing I find frustrating, and I’m sorry to say it because I love Peter Gain, is that when he loses the ball, rather than work to get it back he looks around and shouts at people. We almost came unstuck at one point because of that too. With regard to the second half, the entertainment of the first half had gone (there was a drunk rolling around on the floor cheering behind the temporary stand - I know I didn’t mention it until now, but it’s started to come back to me as one of the highlights of the day the more I think of it) and I was left to watch what remained of what was obviously going to be a defeat. We didn’t look like scoring, Bournemouth did, and as soon as they hit a third I did what I very seldom do and left early to go to the pub. I'll still follow you everywhere Dagenham, and I’ll be behind you 100% of the way - but can we please start picking up some points on our travels?


Well I think that sums it up pretty well and sitting at home listening to the game was probably less entertaining.

After this game I came to a conclusion: I would rather be at a losing away game than listening to one. The reason I say this is at home you feel powerless, you cries of despair can't be heard on the pitch. As a travelling fan I tend to shoulder some of the burden of a loss but at home on my own a loss just slaps around the face and pulls the rug from my feet.

So yeah, I’m gonna try to get to the next away game!

Chin Up Boys!!! (hmmmmm saying that a lot this season)
COME ON YOU DAGGERS!!!! And that's an order!

On a side note I managed to enter a church without being struck down by the lord for owning Slayer albums!

Next - MrsMetalDagger's west-country cousins come to Essex for a family feud decided over a game of football!!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Singing we've got 3 points, haven't you?!

This Saturday I was allowed a nice lay-in and a slow comfortable awakening by the footballing gods. And it was while I was in this early morning haze, hugging the pillow like a child in his mother’s lap that I suddenly remembered...

Saturday 4th September - Leyton Orient - Home

So I jumped (well my unfit approximation of "jumped") out of bed and headed downstairs for a cuppa with the taste of the fried breakfast sarnie I was gonna have already on my tongue. Bounding into the kitchen to my horror I saw there was no bread! "No bread?!? On a Saturday?!?! The day after the shopping is done?!?!" then I checked the fridge "No bacon either!!! This shall not do!" It turns out that the bread had been given to a grandparent in need and the bacon had been forgotten when shopping. But I was determined and MrsMetalDagger came to the rescue by making some scrambled eggs which I fired up some sausages (with chilli sauce on the side) with for a pretty decent on the fly brekkie.
Sitting down with my eggs and a cuppa I switched on Soccer AM, and to my delight saw a the face of Mark Arber (with the superimposed mouth!) explaining that I was indeed correct that his celebration after scoring against Tranmere was a tribute to wrestling legend, "the Dirtiest Player in the Game" Ric Flair! (WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!).

Once Soccer AM finished I put on my Daggers home shirt (Now looking a little worn!) and we set of to catch the rail replacement from Upney Station. As We got closer to Viccy Road I realised I was quite nervous about today’s tie, Although we had shown promise in most of our games, we were yet to win and after dropping 2 points to Tranmere, I feared going up against an O's team that had seen a couple of wins already!

We got into the ground and headed for the ticket office to pick up everyone’s tickets for the day from the brand new and shiny window at the side. With ticket in hand we headed into the clubhouse with Gemma to meet Nikos who was waiting inside sitting down at a table with familiar faces and a pint. We watched the MK dons vs Hartlepools game on the big screen, Nikos had MK down to win on his accumulator so was watching the game with much interest. We chatted amongst ourselves until the game all nervous and fearing the best we could do today was a point, but none the less happy for what was going to be a derby day game in front of a packed house.

Orient fill the away end

So with a belly full of beer we headed to the turnstiles and I got to use my season ticket for the first time and in my half cut state managed to embarrass myself by not being able to tear the ticket out of the book and having to hand it to the woman in the booth to do. Once inside the first thing I noticed was how full the Marcus James stand was, from one end to another it was full with O's ready for the game! The second thing I noticed was how full the sieve was already! So with heads down we weaved through the mass of people until we found a space near the middle to stand.

Daggers pack out the Sieve

It's times like Saturday when you look around at over 4000 people in our little ground, you wonder how we'd squeeze in another 2000 to reach our stated capacity. The teams came out to much applause and the game got underway. Straight away the Daggers contingent were in good voice as we cheered the boys and it seemed very back and forth at first but with the Daggers pushing forward with each attack. We didn't have to wait long to wait for something to cheer as Danny Green slipped past his man, darted forward and flew in a cross which was met by the diving head of Romain Vincelot for an 8th minute goal! And for only the third time this season I found myself dancing in the arms of my fellow fans! 1-0 to the Daggers!
Orient weren't out yet and I was thankful when Robbo took the sting out of Matthew Spring's half volley and collected safely then a little later Stephen Dawson broke through the Daggers backline and I thought he was going to score until Ogogo took one for the team with a last minute tackle which he came out a little worse for wear from! But the dagger continued to attack with Gavin Tomlin ending a lovely bit of work with a shot into the side netting and Vincelot nearly scoring a near-copy of last season’s goal against Burton!

With the home crowd singing away the half time whistle went, and then something I didn't expect to happen, happened. Out stepped Digger the dog and seven cheerleaders stepped out and started to dance to some random "boom tss boom tss boom tss" music. Straight away I wished this was the day I was in that furry suit! After the show I headed for a much needed pee, on the way back Digger was doing his rounds so I called him over, shook his hand and told him he was "a lucky bastard!"

Digger with the girls!
Back in my spot on the terrace the teams came out for the second half (with Will Antwi on for the injured Ogogo). The Orient fans hadn't been as loud as I had expected them to be with such a large away crowd (Morecambe spring to mind as one crowd who made more noise with less) but I think this was down to how the game was panning out, as when they decided to make some noise they had the potential to be quite loud. Sadly for the Orient fans our French phenom wasn't about to give them something to sing about as 5 minutes into the second half Danny Green whipped in a corner which was headed back across goal by Arber was guided by the Frenchman’s head into the Orient net! 2-0!

a terrace of happy Daggers!

As soon as we had stopped celebrating I think the whole home crowd remembered the last home game and the dropped points, So when the daggers dropped back as the O’s attacked the mood in the Sieve became noticeably tense as the mumbles and grumbles of a worried crowd filled the air. And after a decidedly wobbly period of worry the daggers settled back into a comfortable attacking pace and we nearly jumped out of our skins when Josh Scott hit the post with a lovely strike. But we also collectively shat bricks when Scott Doe misjudged a header back to goal which Robbo thankfully tipped away from goal! Finally the whistle blew and a cheer went up as we were safe in the knowledge that today all the points on offer were safely in Dagenham and Redbridge's account.

After clapping the team off of the pitch me and Nikos headed for the shop to get some cash out and the girls headed for the club bar. As we headed back to the ground for the post-match drinks we spotted Mark Arber driving down Victoria Road so as he stopped ready to pull out I called out to him "Hey Mark, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" and did the Ric Flair walk, He looked over, smiled and with a "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" back at us, pulled off down the road. Just as Me and Nick were discussing that moments like that were one of the many things that make this club of ours special, Robbo drove past us with his head out of the window yelling "COME ON THE DAGGERS!!" at us, and with a "RRRRROBBO ROBBO ROBBO!" we waved him goodbye grinning like idiots.

Once back in the clubhouse we found a pint each waiting for us and sat down to toast the Daggers first win. Then the TV on the wall showed us some very welcome information


We're out of the relegation zone, so time for another beer and another toast. Just as Nick was at the bar John Still walked in ,so knowing he is a very approachable man (who last time I bumped in to him after the Tranmere game asked how my day as Digger was) I took the chance to shake his hand and congratulating him on the win. After a couple more drinks and chinwags with our friends around the clubhouse we headed home stopping at the chippy on the way home for some kebaby goodness.

What an awesome day! After staying up to watch the Footy League show I fell into a warm, drunk and very happy sleep




Sadly I am too skint to make the trip to Bournemouth so I’ll be biting my nails listening to it on the Daggers Player!

Next - Ballmouth on the radio :(

Thursday, 2 September 2010

There's Only One Paul Benson / Charlton Away (JPT)

Paul Benson is and always will be a Dagger, no matter where he goes or what he does; he will always be a Dagger. And after 5 years of service, 201 appearances and 84 goals (the last of which was a sweet goal to open the scoring at last year’s play-off final) he has earned the right of place as a legend at this little club of ours. For me the goal that will always stick with me has to be the Wembley goal, not just because of the brilliant touch - turn - and shoot into the net (that I can see in my mind as I write this) but because of how much it meant to him and us as fans, if there was anyone we wanted to score for us and put us on the map, it was him!
He had such a high identification with the club, if you was to say "Dagenham and Redbridge" to someone, chances are they'd say "Paul Benson" back at you and apart from the goal record, I think this is part of why it was so sad to see him go, Benno was ours! Our manager had found him, he made his name in our team and we loved him for it. I say this without any bitterness but with the affection of saying goodbye to an old friend. So Benno if you do read this, know that we  all thank you for what you did and hope you get a fat pay-packet to line your nest for your family and retirement and complete the fairy tale of the Saturday league striker who made his name at a pub team from Essex!
Farewell you legend!

14 Paul Benson

Enough of that mushy bollocks, I went to a football game on Tuesday!

Tuesday 31st August - Charlton Athletic - Johnstone's Paint Trophy (away)

So we knew we had no Benno and now we were gonna face the team that wrestled our top goal scorer off of us. I was sitting indoors finishing off my last blog and washing the "cursed" green shirt ready for what was going to be one of the easiest away days (travel wise) of the season. When the missus got home and changed, we headed off to meet the others. The good thing about a weekday match so local is that the Tube network is actually useable without the normal disruption we as football fans have to deal with. So from Upney station we got the district line to West Ham and met Mikins, then onto the jubilee line to London Bridge picking up Nikos along the way. We stopped at Burger King in the station then onto the overground to Charlton. I have to say I had noticed more daggers fans along the way than I had going to any other mid season game (not including coach trips obviously!). After a journey on the train discussing possible replacements of Benno with a fellow Dagger we got off at Charlton and headed straight for the ground. Once at the ground we bought our tickets from the little huts outside the turnstiles and headed in, picking up a program for £1. Straight away I noticed we had brought a fair few with to the Valley that day. While I expected a few to show, after last year’s trip to stadium:MK for the first round of the JTP where we brought about 180 (but it felt more like 80)  it was a pleasant surprise to see so many had made the (albeit relatively short) trip. So with anticipation building inside me and after saying hello to some familiar faces I promptly shelled out £9.90 for 3 pints of John Smiths and we guzzled them down as kick off was nearing. As I took my seat the atmosphere was already building with us reminding them that not only were they no longer a Premier league team but that they are "in the same league as Dagenham, Same league aaaaas Daaaaaaaagenham!" (I knew that would be a favourite this year!). The Valley is a nice modern stadium but it still has some character and although it was half full it still looked impressive.


Just before kick off Nikos leaned over to me and pointed towards the pitch "there he is!" at first I couldn't find him amongst the red shirts but then I spotted him, wearing 17 in Charlton colours. I found myself getting the same feeling one would get seeing an ex-girlfriend with her new bloke! Straight away I realised that if anyone scored tonight, I didn't want it to be him, that would sting just a little too much. The first half began and we started like we wanted to prove a point, with some good runs and a shot by Nursy blocked by defenders. No matter what we did the Charlton defence was closing down well and it seemed like every time we got near there box somehow we'd give away a free kick, I don't know whether this was due to rough play, offside’s or bad refereeing but it was very frustrating. The Daggers faithful were in good voice and if you watch back the highlights you'll hear us more than Charlton. Charlton also had their chances and Benson could have scored were it not for the heroics of our 2nd string (and in my view, constantly improving) 'keeper Chris Lewington. Benno was at the wrong end of some banter "what a waste of money" and "who are ya!" where flung his way, but the classic "he came from nowhere, he's scoring everywhere” was also thrown in just in case he doubted that out banter was anything but affectionate. The half time whistle blew and I knew we could win this, but I feared we wouldn't and said as much to Nick.

Sadly I was right!

The second half began and Dagenham carried on with the momentum from the first half but it only took until the 57th minute for Charlton to score. Paul Benson knocked it on to Matt Fry who found Therry Racon in the box who turned and slammed it past the outstretched Lewington. 1-0 to Charlton. At this point the boys heads seemed to drop and although we had ago we never looked like we were out to snatch it back. Thankfully though Lewington managed to stop the further shots from Benson! A last ditch cross from substitute Darren Currie was flicked on by Nurse was only just gathered by the pink kitted (poor sod!) Ross Worner otherwise Josh Scott would have had tapped it in to take it to penalties! The final whistle blew and as usual we clapped the team and it warmed the heart to see Benno hugging and saying goodbye to all his team mates.

The Gaffer seemed very animated in the post-match huddle, I dunno what was said, but it was very energetic. Going by his post match interview I’d imagine he was congratulating and commiserating, we’re more settled as a team and now we need goals, wins and the points that come with them. 

We exited the ground and headed towards the station. I was already looking forward to coming back to the valley in 3 weeks for the league fixture and I could see a good little rivalry developing if we stay in the same league for long. On the platform we chatted with the Charlton fans, one of whom was back over from working in Oz where his local team is Perth Glory (hallelujah!) they were all very complementary of our little team and wished us good luck in our season. We stopped before we all went our separate ways and took this photo to document our feelings towards tonight’s result


And this one to remind ourselves that we're in league 1 and havin' a laugh!

All apart from indifferent Mikins who as you can see is indifferent to everything!

Before I sign off I would like to take a moment to say goodbye to another big part of my life as Dagger and that is the old Unofficial Daggers Forum which was shut down on Tuesday. This was a great little forum where I have always enjoyed discussing our little team as well as burgers, music and fish fingers! Run by "steveMC" it was often the place to find out info before it hit the main site. Although unofficial it was without a doubt the online centre of Dagenham and Redbridge FC and even the players knew, a good example was when Scotty Griffiths posted on there to say goodbye to us all and it was name checked in the Tranmere program by (Daggers keeper of my youth) Paul Gothard in an interview. Thankfully though the ever faithful SteveMC has set up a new forum at and the tradition is continued.


So I say farewell and Rest in Peace to

So with all that said, I am gonna waste no more of your time but to say "chin up boys!"



Next -
The battle lines are drawn as Orient come to town!