All change please at Victoria Road


No club likes losing a popular manager, but in the sign of the times, Dagenham have just lost their long serving boss to the Non Leagues.  Was anyone bothered?  We sent the Daggers Diary team to investigate.

Towards the end of the 2003-04 season, Garry Hill resigned as manager of Dagenham & Redbridge. After a particularly tepid 0-0 at Scarborough, he boarded the supporter’s club coach and announced his decision to those that had travelled, saying that he needed a rest but would see out the rest of the season.

One week later, the home game against Gravesend was anything but tepid, as arguably the most lack lustre Daggers performance in years (and that included the 0-9 humiliation at home to Hereford a few weeks earlier) saw us beaten 0-4 at home, and with the manager sitting in the dugout at half time with his hands in his pockets. A few hours after the game, he was gone, still needing that rest. It was a shame that a successful period for the club, which had included winning the Isthmian League, three straight appearances in the third round of the FA Cup (which included one trip to round four), and a conference play off final should end with such an image as that.

The club turned to the first manager it had appointed after the merger in 1992, John Still. Ten years after leaving for Peterborough, he had returned to steady the ship. While our performances in the FA Cup haven’t been anything to write home about (we’ve reached the third round just twice while he was in charge), it has been onwards and upwards since in terms of our league position. Two mid-table finishes preceded the conference title in 2007, which was followed by a near miss at the League Two play offs in 2009, although twelve months later was the crowning glory in the win at Wembley and a day that no Daggers fan will ever forget.

stillOn Tuesday, it was announced that John Still had left the club, to take over at Luton Town. In charge for just under nine years, Still has left the club in a much better position league wise than when he arrived. While some would have not quite admired some of the football played in that spell, it has undeniably been successful. And to regard the teams that we have had in that time as purely playing long ball team is not quite right. We had players like Craig Mackail Smith in that time, who has certainly gone on to bigger and better things. There have also been some decent central midfield players who have been here, such as Glen Southam, Matt Saunders, and Luke Howell, who may not have been so influential if that area of the field had been completely bypassed. Continue reading

In search of Joanne Guest


Many people would say that the most famous sight in Chesterfield is the twisted spire of the Church of St Mary’s and All Saints. The wooden tower leans nearly 10 feet from its centre axis and it famed the world over. It is relatively logical that the local football team take its nickname from the most visible point in Derbyshire’s biggest town.

Some may suggest that the town is also well-known as the birth place of John Hurt, or even Simon Groom. Eighties pop aficionados would surely point their stylus to the fact two of the three Thompson Twins hailed from Chesterfield but to me the town has always been the home to the finest women, bar The Current Mrs Fuller, in the whole world.

1624873-609mWe can all remember our crushes when we were growing up, which manifested themselves into something obsessive as the hormones took over. One of the rites of passage growing up is when you build up the courage to buy your first top shelf magazine, making sure Mrs Patel had gone to lunch so you could carefully slip the copy of Razzle, Mayfair or Readers Wives under Viz and a packet of Minstrels. I remember the day very clearly when I went into my local newsagent a boy, and came out a man. She had already been a familiar face (among other body parts) in the Sun and the Star, but it was the news of her first ever “spread” as it was harmlessly called in those days, in Escort magazine that had me slipping on a baseball cap, wearing sunglasses and putting on a fake accent to obtain a copy of a magazine that today would be tame compared to the likes of Zoo and Nuts. But this was in the day when Baywatch was as exciting as things got on TV. Continue reading

Hyde and Speak


The last few weeks have seen an upturn in the Daggers fortunes, with eight points garnered from the last four league games. Although it hasn’t propelled us as far up the table as we would probably have liked, it has at least given us a bit of breathing room above the teams that are still hovering around at the bottom.

Following on from last weeks nerve destroying win over Bradford, things took arguably a backwards step during the week, thanks to a 2-0 defeat at Southend in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Having missed the game, the text updates from Dagenham Dan were brief although his considered opinion was that I hadn’t missed much. So that was alright then.

To be honest, the JPT is the most likely route that we would have had of getting to Wembley, although given the calibre of teams in the southern half of the competition it would have taken a phenomenal run to get to within sight of the arch this year.  That still wouldn’t stop me using bet365 football betting though to put a couple of quid on just that event.

Still, that avenue is closed off for another year, and so all we have to look forward to now is the FA Cup, the Essex Senior Cup (which is a big trophy literally) and several months of league games. Still, it could be a whole lot worse.

Having decided (possibly against better judgement) to go to the England game last night, it is with a sense of relief that we might actually witness a proper game tonight, instead of a one way traffic kind of encounter. Today we make our first ever visit to the Proact Stadium, the just over two year old home of Chesterfield. Continue reading

We come not as tourists but warriors


Freight Rover, Sherpa Van, Leyland DAF, Autoglass, Auto Windscreens, LDV Vans and now Johnstone Paints.  Many names for the Football League Trophy, or the Associate Members Cup.  It doesn’t matter what it is called, it is simply the easiest way that teams from the lower reaches of the Football League can enjoy a day out at Wembley.  Previous winners since its inception in 1983 have included five current Premier League clubs, as well as current Blue Square Bet Premier League sides Grimsby Town, Mansfield Town and Luton Town.  The most successful side in the history of the tournament has been Carlisle United who have played in six finals, winning twice, including last season’s trophy.

Despite the fact the Football League having toyed around with the format to try to increase its interest amongst the fans, it is still only the final that gets the crowds through the doors.  For the period between 2000 and 2006 the 48 Football League sides were joined by a host of teams from the Conference, including the likes of Leigh RMI (Now playing in the North West Counties League as Leigh Genesis), Scarborough (on five occasions – who are now known as Scarborough Athletic and playing in the Northern Counties East Premier League) and Dover Athletic now in the Blue Square Bet South.  But crowds for some of the games dropping below the 700 mark it was decided to keep it just to the Football League clubs.

This season’s competition started with some of the bigger names in the competition falling by the wayside early on.  Sheffield Wednesday lost to Bradford City on penalties and holders Carlisle United went out to Accrington Stanley.  In one of the more remarkable games, Leyton Orient lost to neighbours Dagenham & Redbridge 14-13 on penalties in a game that was still going on at near 11pm. Continue reading