Magnus Invictus

I have found myself occupied quite a lot when the Daggers have been away this season, meaning that I have only attended a handful of away games this season. I think my last trip with the Daggers was the FA Cup defeat at Bristol City, back at the start of November. Before that, I think attended both Scunthorpe and Morecambe, which means that it has only been three away trips this campaign. Which all meant that it was a bit of a shock to the system, when the alarm went off at 6am this morning for our trip to Newport county.

The signs were not good when Dagenham Dan sent a text message on Friday afternoon informing me of a pitch inspection. This resulted in hasty checking of both clubs websites, as well as the Newport message boards, to gauge opinion as to whether the game would be on. A read through of the threads gave the impression that the game would be off, so it was more in hope than anticipation that we made our journey to Victoria Road.

Arriving at the club about forty five minutes before our departure time, there were a few standing in the car park, while the rest were in the bar. With two coaches travelling, we were able to board the transport, and most had double seats to themselves.

Unfortunately, that is as far as we got. The pitch inspection was scheduled for 9am, and as we sat around waiting for the seemingly inevitable postponement, the alternatives were already being discussed. About ten past nine, the news came through on twitter that the game was off, and suddenly the coaches were emptying and people were leaving. Continue reading


Folkestone unconquered

Another Pre-season Saturday, another scorching hot summer’s day. It would be rude not to take in a game on such a fine day.  And that is why I find myself watching the Garden of England rush by my window, travelling at speeds that would normally make South Eastern trains have a nosebleed.  There’s been many a column inch written in recent times about new train lines in this country since the HS2 train line route was announced last year that will cut through the English countryside to deliver travel time savings to us all, at a ridiculous expense. Whilst we can marvel at currently being able to travel from London to Manchester in just 2 hours, the cost of travel still far outweighs the advantages (and it is still cheaper and quicker to fly).

9428056129_f417c8d947_bBut few actually know where or what HS1 is? It has actually been around for well over a year and runs from London St Pancras, via Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International and Folkestone (no International status has been bestowed on the station yet due to a work permit issue). Travel times are, quite frankly ridiculous. 19 minutes from Ebbsfleet to Ashford – less than half of the time it would take to drive there, but the cost is significant. £25 for a single ticket, to be precise, making it more expensive than the very expensive Arlanda Express in Stockholm.  And that is where I am currently sitting, in air conditioned luxury.

I had packed my bag to head to Folkestone for the day to experience some Kentish hospitality and of course game number six in my pre-season preparations.Travelling by train to football seems so foreign to me but on a day when the sun was shining and the Shepherd Neame was calling, it seemed the most logical choice. If you are going to travel, then travel in style.

You can’t go far around the edge of the Kent coast before you bump into a football club, meaning that local derbies are ten a penny in these parts. Stretching from Whitstable Town in the north, through Herne Bay, passed Margate and Ramsgate, waving hello to Deal Town before you reach Dover Athletic, Folkestone Invicta and finally Hythe Town.

Whilst passions never run too high in these parts, some games do generate significant local interest. In fact the Folkestone v Hythe local derbies have generated some of the biggest crowds in the Isthmian League in the past two seasons and is testament to the fanbase in these parts. But arguably the biggest game is the Folkestone v Dover tie. Due to Dover’s recent climb up the leagues, the two clubs rarely meet at a competitive level, and so it is left to the occasional pre-season clash to settle old scores. Continue reading