Daggers welcome the Football League new boys

On a day when the rain didn’t stop falling, the storm clouds kept away from Dagenham & Redbridge for a couple of hours, reports the Dagenham Diary team.

The Daggers had been reasonably active in the transfer market over the summer. Not on the scale of £90+ million for one player, but there had definitely been a reasonable turnover of the playing staff. Gone were the older, more experienced (but also some would argue, more injury prone) players, and in came some that we had heard of, but like always, bought in on a small budget. While we may have got some cash as a result of a sell on clause for Dwight Gayle’s transfer from Peterborough to Cystal Palace, all those who have been watching the club for any length of time weren’t expecting much to be spent on the team.

Brian Saah has been excellent at centre back so far, and is forming a very good partnership already with the almost always reliable Scott Doe. Getting a central defender was important, especially as Like Wilkinson continues to struggle with injury. After a very good year last time out, Wilko will have to go some to get back in the team. Competition though is definitely a good thing, and to have three decent central defenders going for two places should mean that they will be kept on their toes.Similarly, up front, the signing of Rhys Murphy has been a good move so far. Taking the number of ex-Arsenal academy players in the squad to three, Murphy has settled in very well, scoring twice already. The front three (Murphy, Brian Woodall and Josh Scott) have been excellent in the games that I have seen, and as mentioned previously, this is a make or break year for the last two. So far, things have gone well. Continue reading

It’s not about the result, it’s about the performance

Brian Parish brings us a roundup from Victoria Road where the Daggers completed their pre-season preparations with three games in a week.

Pre-season can be a bit of a weird time. You could be keen to see how the new signings are getting on in the team, or to see those who you normally sit or stand with and haven’t seen since the end of the previous campaign. Alternatively, these games can be a bit of a non-event, with some clubs using these games to see how various players perform before offering them a contract.

Normally with the Daggers, we have two or three home pre-season friendlies to warm us up for the forthcoming league fixtures. This year, we had three home matches spread over a week. A week before the season started, we hosted Stevenage (alas no longer married to Borough), prior to that a visit from West Ham, but today it’s Leyton Orient who are here. Having played them four times last season (with both teams winning one each, and two draws), we know the opposition quite well. Our games with Orient are normally quite entertaining to watch, so hopes were high for a good game.

The club had reduced the prices for the pre-season games, as attendances in the past had been a bit on the low side. With terrace prices set at £10 for Orient and Stevenage, and £12 for West Ham, the club had produced an offer in which, if you bought tickets for all three games, then you could have the lot for £25. If anyone was attending all three, then it’s not such a bad deal.

Of course, these games are not attended by everyone. There are several that stand near us for league games that won’t attend friendly games, as they see no point in them. There are times when I can see what they mean, but last year we had two good games against Norwich City and an Arsenal XI.

Saturday 23rd July, Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient, Victoria Road
The first surprise is that our normal keeper, Tony Roberts isn’t playing, but then he is not even warming up, so it’s possible that he is not actually at the stadium. The number two, Chris Lewington is out there, along with James Shea, who I am reliably informed was at Arsenal.

If the club were expecting a big crowd for a local derby, then they were going to be disappointed. There was lots of room on the terraces, and in the seats at kick off. The league game attracted over four thousand last year, but as the game kicks off, it looks as though there is about a quarter of that in the ground. Continue reading