What’s in a name?

Football clubs aren’t often the most imaginative organisations when it comes to nicknames. Some clubs see it as an opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the world, thinking up names so obscure that nobody but a small band of followers actually understands why. But on the whole, nicknames are a bridge too far for the PR agents and the marketing executives. So for every “The Nuts & Bolts” there will be three or for “Reds”, each “Monkey Hanger” is bettered by a dozen “United’s” and of course for every “Shrimper” there is half a dozen “Rovers”.

20130706-211325.jpgAnd that is the story of today, the hottest day of the year. In the deepest, darkest part of South East Essex is a place called Foulness Island. Not high up on the list of “Best Places in Europe to Visit 2013” according to Trip Advisor, but actually one of the most important areas of land for finding Brent geese no less. This flat, virtually uninhabited areas of Essex doesn’t see many visitors, as the roads and rails from the west stop at Southend-on-Sea, Britain’s 101st biggest settlement and home to the world’s longest pier. To the local’s it is simply Las Vegas on Sea. Home to Lee Evans, Phil Jupitas and James Bourne (what do you mean who? Do you not know anything about rock music???), it is also the Friday and Saturday night traditional entertainment spectacle of “Cruising”.

Having spent a year working in Essex, and actually occasionally going out with a genuine Essex girl (born in Essex, owned a white handbag, had a tattoo before they were trendy) I remember this ritual. “Where shall we go tonight? ” I would ask. “Cinema, Opera, Ballet?” I would offer as options. “Let’s do daarn Saafend and cruise” would come the response. Driving up and down the Essex Riviera with music pumping out of the car was the nocturnal pleasure of choice. I think I only kept going out with her because it was a cheap date… Continue reading

A festive football cracker from the Dagger Diary

The Daggers Diary don’t let a small matter of rain, snow or Christmas get in the way of their quest to every game humanly possible.  Here is their update from the festive period.

After our last game prior to Christmas at Morecambe was called off as we started the final part of our journey to the game, it meant that the team would have had a bit of extra time to prepare for the two Christmas games, even if it has meant a wasted journey over that particular weekend.

This all meant that our last game before Christmas was the December 15th win over Barnet. The 1-0 win pushed us up into the top half of the table, although we have since slipped back a couple of places to 14th. The loss of Dwight Gayle to Peterborough has not proved (so far) to be as big a loss as first feared, although the winning margins have been tight. Gayle so far, has proved to be a player capable of stepping up to the Championship level, and he has netted on several occasions for Peterborough so far. Now that the anticipated transfer has gone through, it is to be hoped that Gayle will continue to progress and eventually end up costing Peterborough a fair bit of cash, and that we won’t be cashing in on any sell on clause that we might have requested.

As is traditional over the Christmas period, the games come thick and fast, assuming that they go ahead of course. After the postponement at Morecambe, the next opportunity to see the Daggers is a Boxing Day home game against Southend United. Continue reading

That sinking feeling

Brian Parish continues to believe that Dagenham & Redbridge will be all right at the end of the season.  But a visit of the league leaders was hardly the tonic they needed on Saturday.

Missing one of your team’s games is not a nice decision to have to make, especially if things aren’t going well. Last week, Dagenham Dan and myself had to make this very choice; we could either miss our home game against Bath City in the FA Cup, or travel to Wembley to watch England v Spain. In the end, the national team won out (and won the game as well), so while we were watching England beat the World Champions, we were sitting at Wembley with the knowledge that the Daggers had been held at home by the team bottom of the Conference, and now had a replay to contend with.

As soon as the final whistle had gone at Victoria Road, Dan was looking at travel options for the replay, but with train travel not being the cheapest form of transport in this country, driving looked to be the firm favourite. However, that choice was soon discarded when he discovered what time he would have to leave, and so when it was announced later in the week that ESPN were going to show the replay, we both decided that we would watch the game in the company of our fellow Daggers at the club house. That could be fun… Continue reading

Still not yet in the grave

As an author myself I know the pain that you go through when starting on a new project, trying to wrestle with that internal voice that questions whether it is good enough, and will people buy the end product (FYI – Passport to Football is still available to buy here).  Football books are even more of a challenge with few publications actually worth a first read, let alone a second or third.  However, we strive here at the Ball is Round to bring you what we consider to be the best books written on the Beautiful Game.  In our “must read” list is probably the finest book written about what it is like to be a professional footballer on a day by day basis.  Not content with just one book, he followed it up with a second a few years later detailing his transition from player to manager and finally to a life away from the pitch.  Ladies and Gentlemen I give you TWICE nominated author for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, Garry Nelson. Continue reading