Review of the year - 2018 Part One
On the first day of the year The Daggers who were pushing for the play offs drew a blank against rivals Leyton Orient at Victoria Road. Five days later they picked up their first win of the calendar year defeating Hartlepool with the help of Cheek, Okenabirhie and a brace from Dan Sparkes. However, three consecutive defeats followed, this saw Dagenham slip to 10th and five points adrift of the play offs. These defeats included a 3-2 loss to Boreham Wood before a 2-1 defeat to Sutton and to end the month Solihull Moors beat Dagenham 3-1 – this left them 10th come January 31st. Their 2018 was heading in the wrong direction and it was about to get worse! …
P W D L GD PTS
Dagenham & Redbridge 31 12 9 10 8 45
It was February 1st and a directors meeting was being held, it was later confirmed after the meeting that Glyn Hopkin was resigning as a director. Not only that, the man who bought his shares in January 2017 would now remain only as a minority shareholder and no longer fund any shortfall in the running of the club. The reasons given included ‘disunity’ between him and the fans also the ongoing campaigns to oust Managing director Steve Thompson made Glyn feel possibly out of place consequently Dagenham were now in a deep financial hole.
Due to this announcement some of the club’s high - profile players left the club to try and relieve some financial pressure; the likes of Sam Ling who re-signed for Orient and Whitely who departed for Ebbsfleet. Also among the players on their way out were Morgan Ferrier who had re-signed for Boreham Wood for a club record fee. Not forgetting Scott Doe a long serving player at Dagenham who left for personal reasons though the reason for his departure is blurred.
Their form on the field of play saw them slump to a fourth consecutive defeat as Aldershot beat The Daggers. However they bounced back with a 3-0 win at Torquay with goals from Robson and Fejiri Okenabirhie (2). On a Tuesday night in Kent Dover denied them momentum defeating the Essex side 1-0 in a narrow victory but they did defeat Chester 3-2 claiming what was an important three points. They may have only just beat them in the last five minutes and were helped by an own goal but that victory was important as it made sure Dagenham wouldn’t slide down the table.
After an eventful month The Daggers remained 11th now four points adrift of the play offs with a game in hand but uncertainty off the pitch now looked a bigger issue. News of a friendly against West Ham at Victoria Road in March was hoping to help #SavetheDaggers something no Dagenham fan would have imagined to put on their social media post.
P W D L GD PTS
Dagenham & Redbridge 35 14 9 12 9 51
A tough run of fixtures in March up ahead Dagenham were not in for an easy ride and the departure of some key players hadn’t helped but they were up for the challenge. An expected defeat saw title challengers Tranmere beat The Daggers 4-0 and then Haifax came from behind to beat them 2-1. So things were not seeming to get any better. A break from competitive football on March 21st as West Ham came to Victoria Road in a fundraising friendly. It was watched by a 4515 strong crowd. Although The Daggers couldn’t get a win they did manage to score as Bloomfield netted for Dagenham after Antonio’s brace. The final score was 3-1 as Hugill added a third but these were not the most important numbers with the announcer claiming the night was a ‘massive success’.
That break seemed to help Dagenham as they got back to winning ways against Fylde winning 2-0 against the play off hopefuls. The month ended not in defeat but in a goalless draw against Gateshead so still in 11th Dagenham were now nine points away from 7th and the play offs virtually out of sight. In terms of player news Mason Bloomfield agreed to join Norwich in the summer a move that would see him jump from the fifth to second tier of English football.
Into the last month of the regular season and a jam packed four weeks of football awaited a financially troubled Dagenham & Redbridge side. First up they faced Maidstone picking up all three points against the Stones with Robson scoring what proved to be the winner in a 2-1 victory. After then drawing 1-1 with Woking they faced Wrexham and came out 2-1 winners picking up another great three points. Bromley paused Dagenham’s run sweeping The Daggers aside however Guiseley in a relegation scrap were up next, an opportunity to get back on track and they did that putting five past Guiseley in an exciting match that ended 5-3.
After winning against Maidenhead in their penultimate game of the season The Daggers faced champions Macclesfield whom ultimately defeated them 2-0 though they left it late. Overall, The Daggers had a solid season finishing a respectable 11th but attention turned to matters off the pitch. Who would they keep? Would they get a buyer? Would there be a Dagenham & Redbridge? Uncertainty was growing and growing…
The fifth month of the year saw several departures it must be said ‘as expected’ with The Daggers naming their retained list. Notable absences included Dagger of the year Mark Cousins as well as Luke Howell, Jake Howells and Bondz N’Gala. Another man who left the club in May was John Still, he resigned in order to ‘free up cash’ as he left for Barnet who he would take charge of for the third time after their relegation to non-league. Now without a manager The Daggers were searching for a boss and a buyer – could they do both?
Four other Daggers followed in Still’s footsteps these included Craig Robson, Andre Boucaud, Charlee Adams and Dan Sparkes joining Barnet in June. They had now offloaded a lot of the first team squad and manager as they looked for some financial stability. Fejiri Okenabirhie left for League One side Shrewsbury Town he scored twelve goals in the 2017/18 season. A great bit of news was about to be announced as Peter Taylor had been appointed as manager. The man who gave David Beckham the captain’s armband for England would be assisted by Terry Harris who knew the club well. His experience and expertise would surely help The Daggers through this difficult period. Although it was a shock appointment everyone was keen to get to work and ultimately remain in The National League. They had a manager (a great one at that) now they just needed a buyer.
Part Two coming soon...