DAGENHAM AND ADAM
This is the second instalment of the ‘DAGENHAM AND ME’ series in which we explore fans’ and former players’ relationship with the club. This will be done over the Christmas period with interesting stories being told daily and debates will no doubt spark over Dagenham’s Ultimate XI! Behind door number 2 is supporter, ADAM, enjoy :)
Full Name: Adam Gill
I first started supporting The Daggers in 1999 – which seems like a lifetime ago, but it has flown by! My first game was at Victoria Road where we faced Hendon during the 1999/2000 title winning season.
An interesting fact about me and the club is that Dave Rainford was my P.E. teacher at school. I suffered a serious knee injury a couple of years before he joined and he really helped me out with tips and advice to strengthen the knee and get me back playing again. He was playing at Bishop’s Stortford at the time, but I said that one day he would end up playing for us. He signed a couple of seasons later and scored the penalty that secured the title.
My favourite game ever, well many would say the Playoff final, but for me there is only one day that truly will stay with me forever – Charlton Athletic away in the FA cup third round. To watch our team of part-timers giving Richard Rufus and Paul Konchesky the absolute runaround was a marvel to watch.
That feeling when Junior scored was absolutely beautiful, although the ball seemed to take an age to hit the back of the net!
Football is a cruel mistress though – and in reality, they never should have got that lucky equaliser and we should have knocked them out on their own ground that day. I still have the ticket, programme and the clippings from the national newspapers. I must dig them out and frame them in my study!
Away from the football and on the Christmas theme, I have a few favourites but the ultimate Christmas song is ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade.
Back to the Daggers and although I don’t get to many games a season due to working shifts, I still try to get to 4-5 games during the course of a season. I used to wash the neighbours’ cars during the summer to pay for my season ticket and shirt every season.
I’m lucky that my seven year old daughter loves football and always enjoys a day out. I’m waiting for my son to get a little bit older; but I can certainly see the three of us over Victoria Road in the next season or two.
One thing that I think should always be raised, is that the club used to have a magnetism to it.
The atmosphere has absolutely been sucked out of the place and it just doesn’t have that ‘x factor’ it used to have.
Taking away the drums and the trumpet killed the atmosphere and the halfway line of the sieve always used to be the place to be for a good sing-song. Hopefully when the senior management make the necessary change – we will have more entertaining football and it will all come back together again. We don’t expect to win every week – but we expect to be entertained.
Sadly, a lot of the older fans have passed, but I still remember them when I go to games. It’s funny, you never knew all of their names – but you somehow all know each other!
The best Daggers manager, now it’ll be divisive, but it has to be John Still. The way he would leave each time has soured every achievement he made with the club. I’m certain that in his own time he would probably admit that none of the departures worked out the best for him and I genuinely think he does have a love for the club. We don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors and there might have been other factors than money that helped him to make up his mind.
Had he of moved upstairs at the club and helped to bring on a new, more exciting and younger manager; he might well have deserved to have a stand named after him.
Having said that, I always thought Dave Andrews deserved a bigger recognition of his work at the club – other than a bar named after him.
Garry Hill was also great manager – before we started throwing money at a promotion push. That many new players were never going to gel properly and the expectation outweighed what the squad was capable of at that time.
From manager to favourite player, I have many, many favourites from the past 20 years; but this man is head and shoulders above the rest. That man is Tony Roberts. Ok, you would often have your heart in your mouth when he would have a bit of a moment and his kicking was pretty atrocious. However, the way he could play the crowd and upset the opponents with his tricks was brilliant; he was a proper leader and I was so gutted when he retired.
That’s one thing I think the squad is missing – a big personality – Robbo bought that to us in spades. Absolutely love the guy and I would love to see him back at the club in some capacity in the future.
Name my ultimate XI: this is what I have gone for
Thanks for reading,
That was ‘DAGENHAM AND ADAM’