DAGENHAM AND ALAN
This is the first 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 1 is my Grandad, ALAN, enjoy :)
Full Name: Alan Ayris
My favourite player is currently Manny Onariase as he is simply a rock at the back - I hope he makes a quick return to the side!
I am not currently a season ticket holder but go to the majority of home games throughout the course of the season along with a few away matches.
I float between the Sieve and TBS on Matchdays - often depends on weather.
I began to support Dagenham in the early 1980s - before the merger - when I worked with then captain Joe Dunwell. Ever since, I have followed the club and my children have fallen in love with the club becoming season ticket holders - now their children are doing the same.
Joe Dunwell was one of the best players in non-league football and that was probably why he got a testimonial with Big Ron’s United side. There were some great players on show that day who graced the Victoria Road turf.
This was an exciting occasion for me personally as I support Manchester United also, therefore it was a perfect fixture.
Little did I know, when working with Joe, that almost twenty years later in 1998 my nephew Lee Matthews would captain Dagenham & Redbridge. Lee was a very popular player and captain and although he played at centre back his weapon was always his fantastic throw - it proved a constant threat.
Here is my ultimate Daggers XI:
I have picked Joe Dunwell as my captain as he is a class above any player I have seen at Dagenham. He was from the area and a long serving player at the club so that is an additional reason.
For me the best man to ever step into the Daggers dugout as manager is Ted Hardy as the club were very successful under his leadership. Despite not winning any silverware under him the club were consistent as they finished 4th, 4th & 3rd over three seasons. The Daggers also got to Wembley during his tenure but lost to Woking in the FA Trophy AET.
My favourite Dagenham game would have to be the one at The Valley in 2001 - an FA Cup tie. John Salako denied us a great upset against Premiership opposition with a late equaliser but the score was decent nonetheless. The replay ended in defeat but that game just had a terrific atmosphere - away to Charlton - excellent!
My favourite Christmas game is more recent and also my joint favourite away day alongside Charlton. That game is Salford away, just last Christmas, as it was a fantastic result that continued the tremendous run we were on. Also, it was the first home league game Salford had lost all season - it made the long trip well worth it.
Staying on the Christmas theme, I was asked for my favourite Christmas song and it will have to be ‘Santa Clause is coming to town’ Bruce Springsteen. I, like many, think Bruce is a fantastic singer and it is a great song.
Thanks for reading,
That was ‘DAGENHAM AND ALAN’