DAGENHAM AND PAUL
This is the thirteenth 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 13 is former player, PAUL, enjoy :)
FULL NAME: Paul Gothard
I joined the Daggers in 1994 from Grays Athletic and had an incredible decade at the club eventually leaving in 2004.
My debut was at Victoria Road against Altrincham as Bob Bolder the number one keeper was rested, the game was remembered for Roy McDonagh and Robbie Gammons getting sent off for us.
In terms of funny stories, there were lots of funny times at the club over my time there and most of them can’t ever be spoke about, we always had a good end of season trip to Butlins though….
From Butlins to Wembley and my favourite game has to be the FA Trophy final against Woking despite the defeat in 1997 - I got Man of the Match at Wembley! The semi final replay v Gloucester played at Slough’s ground is also up there. Also, anytime we played away at Southport I enjoyed as it was a great night out after the game.
My favourite Christmas games, well, I loved Woking at home and then when we went down home and away v Purfleet - they were always good battles.
Staying on the Christmas theme, my favourite Christmas song has to be Chris Rea, Driving home for Xmas - now a classic!
What is my relationship with the club now compared to when I started – am I still involved? Well, I am still in contact with a lot of the old players I played with and still look out for the results every week. My very good friend is now the clubs GK coach (Glen Johnson) and Terry Harris was the assistant coach when I was playing; I also worked with Peter Taylor with New Zealand Football. I loved the Daggers fans as they were always so good to me.
The best man I’ve seen in the Daggers dugout would be Ted Hardy, he had a great way with words and was also great with a water melon in pre-season!
The best player I have played with at Dagenham would probably be Jason Broom or Steve Connor. I couldn’t decide between the two of them - both great players!
The best player I played against would be Neil Emblen - great player in the middle of the park.
The best away day would have to be Southport because as said before it always was a great night out - often the Christmas night out!
Life after Dagenham... I left the Daggers and signed for Thurrock for a season then went to Billericay Town for a season. Then I moved out to New Zealand 14 years ago and played and coached with Auckland City FC for 4 years, then became the National Team GK coach of New Zealand. I have coached the U17’s and U20’s national team in World Cups and was lucky enough to do the Confederations Cup in Russia with the National team. I am now working as head GK coach for Wellington Phoenix in the A League which is great.
If I could some up my time at the Daggers in three words - Funny, Mates, Family.
My favourite moment at Dagenham would have to be getting my England cap from Pele at Wembley before the FA Trophy Final of 1997 - Pele! One of the greatest in the world to play the game; that was pretty special!
I’ve played with so many great players so on the bench:
Mark Janney, Paul Newell, David Jaques, Lee Goodwin, Paul Cobb, Matt Jones, Ash Vickers
Thanks for reading,
That was ‘DAGENHAM AND PAUL’