DAGENHAM AND PRANAV
This is the sixth 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 6 is supporter, PRANAV, enjoy :)
FULL NAME: Pranav Ratra
My favourite player at present is goalkeeper Elliot Justham - last season’s player of the year - a great player.
I am not a season ticket holder as it’s pretty tough to get to Daggers games as I live in Canada. Since I am constantly switching between studying and working, getting enough time to make a trip to England is difficult. I've only ever made one visit to England and went to two Daggers matches in that time.
For the two games I did go to, I was in the Carling Stand, and was fortunate enough to be right behind the players during their final warmup before kick-off.
I first started supporting the Daggers in late 2009 and have supported them ever since. My first Daggers match was our 2-1 home win over Orient last season - a fantastic victory but the first televised Daggers game I ever got to watch was Whitehawk. That game was on live on my birthday in 2015, when we beat Whitehawk 3-2 in the FA Cup to send us through to face Everton.
To be perfectly honest, I actually first heard about the club while playing FIFA 09; I went looking for the worst-rated team in League Two and found the Daggers there. My interest was piqued, and I began doing a little research about the club. I don't remember exactly what triggered me to decide that this would be the team I would go on to support, but if I had to think back and try to pick one thing that stood out, it was the story of Tony Roberts and his involvement with the club.
I don't really have any unique relation with the club aside from being an avid follower from overseas. When I was teaching for a year, some of my students became Daggers fans by association.
I could pick one of three when it comes to my favourite game though each for a different reason. First up is our 2-1 win over Orient last season, because it was my first Daggers game, a local derby, and Nunn scored THAT memorable winner. Second is our FA Cup replay win against Whitehawk, because it was the first Daggers match that I was able to watch in full despite it only being on telly.
And finally, the League Two playoff final holds a special place in my heart, as it does for every DAGGER! This is one of my favourites partly because of what that match meant to the club, but also because it was the first Daggers match for which I got to see proper highlights online - until then, I'd never seen any video footage of the Daggers in action!
In terms of my favourite Christmas game, I mean it has to be that 2-1 win over Orient last December. It was my first live Daggers match and what a match, brilliant experience meeting fellow fans and some of the players, as well as a victory in a derby... that game had everything.
Back when I started properly following the club, I mostly relied on the Daggers Facebook and Twitter accounts to post regular updates. Nowadays, I'm much more dedicated when it comes to following the club. I stay on top of transfers and club news, which used to be more difficult for me to find and keep track of. I taught my former students a bit about the Daggers history, and we once spent a class watching highlights of the League Two playoff final win.
On matchdays, I have the live commentary running in the background, tweets coming in on my phone, and live scores and standings for the rest of the National League fixtures. My love for the club inevitably spread to my family and a few close friends, albeit to a lesser degree with the latter.
Best manager? I've got to give it to John Still. He took the club to new heights and provided a sense of stability when I started following the club that I haven't really felt since.
From manager to player and my all-time favourite, as a goalkeeper myself, I've got to give it to Tony Roberts. One of the friendliest people I was fortunate enough to meet last December.
Here is my ultimate Dagenham XI:
Mind you the positions may not be exact as I have spent more time playing FIFA with the Daggers than actually watching the players, so some of these positions and players have been listed based on influence from off-the-pitch sources like FIFA, but here we go:
Thanks for reading,
That was ‘Dagenham and Pranav’