Dagenham & Redbridge, We're On Our Way Back!
Wow! That’s the type of signing we’ve been crying out for… Mr Paul McCallum – arguably the best striker in the league! Now, obviously it came at a price (the loss of two great defensive players) but I believe, though we have to wait and see, it’s a price worth paying. Paul is tied down until 2023 unless, God forbid, there is a Wilkinson-style buyout clause – let’s hope that isn’t the case! The price perhaps may not be as much as first thought though because it’s believed he was forcing a permanent move back down south after a short stay at Solihull Moors where he was loaned out to Barnet - he admitted that at the Moors ‘things just didn’t work out.’
Let’s turn our attention to just why it’s a price worth paying – Paul is a proven, prolific goal scorer – the stats don’t lie. And neither does the fans’ disappointment at his departure as there are many Moors supporters upset by the news – labelling it as a big mistake. Back to the stats though and Paul has been involved in a couple play-off journeys in recent years with Eastleigh perhaps the most impressive – he was key to their ‘success’ that campaign. In 2018/19 McCallum scored 28 goals from the 48 games in which he featured but the Spitfires’ fairy-tale journey to the Football League was brought to a heart-wrenching close after semi-final defeat on penalties to Salford at Moor Lane.
Paul did all he could in that game, heading it home in the 57th minute to cancel out Carl Piergianni’s goal, ultimately forcing extra-time and penalties – but a narrow 4-3 defeat on penalties eventually proved that it was a step too far for Eastleigh whom, as it later turned out, lost to the play-off winners.
That’s a season that’s synonymous with Paul McCallum in my view, I mean a 28-goal campaign isn’t bad is it! He does also have some League 2 experience with Portsmouth in 2014-15 and notably Leyton Orient for two seasons after that – netting 15 goals in all. The latter is another reason why Daggers are delighted as there were a fair few Orient fans pleading for him to join and ‘come home’ to Brisbane Road – he effectively snubbed them though!
There is no doubt that there was a wealth of interest in Paul which is why this signing is seen as a big coup and a huge statement of intent, which the owners have rightly received high praise for. Peter Freund when speaking to Digger Dagger Matchday spoke of how “We will be back, the club will be back and we’ll put a strong team on the field,” emphasising that the American consortium is “more committed than ever”. This signing just proves that statement correct and is music to the ears of every Dagger, also I can’t help but recall his response when asked about how big a loss Connor Wilkinson was.
He spoke of how crucial the position in which McCallum now occupies is so crucial and that is perhaps reason for why they are willing to spend – McMahon I think recognises that you can’t really take a risk on strikers as was the case under Taylor with unproven strikers in Grant and Quigley. In fact, you need a proven goal scorer, a prolific one, before you gamble on an unproven player who you hope can come into his prime while at the club.
At this level goals
are so important and we only managed to score 40 last season, that total was bettered
by everyone but last placed Chorley who netted 37 times! Hence why every Dagger
was crying out for a striker as I alluded to at the beginning of this piece – I
mean, this chart below says everything you need to know (Assists not accurate):
That record is hopefully going to improve dramatically with this signing playing alongside the man who tops that previous chart – Angelo Balanta. Excitement has grown among supporters with the though of the Colombian playing behind McCallum; on paper I’d agree, you can’t get much better. McCallum’s ability to hold the ball up (physical presence), the quality of his strike and positional awareness – he’s the complete package and I’m excited to see him in the red and blue of Dagenham & Redbridge next season!
I’m sure there are more signings to come still as well, and
I think despite the big loss of Manny at the back and another fan favourite
Liam Gordon – up top we’ve improved a lot with this signing and Saunders, with
another addition I think we’ll be there. There was some frustration from
Dagenham fans last month that we were perhaps too hesitant in the transfer
market with the likes of Stockport and Stevenage doing some great business – but
‘we’ve got our man’ and I think the frustration and concern has cooled as you
can see below:
I’ll leave you with that and the ‘Friday Feeling’ every Dagenham fan has today whilst enjoying the sunshine. We’ve got our man: McCallum is a Dagger!
Thanks for Reading,