Sunday, 8 May 2011

Smiling Through The Tears

I wasn't there today, our biggest game ( we seem to say that every season now don't we ) in our history and I wasn't there. Its not that I didn't want to be believe me, it was because of my urgent need to sell my house and move before my daughter starts secondary school in the summer, so forgive me.

A thousand Daggers made the trip to Peterborough whilst I spent the day looking at houses and having people look at mine. I made sure though there was no one looking at my house between 3pm and 5pm and with my fags and drink I settled down to Jeff Sterling and the boys, on my own, whilst my wife and her Mum sat in the garden catching the last of the afternoon sun.

To be honest I was glad of the earlier distraction as it meant I had something else to think about. Being a football fan is something you cant explain, believe me Ive tried. It takes you to the highest highs and can also bring you to the lowest of lows. The width of a post, the wave of a flag, the blow of a whistle, all of these things can give you an unbelievable buzz or leave you pulling your hair out with frustration.

The game started and I was mildly optimistic that we would do it, Id read all the comments from Mark Arber on Twitter all week saying that we would do it and to believe, and I did I really did. It wasn't to be though was it?. It wasn't anyone's fault it was just one of those things. A bridge too far if you will pardon the pun. We can go over the season and look at the games we lost, the games we drew, the games we should have won but didn't but it wont change anything will it? Its pointless to do such things because it makes us look for someone or something to blame when there isn't anyone to take the blame.

The effort that all at the club put into this for us, the fans, will live with me and others for the rest of our lives. We may bounce back next season we may not, it will depend on who moves on in the summer to be honest. There seems no doubt that Vincelot and Green are favourites to go. Perhaps Scott Doe and Abu Ogogo will go as well but this isn't the time to think about this now. This is a time to reflect on how proud we are of what we achieved. We came within one point, one bloody point of staying in this league, the smallest of margins and that makes me proud of the players, John Still and everyone involved in the club.

My door bell rang at 4.30 this afternoon and my wife opened the door to a couple who had come to look at my house.They apologised for being earlier than expected and asked if it was okay to come in. My wife as she always does smiled and said it was fine. She started to show them around as I sat there on the settee, tears streaming down my face as the goals flowed in. A strange mixture of pride and pain as the realisation of what this defeat meant began to sink in. My wife showed them into the front room and I wiped my eyes, the woman looked at me and asked if  I was okay, I couldn't answer and my wife came over and gave me a cuddle then explained that my team had been relegated.

The woman smiled and her husband asked if he could sit and watch the final few minutes with me, I nodded and me and this stranger sat there as the fourth and fifth went in. My wife and the woman went into the kitchen for coffee and left us there. When it was over and the final result was known he shook my hand, wished me well and told me he was a West Ham fan and knew what I was going through. 

That is what football does to you, it doesn't need a spoken word from those that follow it, they know what it means to you, they know how it feels to win against the odds, they know what its like to lose. I am unbelievably proud of what my team achieved this season, I'm proud to wear my shirt and scarf, I'm proud to call myself a fan of this club. The tears and pain will fade over the next few days and weeks and then I shall be looking forward to the start of the season once again. One thing that will never fade though is that this club is now in my blood, it runs through my veins and whilst I may not have been there today, whilst I have breath in my body I will always be a Dagenham and Redbridge supporter and proud of it.


  1. Nice piece...i'm not sure which box to tick above so i'll just leave you with my best wishes for the daggers next season.

  2. Thanks mate well be back sooner than people expect us to be its the daggers way.