Friday, 29 July 2011

Where Now?


Its been an awful couple of weeks if I'm honest no one likes losing players especially of the calibre of Danny Green, Romain Vincelot and Tony Roberts. Any club would struggle with the loss of some of their best players but that's what being a Dagger is all about. You come here because we will give you a chance and if you do well we let you move on and further your career. Its how we get players of this quality in the first place.

Its not all doom and gloom though, look at the players that are still here, Mark Arber, Danny J Green, Scott Doe, Abu Ogogo, Peter Gain, the returning Josh Scott, Chris Lewington will battle James Shea the Arsenal trainee and England U20 goalkeeper for the number 1 spot, Damien Scanell, the hopefully emerging Alex Osborn, Medy Elito, and Luke Wilkinson and many many more. We are still a solid League 2 side aren't we? Will be flirting with relegation this year? Of course we wont be. We will replace, regroup and start another chapter in our history led by John Still and his backroom team into battle once more.

It wont be easy but its up to us the fans who pay our money each week to get behind the team and support them. I bet they are just as gutted as we are that these guys have gone, perhaps selfishly we forget that sometimes, but I bet the ones still here will be busting a gut for the badge and the club and everything it stands for.

As I write this I have no idea what John Still is up to in the transfer market, rumours are that the 1st of August is going to be a very busy day (ref simmo's hints) and I have no right to know either, that's not my job and I don't appreciate people telling me how to do mine so I certainly wont be telling him how to do his. What I will do though is support him because if anyone has the clubs best interests at heart its him. Anyone that doubts that should hang their heads in shame. He has always done right by us, we may not have seen it at the time but what do we know?.

The summer has almost gone and the new season is just around the corner. I'm getting excited about it, I don't know where it will end, what will happen, who will emerge as the new hero to replace the ones that have gone, but what I do know is that I guarantee it wont be boring because it never is being a Dagger and that's why we care and support the club and the team.

So lose those summer pounds, get that shirt over your head, lubricate the voice box and get ready for Season 2011-12, its going to be an absolute belter.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tony Roberts........Legend

If you look up the word legend in the Oxford dictionary it says the following "an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field: the man was a living legend a screen legend" well I would like to add my own definition of legend. In future when people talk about legends I would like the following to be recorded " Tony Roberts goalkeeper for Dagenham and Redbridge".

Of all the blogs Ive written in my time of being a Dagenham and Redbridge fan, the players who have left, the ones who have joined, the joy of Wembley, the tears of relegation, the one I didn't want to write was the one you are reading now. I wanted Tony to go on forever, to still be there when I was old and grey, but unfortunately the time has come for us to say goodbye and good luck for the future.

The announcement by the club today that Tony is moving onto pastures new and retiring from playing football has hit me hard, as I'm sure all of you reading this feel as well, we always knew the day would come but every season we always hoped it wouldn't be this one. Whenever we talk about our team and the line up we would like to see his name is always first, no question, its never ever been in doubt has it?.

Ive watched him from behind the goal, Ive watched him from the family stand, and the way he interacts with supporters of both clubs is a credit to him. He takes huge stick from away supporters with their ' You fat B@@@@@D chant' he will turn and face them lifting his shirt and showing them his muscles with a huge smile on his face. He will run over to the family stand and celebrate with us when we score, he will turn and yell with us at the stand behind the goal when we score at the Marcus James Stand end. You can see in his face how much it means to him as well as too us.

He has had injury's and suffered the pain of relegation, but he has also tasted the joy of winning titles and being on the winning side at Wembley. He has been twice capped by Wales, the country of his birth and is the record appearance holder for the Daggers. He is also the only goalkeeper to score in the FA Cup, when he netted against Basingstoke Town in the fourth qualifying round in 2001. Tony currently trains the Arsenal Youth team goalkeepers, but has now been promoted to first team duties, for which I'm sure we all wish him well.

I have loved watching him play down the years, Ive met him a few times and have always found him polite and courteous and a real pleasure to be around. He is also the only player who has had me in awe when he shook my hand and I mumbled like a small child with a stupid grin on my face. He is my favourite player, as an ex-Portsmouth trainee goalkeeper myself I have always admired the skill and agility that he has shown, and stuck up for him when he has been unfairly criticised by some. He has had me opened mouthed and on my feet with a save one minute, and crying with laughter at his antics the next.

Some say he looks like Sylvester Stallone, others mention his likeness to Beaker from the Muppet's, to me he will always be Tony Roberts the Legendary Dagenham and Redbridge goalkeeper. Good luck Tony, thank you for the eleven years of incredible service, the fun and the laughter, I'm going to have to stop now I'm welling up, just thank you big man there will never be another.

hwyl fawr Tony

You can find Tony Roberts profile on the Dagenham and Recbridge website here.

Friday, 22 July 2011

League 2 Predictions Season 2011-12

With a few weeks to go until kick off with our away trip to Macclesfield to start the new season I thought I would take a look at our opponents in League 2 and give my opinion on where we may finish. I have fed all the data I could find into a super computer (ahem me) and after a lot of thought I have decided to stick my neck out and go with what I think will happen.

It's not easy predicting final positions, after all who would have bet on Steveange getting back to back promotions last year or Chesterfield winning the League?. So for a bit of fun (yes I'm bored again, roll on tomorrow and that bacon burger that has been calling my name for months), here are where I think some of the teams competing with us this year will finish.


Tough one to call but I believe it will be between Crawley and Swindon to be honest. Crawley because they have spent money they probably don't have, and like Notts County before them will continue to throw money at it until they either go broke or that bastard Evans is arrested again, and Swindon because I believe last season was an utter freak. They fell into a bad run of form and couldn't get out of it. Play-off finalists the year before, they then lost two of their best players hit an awful run of form, and before they knew it they were down. They will have had the summer to re-group, confidence will return, and I expect them to bounce back as champions.


The remaining slots for automatic promotion I think will be between Southend, Gillingham and Rotherham. Southend I am reliably informed by my Southend supporting mate, are going to be a force to be reckoned with this year so Tommy mate here's to you having egg all over your face with love Anthony. Now then Gillingham came close last year and I expect them to be too strong for most sides in League 2 next year, having spent the summer without the disappointment of relegation, they will know what to expect from League 2 this year and will be up and running from the start. Rotherham, many expected them to go up last year, but I think the play-off defeat by us (ah the memories) took it's toll last year. They know what needs to be done to be in contention in this league and I expect them to get the job finally done.


Taking into account that there are three automatic promotion slots and I've already named five sides I think will be in contention for the automatic slots that leaves me with two more spaces. AFC Wimbledon I think will be in contention for a play-off spot this year. Having been cheated out of the title by Crwaley and their bastard manager, I think they will be very strong this year and on the back of finally getting their place back in the league, which was rightfully theirs anyway, I'm sure they will be out to shut a lot of people up and get into League 1 as soon as possible. Who have I forgot? Oh yeah us, right then where do I think we will finish? In the play-offs. The loss of Romain Vincelot and Danny Green will hit us hard as that's 22 out of the 52 goals we scored last year gone. However the stage is set for another Daggers hero to emerge with a returning Josh Scott, the emerging Alex Osborn and DJ Green and an unchanged back 5 back I think we will make the play-offs comfortably. Will we go back up? It's all about how you perform on the day as we well know.


There are five teams in this as far as I'm concerned, Barnet, Cheltenham, Macclesfied, Hereford and Plymouth. Barnet have flirted with relegation for what seems like forever and along with Macclesfield and Hereford I think they will finally run out of luck and two of these will drop out of the league. Some of you may be surprised by my inclusion of Plymouth but they are in an utter mess, players not getting paid for months, no money to spend, and with relegation hanging over them from last year I wouldn't be surprised to see them drop out of the League. No club is ever too big to go down and if they do I really fear for them as the conference is a very unforgiving league for teams who think they are bigger than they actually are.

So with less than two weeks to go, the home friendlies starting tomorrow with the full-first team squad, are you getting excited yet?. It's going to be a superb season of heartbreak, ecstasy and tears, let's hope we are on the right side of the tears come the 5th May this season.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Au Revoir Romain


Hands up all those of us that had heard of Romain Vincelot two years ago? Put your hand down at the back because you didn't did you, that's right you there, yes you, there we go no one. He joined us as a defender and ended it as a free scoring centre midfielder who gave his all for us whenever he wore the shirt. For that I thank him and wish him well for the future.

His move to Brighton is a huge step up for him, not only in wages, but when I look at our team he is in that group of players that deserve a chance to show their skills at a higher level. It appears that with the signing of ex-dagger Craig Mckall-Smith and now Romain that Brighton are hoping to outscore everyone else in the championship this season, it certainly won't be boring that's for sure.

Romain has turned into a firm fans favourite in the time he's been here, he doesn't quite reach legend status in my opinion, because I don't think you can be a legend in two seasons, a firm fans favourite yes and fondly remembered as well of course, but I will always look back at the goals he scored and the way he gave everything for us with very fond memories. From standing behind the goal and seeing him leap into the air to head the goal against Leyton Orient, to the awful clash of heads he suffered in the early part of last season.

We will miss his goals that's for certain, but as a club this is what we do isn't it? We give players a chance and don't stand in their way when their talents shine and a bigger club comes in for them. At the end of last season when the dust had settled, I looked at our team and thought that Danny Green, Romain Vincelot, and Scott Doe would possibly not be here with us next season. I also thought that Robbo might not want to carry on either and was worried that we may lose the backbone of our side.

Unfortunately I've been proved correct with Danny Green and Romain Vincelot now leaving us, ( just on the off chance Scott Doe and Robbo read this I will cry if you go as well). Romain joined us from the lower leagues in France, a trailist at first he soon showed what he could do and we took him too our hearts. Time doesn't stand still and I hope that when he looks back at his time here at the Daggers he does so fondly.

I hope that he laughs at the crazy english people who added him on Facebook and tried to understand what he was saying in French ( come on I know some of you did this), I hope he looks back on that beautifully warm day at Wembley with great pride at what he helped us achieve that day, I hope that the memory of last seasons relegation isn't too painful and that he remembers the positives from it rather than the end result ( 1 point, 1 bloody point and no I'm still not over it ),I hope he remembers the fans in the sieve who sang is name, but most of all I hope he remembers how much we loved watching him play for us.

Au Revior Romain well miss you.

Monday, 11 July 2011


As a parent you may know this phrase well "Are we there yet?" You know the one the kids think is funny after you've been in the car for 10 minutes into a three hour journey. Well that's my life at the moment, "Are we there yet?". Except mine isn't about a journey, oh no mine is a lot more important than that, mine means IS THE FOOTBALL SEASON HERE YET!.

My god could I be anymore bored than I am at this moment in time? I mean I don't have a football tournament to watch England fail in, I don't have an Olympics to watch with all the drug cheaters in it, and don't get me started on cricket. I know some of you love it and fair play to you for that, but me? Well unless it involves Australia I'm not going to lie it doesn't interest me. Ive tried women's football (better than I thought), Ive tried Rugby League (boring prefer union), Ive tried Wimbledon ( hard luck Andy again!!!), Ive tried boxing (Haye great cruiser weight but my nan is a better heavyweight and she has been dead for 14 years). So can you see my dilemma?

My Saturdays have been turned into, garden centres, I bloody Kea, walking around people's houses ( no I'm not a stalker, I'm selling my house), cutting the grass, which I would normally get out of by saying I didn't have time because I was going to the football, painting the fence and generally trying desperately to get 5 minutes on my own where I can. I did have a shed for this but woodworm got into it and sadly I had to knock it down, to be replaced by a plastic hut. Not my choice I may add, but that's what happens when you let the wife go shopping when your at football. She liked them so much she bought two of the bloody things. Have you tried sitting in one of those things? Don't trust me it's a nightmare, you have to prop the lid up which isn't great as everyone can see you and you end up looking like a Dalek without the top on it.

Once where the working week revolved around getting the team news, checking the table, working out how a win could propel us to safety, is now to be honest a blind mess of colours that all appear to be grey. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Where is the chance to put my hopes into eleven men who may brighten my otherwise dull week with a late winner or a 6-0 win. Waiting patiently in line for a burger, going home and writing my Sky Sports blog still buzzing from a win, or trying to stay positive after a defeat, I didn't realise how much I missed it until it was gone.

The transfer news has been shocking as well, there hasn't been anything of interest for weeks, no I'm not including Danny Green in this bless him we all knew it was going to happen. The annual Fabregas story is boring me now, Chelsea replacing manager after manager is boring me as well. What I need is something to stir the very pit of my soul, a shock stunner of a signing to wet the appetite for the coming season. I'm sure John Still has it somewhere, I just wish he would get on with it so as I could get excited for a bit.

My sanctuary isn't the fun it once was either as the forum has turned into talking about non stories to be honest as everyone is as bored as I am with the close season. As I look back over the past two years, the promotion season, I didn't want to end but at least I had Wembley to keep me ticking over. Last year, well if I'm honest I was glad when it was over, but now?. Hell I would sell one of the kids to see us get three points (I wouldn't honestly they would cost you too much money plus the wife is very attached to them and may not forgive me).

We have pre-season friendlies coming up but I cant get excited about those as to be fair they aren't much kop are they? Its all about the players fitness which is a great idea for them, but me? Nah I want a game that means something, I want to cheer the players onto the pitch, I want to see Robbo dancing, I want to see Josh Scott scoring in his first game, I want a bacon burger, I want the sheer joy I get when we score a goal and take three points. To see familiar faces outside the ground before and after the game, am I the only one that feels this way?
So I'll ask again 'Are we there yet?'

No? Bloody hell how much longer now!