Before I continue I would like to give my sympathies to the friends, family and fans of Adam Stansfield, Who passed away Last week. RIP.
That said the only good thing that came out of the Exeter Game being postponed was that I don’t have to feel so guilty for letting partying and alcohol get in the way of me finally writing this blog.
So let’s look at my first away day of the season.
Saturday 7th August - Sheffield Wednesday - Away
It was one of those times when the Alarm Clock is both the sound that you most and least want to hear, waking me with a feeling of "ugggghhh it's early and I don’t wanna get up" and "but I’m off to Hillsborough, get in!". So I dragged myself up and after a quick wash put on my brand new away shirt for the first away day of the season. Myself and the missus met up with Nikos at Upney Station and jumped on the tube to Daggy East. We got to Vicky road at about half past eight and jumped on a coach.
(early morning tired red eyes!)
The Coach was fairly quiet due to the early start time and after we had run out of conversation I disappeared into my headphones and managed to listen to the whole of Pig Destroyers "prowler in the yard" before we pulled into the services. Leicester Forest service’s was fairly busy but I managed to get my KFC pretty quickly, with that stuffed down my gullet I boarded the coach. We had a bit of a delay as it looked like one of our coached needed the AA to come out. Once moving I settled back into my iPod and started listening to some Hatebreed to get myself all hyped up for the match.
We Stopped outside of Sheffield and joined with the other 3 coaches. We were then escorted by the police to Hillsborough.
As we pulled up outside the Leppins Lane end the first thing I noticed was quite how old it looked, It had the feel of the football grounds I saw as a kid before having a bowl became ala mode! Because of the delays on the way up we didn’t have time to find a pub, so I queued up for a programme and we went to find the memorial of the Hillsborough Disaster.
The Memorial was actually smaller than I expected, but it had a lot of room around it for flowers, scarves and the like. We went back across the bridge and moat that surrounds the front entrance and down the steps back towards the away end; we had been allocated the middle two blocks of the lower tier.
After walking through the turnstile we found ourselves behind the massive Leppins Lane end staring down the tunnel into the stands. Me and Nikos both commented about how eerie it was to walk through the tunnel that led to the pens where the Crush had happened and once actually in my seat I thought about how many people where crammed into this relatively small space on that fateful day, it was a scary thought.
Looking around, Hillsborough is huge, and sitting on the lower tier it really did feel like it was us vs the world, especially as the home stands started to fill! It is definitely has the look of an old ground, but it feels like a place that has real football heritage and has seen more football games than any fan could dream of.
We had packed out the two blocks we were given quite well (with some spill over) and it the atmosphere was more than a little tense. The teams came out and the match started. I seem to have a really bad memory for football matches because all I can seem to remember is their goals and some of Robbo's saves. We seemed to start pretty well and showed all the spirit of a club on the up. Sadly they scored twice in as many minutes. From watching the replays it seems that the ball was deflected into the net by Scotty Doe from a Giles Coke ball. Then straight after Gary Teale whipped over a ball that Chris Sedgewick nodded down to Clinton Morrison who took a touch and turned it past Robbo. Around about this point I thought we were about to get nailed into the ground like green tent pegs, my fear showed me a score of 5/6 or even 7 – nil, but it didn't happen, The Daggers knuckled down and stopped fearing the size of Wednesday and their crowd and nearly scored a couple of times. I was having an awesome time, the banter with the home fans was cool, the best for me was "you're in the same league as Dagenham!! Saaaaaaame league as Daaaaaaagenham!" And it's always heart warming when the other fans clap you after the game.
All in all the opening game of the season gave me a lot of hope but at the same time gave me a fair idea of the challenge and possible heartbreaks myself and anyone who calls themselves a Dagger may have to face this season. I think that if we learn not to treat the bigger teams with too much respect and snatch some points off of them, we could stay up in this league!
Tuesday 10th August - MK Dons - Carling Cup (Away)
I chose not to go to this one as I am keeping the pennies for my trip to Nott’s but as usual I tuned in on the internet. We seemed to boss the game in the first half and I thought we were actually gonna get to the second round of the league cup for the first time when McCrory put in a free kick at 12 minutes. But it was not to be, ten minutes into the second half Ibehre put one past Robbo. We never seemed to get going in the second half and MK punished us when Scott Doe put a weak back pass to
Tony Roberts, Ibehre beat Robbo to the ball and put it in the net, final Score 2-1. Better luck next year lads!
Next - Notts County (if I have the cash)