Sunday, 18 September 2011

Why did it mean so much to us?

Firstly I would like to make an apology. Sorry this report is so late (I know you’re all used to it by now) but I have recently started a new job and am finding less time to write than before. And if I’m honest the spare time I have found has been spent asleep because it is taking me a while to adjust to my new routine!

So, The Johnstones Paint Trophy.

That name doesn’t tend to get the most awe inspiring reaction out of people. Quite often all you will get is a little groan and a mumbled something about it being “tinpot”. But the thing is I love all cup competitions, all of them! As many of our readers know I have a particular soft spot for the Essex Senior Cup and I have to admit I have a similar feeling for the JPT.  While it is not always the most glamorous competition and can throw up a fixture that no one of either side of the crowd segregation care about (MK Dons away anyone?) sometimes the good folks at Soccer AM pull a classic out of the bag. Last season for example; an away tie against Charlton which produced a narrow 1-0 loss, a great atmosphere and was a nice appetiser for the league match where we battled for a well-earned point at the Valley.  Also the biggest reason to get behind the JPT is; it’s a competition we have a chance of winning and to win it you have to go to Wembley! And with “big” clubs like Sheffield Wednesday bailing out in favour of the league the odds are better for another day out at Wembley for the Daggers.

So this year I was very happy to see we had been picked to face Leyton Orient away. Yes I know ANOTHER away fixture in a cup! But to be fair Leyton away is nearly as easy to get to as Daggers at home (for the more local Daggers anyway, myself included). Our preseason friendly against the O’s had been at best a non-event and at worst a reminder that were it not for one point we would have been sharing a division this season.  But a chance to dump them out of a cup certainly whetted my appetite for a little revenge for last year’s FA Cup defeat.

Wednesday 7th August – Leyton Orient - Away – Johnstones Paint Trophy

My alarm rudely awoke me from my party induced slumber and I found myself glued to my guitarist/best friends leather couch.  Sadly I would not be able to just chill out all day till it was time for football.

My aforementioned new job actually started off as a voluntary position that I had put myself forward for after doing a 2 day course with the company. My plan was to make myself as useful as possible in the two days a week I was working there that I would be missed on the remaining three. And it was obviously working as I had been begged to come in for a couple of hours that morning to help with the rush. I had said this was fine as long as they realised I was not going home the night before and would therefore be a little worse for wear. 

So I dragged myself into work (in a clean shirt lovingly dropped off for my by the missus) and completed some Action Plans for our customers. With my promise to my potential employers completed I returned to my friend’s house with some nice fresh Gregg’s baked goods and played some Xbox and chatted for a couple of hours.  MrsMetalDagger was finishing work at 5 so at about 3pm I went home, showered and changed into my Daggers shirt and waited for the clock to reach half 4.  My mother in law then gave me a lift to MrsMD’s work and we made for Rainham station.

At the station we bumped into Lee Wilson and his friend and we chatted as we waited for the train. Neither of us were particularly optimistic of a result that night as it has to be said we’re not exactly having a prolific time in front of goal. We alighted the train at Barking to change onto the Gospel Oak line, leaving Lee and Friend to go a different route via Stratford.  I decided to give this route a try this time as I had gone via Mile end before and wanted to compare the two. It turned out that Lee should have come with us as the train we had shared was not stopping at West Ham and him and his buddy found themselves on route to Fenchurch Street (DOH!).

We got off at Leyton Midland and walked down to the Coach and Horses. I think this route takes a little longer than the other but with Lee and co getting lost along the way we had no real comparison. We ducked into the mini Tesco for a sarnie then into the Horses for a pre-match drink. Our little crew which today consisted of Mikins and Gemma (Jerk was working overtime) would be meeting us in the ground so with our drinks drunk we walked the short distance to Brisbane Road.

the Daggers start to fill the North Stand

Today the Red & Blue army (in green) had been allocated the North Stand, which I have to say is a nice little stand about half the height of the Marcus James. And while it might not have the old school feel of the East stand, the view was unrestricted and it was nice to be close to the pitch and next to the home crowd, who were today in the odd looking west stand.  As I made for a spot with the noisy mob I gather with I noticed we had brought a fair few. It was nice to know that no matter the competition a chance to stuff the O’s was something many Daggers will flock to. At first glance it seemed we had nearly as many fans as the home crowd did (and it couldn’t have been far off).

The game kicked off and instantly our mob was in good voice. No, better than good voice. We were making ALL the noise and within 5 minutes I realised I was having the most fun I’d had so far in this short season.  It seemed the noise we were making was really spurring on the team; they really seemed to want the win. The home crowd were nearly silent apart from a small crowd of about 20 in the corner of the West stand nearest to us and I say "good for them!" I really did feel for them as they tried to whip up an atmosphere amongst a crowd of people sitting on their hands.  I was having so much fun singing and chanting at the home crowd I nearly forgot there was a football match happening but I was shaken back into the game when Peter Gain hit the post with a lovely strike from the edge of the “D”.

Orient slowly file into the West Stand

The unused East Stand

Despite the atmosphere we created Orient were far from just rolling over and letting us stroll away with a win. Their league campaign was off to a poor start and I think this game was not only a nice change of pace but also a chance to gain some confidence by getting a win over their smaller neighbours.  Say what you want about the O’s, they do try and get the ball down and play some passing football and it was a nice example of this that nearly rewarded them with a goal were it not for David Mooney’s shot taking a deflection before being tipped around the post for a corner by our Gooner for hire keeper James Shea. Everyone’s favourite Orient player (read; sarcasm) Dean Cox fired in a cross for Jonathan Tehoue only for him to head it neatly into Shea’s arms.

Orients keeper Lee Butcher started to show the first signs of being a little suspect between the sticks when he couldn’t hold onto Ollie Lee’s shot from outside the box and must have been grateful when it was hooked away by one of his defenders.  He must have also been grateful when Damien Scannell’s shot caught him on his heels only to zip past the far post! With the pangs of hunger setting in (after all I had only eaten a sandwich all day) I made for the food bar below the stand just before half time to try and beat the rush. I didn’t have to wait long to get me and the Missus a hotdog each before returning to my seats in time for the half time whistle. So far I have to say I was having a brilliant time and was really looking forward to the second half. I couldn’t help but feel we deserved the win for our support alone!


The second half began and the banter picked up exactly where it had left off. Both teams were well up for it and there was a feeling in the air that pride was on the line. I thought that Orient were going to open the scoring when Mooney’s flick across the box was parried by Shea into the path of Jimmy Smith who would have been dead on to shoot and score if it wasn’t for an excellent bit of defending by Femi who got his body in-between the Orient midfielder and the ball before spinning round and clearing his lines. Defending like that deserved a payoff at the other end and we got it. Scannell ran down the wing to the edge of the box his first cross was blocked but fell straight back to his feet and he whipped it in again with his left foot, the ball hit the back of Sam Williams head, rolled down his back and flew into the net off of his arse!  And the travelling Daggers including myself went ballistic! And after the screaming and cheering died down we found ourselves doing the Poznan! Yep that’s right we were celebrating a goal in the first round of the JTP like it was the FA Cup final! And what of it? It felt good! 64 minutes Orient 0 , Daggers 1!

It was very nearly 2 when Billy Bingham (who impresses me more and more each time I see him) dribbled through the O’s midfield and fired from about 25 yards out only for Butcher to spill his save over the top of himself but luckily for him it rolled out for a corner.  Then Orient caught the break they so desperately needed;  Porter chased after the long ball and ran it to the goal line then crossed it low past Shea and into the path of Mooney who’s hard work all game was finally rewarded with an easy tap in from 5 yards. 88 minutes in, it was now 1-1 and all of a sudden the West Stand woke up and the 20 hardcore fans around their drum were finally joined by their Orient brethren. 

A part of me really resented this sudden bolt of enthusiasm, it wasn’t as if Orient had been playing badly but it had taken a goal for 90% of their support to actually give a toss. If we were to lose this game on penalties (and a shoot-out was looking a dead cert with only 2 minutes plus injury left) I would have felt pretty crappy to have them rub our faces in another cup loss in a game that only 3 minutes ago they started to walk out from!

The final whistle blew and it was time for the inevitable penalty shootout. Now I know this has been a long report so far and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me till this point but I want to tell you a quick story.  As a child I loved the penalty shootout, for me it was the height of adrenaline in football and this feeling was at its peak during Euro 96. When England beat Spain on penalties in the quarter finals it was the greatest football rush ever and I was convinced that with Seaman in goal there wasn’t a shootout we couldn’t win. So when we faced Germany in the Semi’s there was this part of me that really wanted it to go the distance to penalties as I was convinced it would secure us a place in the final. Well as we all know I was wrong, very wrong! And it hammered home a very healthy respect and fear of the shootout that I hold to this day.


So needless to say I was very nervous about this shootout, but I could feel that childhood adrenaline building. What was to follow was the longest shootout I have witness both live and I’m pretty sure on the telly too! It went thus;

Phil Walsh - Scores,
Charlie Daniels – Scores.  1-1

Richard Rose – Scores,
Dean Cox (to a chorus of boos and a “W*nker W*nker!” chant) – Scores. 2-2

Ollie Lee – Scores,
Ben Chorley – Scores. 3-3

Damien Scannell – Scores,
David Mooney – Scores. 4-4

Now it was sudden death!

Sam Williams – (even though I thought he’d put it over!) Scores,
Leon McSweeney – Scores. 5-5

Scotty Doe – Scores (and gives the Orient fans a nice “Shhhhhh!”),
Marc Laird – Scores. 6-6

Dom Greene (making his returning debut as a Dagger) – Scores,
Terrell Forbes – Scores. 7-7

Peter Gain – Scores,
Jimmy Smith – Scores.8-8

Billy Bingham – Scores,
Lee Butcher (their goalie) – Scores. 9-9

Femi (our crowd let out an audible “gulp!” #FemiFacts) – Scores,
George Porter – Scores. 10-10

James Shea (I’ll admit to being nervous before this one) – Scores,
Moses Odubajo – Scores. 11-11

Phil Walsh (with an absolute belter) – Scores,
Charlie Daniels – Scores. 12-12

Richard Rose - Scores,
Dean Cox (in spite of more taunting) – Scores. 13-13

Ollie Lee – Scores,
Ben Chorley – Saved by Shea!!! 14-13

And after 15 minutes of penalties the Daggers had done it, we had dumped Orient out of the cup. The players celebrated on the pitch as me and a horde of my fellow daggers ran down from the stands to the edge of the pitch to rub the home supporters face in the dirt and celebrate our win with another Poznan! We exchanged high-fives with the players and gave them a round of applause before doing a Conga back down the tunnel.  I met back up with my little group and us and the rest of the travelling Daggers marched en-masse to Leyton station singing all the way. Then the smaller groups split off in their separate ways and the mob I was in on the District line sang all the way home! What a thoroughly enjoyable night! Oh and I forgot to mention;  the weekend before this match the draw for the second round had declared that the winner of this match would get a home tie against Southend! Bring it on!

In conclusion of this essay of a report I would like to mention a thread I saw on the Orient forum, it was questioning why we celebrated the win so much. And one of the O’s on there wrote
; “Because they really, honest-to-god hate us and think we have an actual rivalry. Clowns.” 
To me this stinks of “it isn’t a rivalry because we don’t care if they beat us” well that is bollocks. Local bragging rights are the very foundation of a football rivalry (or one of at least) every time I pass an Orient fan in the street we both know what happened that night and we both know that for now the bragging rights sit with us. And that my bitter Orient friends is why we celebrate so much when we beat you. Because we love our team!

I went to bed that night a very happy and tired man with zero voice left.  And the next morning I was woken by my manager offering me a fully paid job at the firm I had been volunteering with! All in all I had an amazing 24 hours!!


We love you Dagenham, we do! Oh Dagenham we love you!


Next –
Have we ever won at Rotherham?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

If Football Matches Finished at Half-Time

(Words By Anthony Hodgson)

Hello there, yes it's me, after buying Full Metal Dagger a burger and a late night chat about blogging (he posted something I got nosey, then made him an offer), I now work for the hairy mafia. I would just like to thank Full Metal Dagger and Jerk From The Coach for allowing me to now post my inner thoughts on Dagenham and Redbridge on their site. So let's get started shall we?

I asked for ideas about a new blog post, I was originally going to trapse through the forum and give my take on some of the hot topics on there, something I may do in the future, but Thomas Thorn gave me a better idea so thanks for the title mate.

What if by some quirk of fate FIFA decided that what football needed wasn't goal line technology, balls with sensors in, 5 referees, clubs run financially properly, a bribe free organisation, but for matches to end at half-time whatever the result was at the time? A bit like the golden goal rule they had at one stage, must say great idea there Sepp got anymore stonkers? Women wearing tighter tops for football? Sorry you tried that one didn't you, anyway here's what I found out.


Would it change the course of history? Would it mean that clubs that survived on the last day of the season be relegated instead? Would it effect those who won promotion not have achieved it? To be honest I couldn't really care less, and seeing as this is a Dagenham and Redbridge site let's concentrate on the daggers shall we?

So looking back over our league history, having looked through loads of stats (you've got to love Wikipedia), consulted my memory banks, well I'm getting on and it ain't what it was, Christ I can't even remember the kids names half the time let alone whether I've just been to the toilet, (always best to go again if you can't remember) I have found out the following. Nothing, not a thing. There isn't a website I know of, so having come up short in my search I then decided to have a look at how many games as a league club we would have won and points we would have gained.

I shall be using what I shall call the Sepp Blatter stupid rule, well cricket has the duckworth-Lewis method and no one gets that do they? So how many points would we be on and also how many would we have lost using this method.

So here we go then the results are in and I can announce the following, the winner of this years X-factor is, oh crap sorry wrong blog :). Right back on track then.

In our first season in League 2 07-08 we gained 49pts in total using the Sepp Blatter rule we would have ended the season on 39pts a difference of 10 points

Season 08-09 when we just missed the play-offs we gained 68pts in total, using the Sepp Blatter rule we would have ended the season on 47pts a difference of 21 points

Season 09-10 our promotion winning season we ended on 72pts in total, using the Sepp Blatter rule we would have ended the season on 34pts a difference of 38 points

Season 10-11 our only season in League 1 we ended on 47pts in total, using the Sepp Blatter rule we would have ended the season on 29pts a difference of 18 points.

So what does this all mean then? Well, hang on a minute while I work it out, 2+3-4x22= I have no idea! No seriously, believe it or not our future wouldn't have changed. We would still have been relegated last season, we would still have been promoted a couple of seasons ago.

That my friends is the beauty of football, you can stick as many equations and stupid rules into it as much as you like but at the end of the day nothing changes. Players will miss open goals, score stunning 30 yarders, teams will somehow beat their rivals 8-2, and underdogs will win games they shouldn't.

You can't change football no matter how much you try, you can't for a simple reason, it's played by humans for humans. When emotion is involved all reason goes out of the window. Football is a game of passion and emotion, so let's leave it alone and live with the memories, good and bad, that have been created by it and not worry about the what ifs? Because in football the what ifs are what make the game the beauty that it is.

Thank you to for all the football league records.


Saturday, 10 September 2011


Knowing i'd be missing the midweek game away in the Far East (at the
Matchstick Stadium, Leyton) for a game in the Dulux Super Cup I
figured that i'd best sort out my football fix with a trip to glorious
Hereford, a place known for its cattle more than its football.

Saturday 3rd September - Hereford United - Away

....and looking at Edgar Street its easy to see why.  I practically
had to grease myself up to fit through the turnstiles, and when i did
was presented with the worlds slowest tea bar, and toilets which were
nothing more than a groove keyed from the floor tiles, and a badly
placed sink.  In addition, they stunk.  Welcome to Medieval Hereford.
The Mappa Mundi wouldn't have looked out of place framed on the wall
in front of aforementioned floor groove.


Our stand was a true beauty to behold.  The Arthur Scargill Stand
(Cargill...) was slimmer than some of our supporters (myself included)
and is made up of a lower tier of terracing, and an upper of 5 rows of
seating.  The lower tier view is obstructed....i say obstructed, its
obstructed in much the same way a coffin obstructs ones view of a
corpse.  There may as well have been a wall built an inch in front of
our faces it was that bad.  In fact, the only decent-ish view was to
be gained from an area which they had painted yellow markings onto the
floor of, and of which it was a crime to stand in.  I dont know why
common sense cant be applied when a club that takes such small numbers
away from home are playing.  Anyone left in the ground long enough to
die in an emergency when the rush outside consists of a queue of 13
people and a hot dog, in reality, deserves to die.  So, we had to
stand behind the pillars to try and view the game.


During the pre-game warm up and indeed after the whistle, it could be
noted that there was absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever.  The home
fans are appalling, I dont think i even heard them until around 20
mins from the end.  Still....rather Edgar Street than a soulless
flatpack like Shrewsbury Town - as when the supporters did bother, you
could hear them.

I really didn't get to see much first half, and it was largely
uneventful nevertheless (what i could see anyway).  The only point of
note was a penalty shout for us, which seemed to see the linesman call
for a spot kick, only for it to be refused by the referee and see us
given a throw in.  Not quite sure what went on there, but, shocking
officiating - as usual.  The sides went in 0-0, and for the second
half we decided that we'd sneak upstairs into the seats to actually
watch the game.

...I wish we hadn't have bothered.  I wont pretend we looked useful in
any way, and in my opinion the bright point came with the introduction
of Jake Reed.  This game had all the feeling of two sides who come the
end of the season will be struggling at the wrong end of the table,
looking through their anus's at the bottom two places.  Why do we come
out so negative away?  After 60 minutes or so, i spent much of the
game staring into the distance at Hereford Cathedral.


On the other hand, when looking at the teams, it can be noted that we
were missing the likes of Elito and Arber, who will be influential to
how we finish come the end of the season.  No sign of Dominic Greene
either - for reasons I am not aware of.   Jon Nurse was away on
International duty.

So roll on 85 minutes, when a weak Hereford goal made the score 1-0,
thus giving them their first league win of the season, and ensuring
our record of conceding late goals lives on.  It's frustrating,
because we could have so easily had something from this game -
Hereford were bloody awful.  I wouldnt be surprised to see them go
down this season.



Next -
A Game no one cares about, apparently!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

2 Halves, Hospitality and Headaches

Disclaimer – When leaving for this match I completely forgot my camera and the memory card on my phone was full, therefore I have no photos from this game.  But fear not, I shall replace the photos with shite stick-man drawings! YAY! – FMD (sorry)

“Are you coming to Romford with us then?”

There are a couple of scenarios that ran through my mind as I that sentence reached my half asleep ears.  The first scenario I envisioned saw me peeling myself from my comfy bed, crawling into the family car for the journey and then walking bleary eyed around Romford’s many shops (stopping for a Subway sandwich along the way) and then being dropped off at Vicky road in time for a pint.

The alternative saw me planting my face back into the warm crater I had imprinted in my pillow, falling back to sleep for about an hour, dragging my carcass to the couch to watch Soccer AM (on an hour delay due to the delights of Sky+) and then…  well that’s as far as the plan went.  “Would you mind if I didn’t” I mumbled before rolling over and falling back to sleep.   Bed 1 – 0 Outside world

About an hour later I was sitting on the couch watching SoccerAM and enjoying a cup of tea when my phone rang. It was Jerk’ finding out if I was going down to The Bell for a pre match drinky because someone he’d spoken to on “” was going to be there and what’s more he was going to drive down there and did I want a lift!
“Lemme finish my tea and put some pants on!”

Saturday 27th August - Torquay Untied - Home

The previous weekend had seen us take all three points from Bradford so I was quietly confident that we could do the same against the Gulls.

At The Bell I met the Torquay fan that Jerk’ knew (Alex) and his friend Paul (who I shall call “Torquay Paul” to save confusion between him and our Paul), both of whom were already well into their days drinking. Not wanting to be left out I got my pint and chatted with the two. I found both to be very good company and the banter was free flowing.  Torquay Paul commented how we were the first metalheads he’d met on his many away days to which I said “count yerself lucky, Barking and Dagenham aint exactly swimming with us!”


After about 4 pints and a shot of Vodka (courtesy of Torquay Paul) it was time to catch the 103 to Victoria Road.  The bus rocked with the sound of 7 drunken Daggers and 2 drunken Gulls as songs were sung at each other and anyone else who dared get on the bus! But the bus driver was very understanding about the whole thing and even gave us a wave in response to “driver, give us a wave!” top bloke!

As we got into Fortress Victoria our yellow wearing guests made for the Marcus James and we made for the sieve.  The game itself (as many are) was a game of two halves. Two very distinctive halves.

The first half saw us controlling the game but not finding that all important end product. I thought Tomlin was going to get his first of the season when he picked up Abu Ogogo’s deflected shot, sadly he fired it at the keeper who smothered the ball.  It was Sam Williams who opened the scoring, Gavin Tomlin put the ball into the box for Nurse who lifted it on to Williams whose whipped header curled into the far corner.  1-0 to the Daggers.  So far it had been a solid showing from the Daggers and a lovely little bit of link up between Williams, Tomlin and DJ Green nearly culminated in DJ getting his first but for a save , the ball made it back to DJ who took an ambitious cross/shot which Robert Olejnik just managed to tip it over the bar.  During the halftime break whilst eating my burger I realised I was developing quite a nasty headache, not good!


The second half was a completely different matter, I don’t know whether Torquay came out of the traps or if we run out of steam or a mixture of the two. Whatever it was the second half did not make for comfortable watching. We started brightly enough but within 10 minutes Torquay started to box us in and Chris Lewington really came into his own with a couple of saves to keep us in it.

Then the almost inevitable happened; Mark Arber tripped Billy Bodin in the box and the Ref pointed towards the spot Rene Howe stepped up and converted. 1-1. At this point I could honestly see us conceding again, maybe it’s just the cynic in me. But despite this we held on for the point. I hate to cast shadows over points but walking out I couldn’t help but feel it was two points dropped. In hindsight points are points and I shant moan.


We met up with the Torquay boys in the car park and jumped on the 103 back to The Bell and after a quick pint I decided that the pain in my head was too much to bare and I went home and quite literally laid down in a dark room and fell asleep.


(shhh I have a headache!) 

Come on you daggers!


Next –
The land of Milk and errrr Beef!  Hereford!