the daggers voice
87 long, long days had passed and finally I could return to my second home for the friendly against Charlton Athletic. I was initially supposed to attend the previous Wednesday's encounter at Billericay Town but their dodgy maintenance system put paid to that. So it was another weeks wait for my first game of 2015/16. So it arrived. That morning I posted a preview online and spent some time in the garden with my brother and Mary. Gradually, 10am progressed to 12pm and the countdown in my head commenced. Slowly time progressed and it was time to leave; it was time. I strolled down my road with Mary and met nan at the station for the short train journey to Dagenham East. Within seconds, the District Line pulled into the station and we hopped aboard. I immediately got nostalgic and started reminiscing about previous games. Finally, we arrived at Dagenham East and began the short walk to Victoria Road.
We arrived very early. It felt so good to be back. However, the programmes hadn't arrived yet. Typical! So we mutually decided to embark on our ritual of entering the clubhouse to purchase the best glass of pepsi in the south-east. I could feel the icy cold substance snaking its way down my body in the peaceful warmth of summer breeze. At around 5:30pm it was time to check if the programmes arrived. As I exited the clubhouse, I caught a glimpse of the cover to be delivered to the executive box. It looked amazing. We then went and bought a programme from Russell Elmes and I could have a good luck at the new contents and credentials of The Dagger 2015/16. Then, Nan spotted the coach arching it's away across Victoria Road. Time for my ritual of getting the autographs. I took the position I always did when the coach arrived, not too close so it'd seem I was pouncing on the players but not too far as I wanted to prevent a quick disperse of players going their separate ways as it'd become near impossible not only to anticipate which direction the players were headed but to get a core of players to sign. I was fairly satisfied with the quantity of players I had received autographs from, and we ventured into the clubhouse once again so I could properly read the edition of The Dagger. The first thing that struck me was the innovation of the front cover; the productivity was overwhelming. I then looked at the teamsheet on the backpage and realised something: There were three squads, not four. Only one Dagenham & Redbridge squad yet we were playing twice. So if Cureton scores once in each game, do I write a two or two ones to indicate there were two games played? I decided to use both a Sharpie pen and a ballpoint, on the daggers side I used the ballpoint pen for the Charlton game and then I would use a Sharpie for the Southend game. It would be hard as next to Daggers I would need to use two pens, a ballpoint and a sharpie. Then next to Charlton, however many they score would be written in ballpoint and the amount Southend score would be in sharpie. It was a conundrum I had encountered before. Then, something incredible happened: I got given a signed shirt! I was absolutely delighted! The excitement didn't stop there, though, as it was time for Burger & Chips. We went in and the beef aroma struck me like lightning. I immediately ate my burger and shared the chips; both exceeded my expectations. Maybe it was the prolonged time wait that made it more appealing and increased it's exceptional taste, either way it was lovely. I put my programme in my plastic wallet to prevent damage and maintain it's pristine condition. I looked at the time.19:24. It was almost time. Finally the teams spilled onto the pitch, Dagenham in last season's home kit and Charlton in their White away kit with a stylish diagonal red stripe. Immediately Charlton's swift attacks left us floundering, but eventually we found a way to cut out their pacey interchanges and quick breaks. It was enevitable that Charlton would take the lead, it was just a matter of when. Gudmunnsson latched onto a throughball and Partridge inadvertently converted his header past Cousins. The second half began soon after, and the rejuvenated Daggers gained the ascendancy and we produced some fluent passing of our own. But just when it seemed we were approaching a leveller, a thunderous free-kick left O'Brien with no chance. Tareiq Holmes-Dennis - who I recognised as a player formerly of Plymouth - stepped up and lashed it in. It was, in truth, a beautiful hit. This seemed to be the catalyst for our mini-onslaught though, as Cureton scrambled an effort almost in and Hemmings and Boucaud exchanged passes before the latter played it in to Curo but it was cut out. The full time whistle came. We were delighted to hear Dad would be picking us up. We exited the Traditional Builders Stand, reflecting on a decent runout with certainly some positives for sure. Saturday we play Southend at home, that should be a good spectacle of stress-free football on a nice summers afternoon. Come on you Daggers!
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.