the daggers voice
Following three straight losses, me and Nan headed to Victoria Road for the visit of Exeter hoping to see Dagenham earn three points which would hopefully kick-start what had been a poor start to the campaign so far.
On Saturday, I had witnessed an underwhelming first home game of the season against Leyton Orient, and was praying Wayne Burnett could rectify the defensive problems which had caused us to concede ten goals in our opening three games, meaning we sat second-bottom.
So for the first home game under the floodlights, me and Nan left very early and, by the time we arrived, there was hardly anybody there except for a few stewards and other earlybirds. I then purchased my programme before a long wait until the coach finally arrived.
This was one of the key games I highlighted upon the fixtures' release. Being the first home game, I knew it would attract a huge crowd and offer entertainment. What transpired on that day, 15th August 2015, was as far from my expectancies as possible however. I had travelled to Charlton in midweek which, as I can verify from my blog post regarding the game, was absolutely phenominal. Aside from my personal experience though I was quite worried. The manner in which we succumbed to defeat left me pondering for hours about whether it could be rectified in time for our first home game against local rivals Leyton Orient. So, it was time to find out. I would be accompanied my dad which meant arriving by car quite early. That would be a very wise move as when I arrived the place was rammed. Absolutely packed. Wheras at this point usually I would be one of around five people on the premises, today it was very different. That was still the case when I got the autographs. I took a vantage point behind the traffic and somehow received an adequate amount.
My first awayday of the new 2015/16 season saw me head to The Valley for a Capital One Cup first round encounter - a competition we had never won in. Fresh from a 3-0 mauling at Portsmouth three days earlier, the fans were unusually optimistic heading into a trip to a decent Championship team. After all, Portsmouth are under new management and are almost a certainty to go up this year, meaning the fixture almost had to be disregarded. So, onto Charlton in an attempt to rectify our torrid League Cup record; in which we had lost all matches in the competition so had never prevailed into the heady heights of Round 2. The closest we had come was a season before, where us and Brentford contested a bizarre 6-6 thriller which the Bees won on penalties. Close, but not close enough.
As the day - Tuesday 11th August 2015 - progressed, a Valley victory became more likely. I don't know whether it was my impaired love for the club and my delusional visions, but I felt like it was almost destiny. I initially wasn't going Charlton away so now I was I thought we were almost 'meant' to win, meant to find the elusive League Cup victory that had evaded our grasp for so long. It was over fifty days since I desperately checked my phone in the middle of Maths. June 16th, the day I had discovered the just-announced Charlton v Dagenham fixture. Another reason Dagenham & Redbridge was a distinct possibility, was that the Addicks had travelled to us in pre-season. Although we were beaten 2-0, we acquitted ourselves well and more than matched our higher opponents.
As daggers were donning their new training kit and rehearsing for their final pre-season encounter against Crystal Palace, I was also undergoing my own 'pre-match preparation' as such - enjoying a lovely meal in the neighbouring Pipe Major. Sacrificing my usual match food that is a burger I decided to order that exactly so I wouldn't be at a loss. After a lovely family meal I turned on 'Daggers mode' in my head and me and my companion Mum departed. Time slowly passed and eventually it was time to venture into Victoria Road for the last time before the big kick off. After selecting my programme from the large pile, I met Ben which culminated in a long conversation about the daggers. Thankfully passing the time until the large coach approached.
Despite a fun-fuelled holiday in Great Yarmouth which culminated in non-stop excitement and neverending ecstasy, I was still delighted to be back at the daggers; the season was nearing and pre-season was concluding. However I wasn't at my prodigal home for a match, this was for the annual Open Day 2015. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it would result in one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Initially we were just intending to make an appearance later on for the photo but, as they do, plans changed and we got there just after opening time. Little did I know, that would be a great decision. First stop was the club shop to purchase my new home shirt and collect my season ticket, whilst Mum took Zac to the TBS stand. Finally I had my chance to caress the new home shirt, it looked very nice and sophisticated. As I anxiously waited for the queue to reduce, my eyes scanned the 2015 calendars for inevitable errors.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.