the daggers voice
It was during half-time of last year's season opener against Southport that the name Corey Whitely was first introduced to the supporters and since that day the unknown winger, plucked from the very obscurities of non-league, blossomed into one of the most exciting Daggers players of recent times.
Another addition to a long list of faces to have made immense progress since rising from a lower level, Whitely epitomised John Still's ability to not only unearth a fantastic talent but also to nurture him into a future star who at times looked far too good for the National League.
Though his form since early this season has been poor, that doesn't lessen the contribution he made for the club nor does it discredit his overall ability. While his showings in recent times have created the impression that he will not be missed as much as people thought, his ability to change a game with a moment of genius is one which I don't think can be reproduced by any other player within the squad.
Unfortunately the current situation made this move likely and he's one of the players that as fans we were resigned to losing. He becomes the sixth Dagger to leave in recent weeks following the departures of White, Lokko, Ferrier, Ling & Doe and while we can at least cherish over a year's worth of memories it's a shame that we couldn't enjoy more of what Corey had to offer.
Like Ferrier, it is a testament to Whitely that he managed to endear himself to the fans in what was a relatively short amount of time. It usually takes a while to truly appreciate a player yet the fans took to Whitely straight away. It's just unfortunate that things ended on disappointing terms with a goal drought stretching back to September, just as it seemed he was returning to old form.
Corey has now made the switch to Ebbsfleet, once again a sideways step in his career but a practical one that probably made sense to him. A good club with ambitions and a decent squad will provide him with a good platform to recapture his form of August and last season, however it is disappointing that he has missed out on a Football League move which he did deserve. Of course he also emulated Ferrier by netting on his debut, which does rub salt into the wounds somewhat.
Whitely will ultimately be remembered as an exciting player who had you on the edge of your seat for the most part. We were lucky to find him and he repaid our faith with last year's incredible displays. However, there is always another player just as good languishing in non-league, waiting to be discovered, and with John Still at the helm there is hope that we can continue to unearth these sorts of footballers.
So it's farewell to Corey Whitely, who departs Victoria Road with a record of one goal every three games. While there were undisputedly some bad points of his time here - that red card against Guiseley and the penalty miss at Chester to name just a couple - there were some amazing moments and fantastic goals. He was Dagger of the Year by an absolute landslide, and hopefully has as much love for the club as it does for him.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.