the daggers voice
A new season and even perhaps a new era dawns this weekend as Dagenham & Redbridge kick-off their second season back in the National League with Barrow the visitors to Victoria Road.
Weeks of boredom and pre-season preparations have all been building up to this day; a day which can often set the tone for the next nine months ahead.
Football is finally back; the rollercoaster embarks on a journey which will feature excitement, nervousness and fear, with rapid twists and turns, all in good measure.
Here we go!
Last season, following relegation, Daggers' credentials were relatively unknown. An entirely new squad was a risk even for seasoned manager John Still but, thankfully, the rebuild couldn't have gone better. The fact that fellow relegated outfit York City suffered a second consecutive relegation illustrates how an entirely new squad can completely fail and, while the Football League is now a distant memory for the sorry Minstermen, it remains the prime goal for the Daggers.
Nobody could have anticipated the success which Daggers would enjoy last season. A resounding 3-0 success over Southport laid the foundations for a campaign which saw them top the table for short spells, but ultimately be plagued by a combination of inconsistency (the Southport game was followed by a heavy loss to Chester) and huge spells of injuries. But, whereas the pressure was completely off, now it will be on as Dagenham are firm title candidates.
Similarly, Barrow captured the attention of the entire division. Although they were tipped for a difficult season, the Bluebirds surprised everybody with a remarkable record unbeaten run which propelled them towards the play-off places, where they would remain until the very end of the season. They also claimed notable scalps, doing the double over Dagenham and Lincoln.
Positive campaigns would've raised the expectations of both sets of supporters, so an underwhelming opening display will certainly not be expected from either........
As mentioned, Barrow managed to overcome John Still's side twice, and were one of only three teams to do so. They won at Victoria Road in November, before gaining a victory in the return clash at Holker Street five months later.
On the 26th November, the first meeting took place with Dagenham having won their last two games without conceding, although they had been battered in their last home outing, 5-0 by Gateshead a fortnight prior. This, unfortunately, would be another heavy defeat. Barrow won by a flattering 4-1 scoreline, despite a rapid start by the home side. It was very harsh on them, with the only consolation being an acrobatic Whitely strike from close-range.
Dagenham then pitched up in Barrow on March 19th but went crashing to another defeat despite going ahead, again through Whitely. So, with both managers knowing eachother's style, John Still will be searching for revenge, and Barrow will be aware of this.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.