the daggers voice
Transfer Deadline Day often turns out to be one of the most disappointing days in the football calendar. Much is expected and the prospect of eye-opening signings joining for ridiculous fees is one which not only captivates a football fan, but often leaves them glued to their TV in anticipation of something which ultimately very rarely happens. Yet despite the fact that it underwhelms year after year, Transfer Deadline Day remains as entertaining as it is unpredictable.
Yet, amongst the hype of Aubameyang to Arsenal, Giroud to Chelsea, Moura to Spurs and alike, there was a lesser-covered deal which is one of the strangest. Just minutes before the 11pm deadline, it was announced that Joe White had left the Daggers to join League 2 outfit Stevenage. It was the only deal in an uneventful Deadline Day for Daggers which centred more around Glyn Hopkin's potential exit than any incomings or outgoings.
When, at the eleventh hour, a notification saying 'Transfer' in big bold letters came up on my Twitter, I feared the worst. There had been apparent interest for a number of our players across the entire window, with Hartlepool manager Craig Harrison saying that he knows for a fact a couple of Championship clubs were looking at 'two or three' of our players.
Therefore, it seemed inevitable that one of our big players would be making an exit. Apparent interest for Okenabirhie and Ferrier aside, it seemed as if Corey Whitely was poised to leave the club amidst interest from Gillingham, Bristol Rovers and potentially Peterborough (unconfirmed). Even one of his teammates admitted personally that he expected Whitely to leave.
Therefore, to keep Whitely was pleasing, although he's been largely ineffective for months now as his four-month goal drought drags on. However, if we can get him playing to those standards again, it could be key to reigniting our season. Whitely is a confidence player, just one goal could get him firing on all cylinders again, which we desperately need.
You have to wonder if this was the bid John Still mentioned in his Solihull Moors post-match interview, where he wouldn't reveal any details. It's good that Dagenham are showing a bit of ambition and rejecting offers to show that we're no pushovers. Any bid has to be right and, although by our own admission we supposedly don't stand in a player's way, that doesn't mean we'll be weak to the demands of players.
However, this argument of us showing ambition was quickly dispelled by the Joe White transfer. The fee was rumoured to be either 3k or 15k. It is understandable that Stevenage would only be willing to pay a small fee for a risky, unproven player, but for us to sell a potential future star is really disappointing. When he signed a new three year contract only in August, we thought it was the future. After the setback of our academy closing, players such as himself and Tyrique Hyde would hopefully have been the fresh blood of Dagenham.
But obviously not. Joe White leaves with a rather incredible record: 1 start, 1 goal. His goal came against Gateshead in September and shows that what he currently lacks in strength and experience, he makes up with good positional sense and an eye for goal, which he backed up in his recent loan spell at Hendon. It's not like he would be the next Dwight Gayle in a long line of players whose rise we've contributed to, but he certainly has the potential to have a very good career, so it feels like we've been a little bit robbed.
When he made his only start, against Gateshead, it was because he'd earned it. He had the determination and desire which this club prides itself on. That 'Daggers' mentality that can't really be taught, you either have the passion or you don't. It will probably be a while before he's ready to make appearances for Stevenage but, playing alongside a better calibre of players, he'll learn well.
And so all that's left to do is wish him well for the future. The huge potential we've lost is Stevenage's gain, and I really hope he does well for them. Hopefully for us it won't prove to be a case of 'look at what you could've had'.
The Daggers head to Halifax Town on Saturday in their latest Vanarama National League fixture.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.