the daggers voice
Just a few weeks ago, this would've been seen as one of the biggest games of our season, however such is the devastation around the club recently that it has transformed into merely an afterthought. It could've been an opportunity to reignite our season and kick on into the playoffs, but now the only thing good about this fixture is that it is one game nearer to the end of the season. The team will need to pull together though because this is a tricky situation, and the last team you'd want to play now would be Aldershot.
This game has been rendered unimportant by the recent events around the club. Alarm bells began to ring when Joe White, a key part of our future, was sold in the dying minutes of Deadline Day, before Lokko was then recalled. A Club Statement then confirmed our worst fears, that the Daggers were in financial crisis following the withdrawal as a director by Glyn Hopkin. Since then, everything has happened so quickly and things just seem to be getting worse as Ferrier and Ling have been sold to fellow National League clubs, but disappointingly more departures are expected.
These absences will leave a huge gaping hole in our side. Scott Doe's departure, though allegedly for separate reasons, has already left us with a threadbare defence, with just two centre-backs in the team. It's gutting to lose Ling and Ferrier, though. Both were highly dedicated players who performed fantastically well in their time here, which was much too short. Rumour has it that Cheek will be next to leave and that would just compound our misery, leaving us with just a few decent players in the side.
At the current time, we still have Cheek, Whitely, Okenabirhie and Robson so it's not like we're relegation strugglers all of a sudden. Strangely, situations like these can galvanise a group and bring them closer together, so hopefully people can step up and seize their opportunity. This last few months of the campaign will be a struggle, so it's important that everybody is pulling in the same direction and getting behind the team because they absolutely need it right now.
It will be an important close/pre-season, that's for sure, and I don't think a group of supporters have ever wanted June to arrive as much as we do. It looks like we'll have to start again and reassemble a squad right from the bottom, which may not be the worst thing. Even without Hopkin's money, John Still managed to assemble a squad last season ironically better than the one we had this campaign. If anybody can lead a rebuild, it's John Still, so at least that's something to look forward to.
Before we can even contemplate that, though, we have 15 games of the season to negotiate. While it will be a struggle, this last few weeks has shown us how much we should appreciate the great football club we have, because it can be taken away in an instant, which kind of puts things into perspective. All of a sudden, this game isn't very important, whereas previously it would have been seen as a season-defining fixture for both clubs possibly.
Another incentive to do well is that this match is our first home game live on BT Sport all season. The cameras were present at both the Chester and Sutton away games, which ended in a 4-0 win and 2-1 defeat respectively. There's obviously the fear that we could be on the receiving end of a battering, but I genuinely think the team will put in a good performance. Dare I say, a 'Daggers' performance. The match starts at 5,30pm but as the club says don't use the fact that it's on television as an excuse not to support the team in the flesh.
This could well be the beginning of a new era for this football club. At least, after a traumatic few days, we can - for a couple of hours at least - forget about things and watch our team play. Who knows, we might even win. As supporters we need to do all we can to lend our support to the team, but disappointingly we'll be a lot less vocal given that the TBS has been allocated to away fans only.
Aldershot might be better than us; they are well recognised for their quality of passing and breaking teams down. Under Gary Waddock they have a fantastic manager who reminds me of John Still in many ways. However they surely won't want to go to Victoria Road when the Daggers are as desperate for a victory as ever.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.