the daggers voice
West Ham u23s v Newcastle United u23s
Monday 22nd August 2016; 19:00
Occasionally last season I would go to Rush Green to watch West Ham's talented Development Squad in a few of their cup and league fixtures. Infact, the thrilling 3-2 extra time victory over Liverpool must rank as one of my favourite games from last season which saw the Hammers progress to the final where they would face Hull City in two legs - the first of which, hosted at the Boleyn Stadium, I also went to (though regrettably missed the winning goal in the last minute). However, in the summer, the division underwent a name chance which extended its age range to u23s and West Ham took over Rush Green as a training complex. This left them without a home but a few days ago an agreement was struck between Dagenham & West Ham which would see the latter play their u23 games at Victoria Road.
Last season, my managers from Tigers - Ricky & Claire - would take me to most of the games, picking me up and taking me to Rush Green, which I was very thankful for. I enjoyed the games which I found very entertaining. However, when it was announced the venue for this season would be Victoria Road, the appeal grew stronger. Ricky & Claire again picked me up at around 6 and we went to my second home, where Ben met us. We then went into the ground and I admired the view - a view I am very used to. The match began and Newcastle started the stronger, with Adam Armstrong - who I pinpointed as their star man - causing problems up front. It was West Ham, though, who took the lead when Antonio Martinez dispatched a penalty. That seemed to inject them with fresh energy as they duly took control of the contest and, by half-time, were two up through Marcus Browne's fine, angled finish.
But there was another important event happening outside the ground, a meeting which would practically determine the future of our club amidst an impending takeover. Around 60-100 Daggers had turned up to protest and at half time I peered through the gate to see a mass gathering with posters saying 'Say no to Tamplin!' draped around the car park. In the second half, which saw a further goal for each side, you could hear chanting from the crowd outside the clubhouse. When the game ended, we went outside to see the fans arguing with chairman, Dave Bennett, which I took photos of. I then got some chips on the way home, thanked Ricky & Claire for taking me, and went home to reflect on a brilliant match which could be the start of a great association between the Daggers and the Hammers.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.