THE dAGGERS vOICE
The disappointment of only collecting a solitary point from the opening three games of the Vanarama National League season was offset by some good performances as a combination of bad luck and wastefulness denied the Daggers a position in the table to accurately match their displays. However, in the aftermath of their first positive result of the season, they head to Aldershot Town looking to register their first victory of the campaign, but will not underestimate the magnitude of the challenge.
Despite currently languishing at the very bottom of the division, Aldershot's league standing is not necessarily reflective of their true capabilities. In a period of transition which has seen many of their players depart over the summer, they are taking a while to find their feet and, much like Dagenham, have struggled for goals. Despite being free-scoring last season, the Shots are yet to find the net this campaign but a win tonight could kick-start another sustained push for promotion, they will be hoping.
The reality is that it's unlikely for them to emulate their consecutive play-off finishes, but even then to be 24th at this stage is harsh on them considering that they've had one of the toughest starts at this level. However, hearing their supporters on social media, their side looks almost unrecognisable from last season and have been bitterly disappointing so far. Just like us, they'll be seeing tonight's game as an opportunity to change their fortunes.
It will be a difficult experience for our young Daggers side at the EBB Stadium, which is always a hard place to go. very rarely do Aldershot lose at home, let alone get outclassed. With two teams who've struggled to create many chances so far, a scrappy and even encounter is expected in Surrey but hopefully we can edge it. One thing which hopefully tips the odds in our favour is the two recent signings we've recently made, Tomi Adeloye and Alexander McQueen.
Both changed the game on Saturday against Maidenhead. Adeloye used his strength to give us an attacking edge while McQueen ran with the ball really well. Against a Shots defence without the departed trio of Will Evans, Callum Reynolds and Cheye Alexander, they will cause problems. That's not even factoring in the blistering pace of Chike Kandi and Lamar Reynolds. People talk about us being weak, but our side really isn't that bad.
Peter Taylor will face a dilemma whether to start Adeloye, McQueen or both for the game, especially after an underwhelming first-half performance from Reynolds at the weekend. Therefore it's quite conceivable that the Daggers will start with the following XI: Justham, Gordon, Davey, Wright, Hoyte, McQueen, Robinson, Donovan, Kandi, Romain, Adeloye
It will be a hard game but the team will have confidence after earning their first point on Saturday. With the backing of the supporters, hopefully we can bag a deserved three points and continue to impress, as we have continued to do over the last few games. COYD
So, Peter, we’re still in the ‘getting to know you’ phase of what is hopefully going to be a long managerial reign. Would you say you have a trademark style of football and formation which you are looking to implement upon the Daggers?
Well, to be fair, I’m getting on a touch as people would know so I’ve been used to playing lots of different systems. When I first started playing it was a 4-4-2 but even in ‘76 as a player, I was playing a 5-3-2 under Malcolm Allison at Crystal Palace. With England I’ve played a 5-3-2 and with teams I’ve managed, I’ve played a 4-4-2 at the levels of League One and Two but I’ve also played a 4-3-3 at Championship and at times in the Premiership. I’m used to most systems so can see the values and negatives of all the systems so really I always put it down to the players I have in the building. Nine times out of ten, if it means we’ve got the right players for the systems, then that’s what I’ll go with.
Obviously there’s no transfer window in the National League which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it, but are you happy with the calibre of squad you have at this stage?
I think everybody at Dagenham this year knows that it’s going to be a very different type of season. It’s going to be a bit of a slog because we haven’t got the financial backing that we would’ve liked which then means you haven’t got the players that you want. You then have to go out looking for bargains and favours from league clubs who might let you have some of their young players on loan. Even on Monday I’m hoping that we’re going to bring in one more player which means we’d have a squad of 22 and I’m very happy with that. A month ago I’d never have even dreamt of getting to that but thankfully through luck I suppose and favours that clubs have given to us - we’ve been trialling a lot of people and many youngsters have come here on low wages which has helped us - we’ve been able to get the players in.
In the last few days you’ve made two more additions including the signing of Alexander McQueen. Can I ask why he’s only on a six-month contract rather than the typical one-year deals we’ve been offering?
Again I think it’s because we couldn’t offer the terms he was looking for. I actually then said, ‘could you not come to see how it goes for us over a short period?’ and so I think it’s better to have him for six months than not at all. If we hadn’t have gone down that route, I think we would have lost him.
And Another signing: Tomi Adeloye. What can you tell us about him?
He’s a very strongly-built striker who’s been training at Wycombe all pre-season. Wycombe very nearly gave him a contract and I’ve taken advantage of that. Wycombe were very helpful to me and told us about him. He’s then been training with us for three days and I decided to give him a contract. He’s got a lot of promise, as all of our players have being young and desperate for a chance. He’s another one desperate for a chance; he’ll be substitute today but hopefully gets on and shows us what he can do.
So is he the right sort of striker as you described, who can not only score goals but bring other players into the game?
That’s exactly what I’m hoping - he’s that type. The other striker I’m hoping we’ll bring in on Monday will again be a young player and is more like a number 9 comfortable with his back to goal. With Tomi, he’s okay with his back to goal but is happy to run in behind as well so has exciting talent.
Two games into the National League season and, unfortunately for us, two defeats. However, that doesn’t really tell the full story does it? We’ve been impressive.
I’ve been quite pleased with the way we’ve played, not the entire 90 minutes but there’s been good and bad spells in each game. I think we should have more than no points, there’s no doubt about that because we should’ve had a point at Boreham Wood and three points at home to Maidstone. When you’re playing at a good standard and get things wrong, you’re doing to get punished. We defended poorly on two occasions against Maidstone, and for a corner that wasn’t cleared at Boreham Wood but then didn’t take our chances. That’s what a good level does though and if you were playing at normal Sunday League level you’d get away with it, but you can’t in the National League.
It may be too early to refer to this is a relegation six-pointer already but as two of the three teams on zero points clash at Victoria Road, there's no disputing that a win for either side could be absolutely huge, even at this stage of the season. For the Daggers, it's been a case of what could've been so far with two solid performances failing to yield the deserved points, so there's the sense that a victory today, regardless of how they perform against the Magpies, would be a reward for the courage that the players have displayed.
Similarly to Dagenham, Maidenhead's early season problems can be attributed to them losing so many key players over the summer. Just as the Daggers were forced to bid farewell to countless key faces such as Okenabirhie, Cheek and Boucs, Maidenhead were victims of their own brilliant first National League campaign. Having already lost Tarpey to Barnet throughout the season, they lost Barratt and Pritchard to Southend United and Blackpool respectively.
Owing to no transfer window at this level, their preparations for the trip to the Daggers were rocked by another departure as 21 year-old defender Max Kilman made a dream move to Premier League Wolves just yesterday. However, despite suffering defeats to Gateshead and Solihull so far, Alan Devonshire gets his team organised and will be targeting his first points of the season against a Daggers outfit who he knows are in a similar position.
As mentioned, we really should be on four points by now and one of our biggest problems has been the lack of centre-forward. It's obvious that we're creating chances and have lots of pace but a great striker with the ability to lay the ball off to supporting players with his strength really could be the missing link to change our fortunes, as Peter Taylor said at the forum on Thursday. Even though we didn't expect to sign somebody before this game, yesterday we finally did and it could be massive for us.
So it's a big welcome to Tomi Adeloye, who's a powerful 23 year-old striker who's enjoyed previous stints at Chelmsford, St Albans and Hartlepool United having been developed at Charlton, Millwall and Stoke as a youngster. Not only will Tomi hopefully be the answer to our problems, but his mould of player could well bring the best out of Elliott Romain. Therefore, today or in the future, we may well see a change in formation to accommodate our current flat back four, our pacy wingers and now the two forwards.
Tomi follows fellow recent signing Alex McQueen into the building, and in Peter Taylor's own words McQueen is a very athletic and versatile player who will be good for us. However, having signed from Finland, McQueen is currently awaiting international clearance and sadly this means he is unavailable for today's game, although he should be ready to start at Aldershot Town on Tuesday for our second away game of the season under the EBB Stadium floodlights.
So what does that mean for today's lineup? Well, Elliott Justham will all but certainly retain his place in the side and his made a good start to the season, especially considering his lengthly spell out injured, although possibly could've done better with Maidstone's first goal in midweek. It's likely to be a similar story in defence as we'll stick with Gordon, Davey, Wright and Hoyte. Those four have impressed so far and will keep their places with no other real options as Goodliffe, Pennell and Nunn remain out.
Taylor did confirm that Pennell may be fit enough to make the bench but not to start just yet. I imagine we won't want to disrupt the rhythm by tinkering too much so Taylor might keep the same midfield; Kandi and Reynolds out wide with Robinson and Donovan either side of them. This means Adeloye and Romain may make their first starts as a duo which could really define the trajectory of our season.
So two games in and it's not time to worry yet, but a defeat today would potentially be damaging. However, if we perform even half as well as we did against Maidstone, I'm adamant we'll get the points that we deserve. Here's to another dominant display but this time coming alongside a three points. The team don't deserve to drop their heads as Taylor said, so imagine how much a win today would mean to all of us. Let's back the boys for the full 90 minutes and hopefully play our parts in how things turn out.
Come on you Daggers. You've restored immense pride in this team and there's a big sense of hope around the place. Let's get that first win on the board, because we desperately deserve it.
I was pleased yet surprised when you took the role as manager given our financial situation, can you explain why you Did?
PT: I probably surprised myself to be honest! I was at home and the only calls I was getting were from clubs asking if I'd go some scouting for them, which weren't the types of positions that I would really like to do. I've done a lot of work for Wolves and Portsmouth in scouting throughout the last few years so I don't mind it, but not as much as I enjoy managing or coaching. When I knew John was going to Barnet, I asked myself whether I'd fancy it and in the end I had an invitation to come and talk to the board. I knew then what a difficult job it would be; it will be very different and I was probably expecting to be at a higher level. I'm not one to say to myself ''am I this?'' or ''am I that?'' - I just want to be on a football field working with players. I knew about the challenge and the difficult areas, but came away from that meeting feeling that I really fancied it, even if I had to call upon young players or favours from people I've known over the years. The journey from here was a lot more pleasing than the one to here and I was left thinking that if I got the job, it'd be brilliant but if I didn't, I'd move on. Every second since, I've felt up for the challenge.
I've done a lot of work for Portsmouth and Wolves in scouting throughout the last few years so I don't mind it, but not as much as I enjoy managing or coaching. When I heard John was going to Barnet, I asked myself whether I'd fancy it and in the end had an invitation to come and talk to the board.
IN TERMS OF INVESTors, are we still talking to people and are you confident that somebody will eventually come in?
ST: I'm always confident. Since January or February, we've spoken to around nine or ten what I would class as realistic people or consortia. A couple of those we got pretty far with but couldn't quite get it over the line for one reason or another, and we're talking to two lots of people at the moment, so I'm hopeful. We had a guy living in Spain who we were very confident about, but we're doing all we can. As they say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince and that's what's happening at the moment, but there are two parties who are very interested.
Since January or February, we've spoken to around nine or ten what I would class as realistic people or consortia. A couple of those we got pretty far with but couldn't quite get it over the line, for one reason or another.
you can see the work we've been doing on the training ground, with good passing and approach play, but there's no striker.
PT: You're absolutely spot on but what I have to say is that to lose Michael Cheek two days before the start of the season was nightmare timing, not just for us but also for Ebbsfleet because if you're going to spend money on a new player you'd have thought they'd want him to have a bit more time with his new team-mates. To do that two days before the first game, I suppose they can afford to have that sort of player on the bench whereas we can't. As soon as I know there's something going on, I always asked the player and so I asked Michael what he wanted to do. As soon as he told me that he wanted to go, I said to Steve that we needed to get as much money as we can for the football club because Michael Cheek wants to go. He's a good guy and wanted this challenge, so I wish him good luck and hope he does brilliantly, apart from when he plays us. I don't blame him, and it just means that I have two days to get a player which is impossible, and what I don't want to do is spend the money too quickly because the money will be gone, so I want to make sure we get the right one. I can assure you that me, Terry and everybody else behind the scenes are non-stop off that phone; we've got players trialling with us now. They've got a real chance but we're not going to just throw the money away, even if it means waiting four more games. Just to speak about the team very quickly, we should've had four points by now, a draw at Boreham Wood and a win the other night on the strength of our first-half performance. We haven't though, we've got no points but we as the staff have to make sure that we don't drop our heads. We're not the best team in the division but we're not that far away either. I promise you we will be trying to get a centre forward whose good with his back to goal, not another one like Elliott Romain or Chike Kandi, I'm looking for one that links up play. Even Michael Cheek wasn't good with his back to goal, but he knew where the goal was. A good striker would create chances for the whole team.
I don't blame him, and it just means that I have two days to get a player which is impossible, and what I don't want to do is spend the money too quickly because the money will be gone, so I want to make sure we get the right one. I can assure you that me, Terry and everybody else behind the scenes are non-stop off that phone; we've got players trialling with us now. They've got a real chance but we're not going to just throw the money away, even if it means waiting four more games.
IN THE AFTERNOON, DAGGERS HAD ANNOUNCED THE SIGNING of 23 year-old defender Alexander McQueen on a six-month contract.
PT: We've signed Alex McQueen - he used to be a young player at Tottenham Hotspur. He was eventually released by Spurs before joining Carlisle and playing for about 30 matches. Then he signed for a team in Finland and that's where we got him from, which is what made it a little bit complicated because we have to now get international clearance. He's a hell of a player who can play right-back, right wing-back or holding midfield and he played against Hemel Hempstead in pre-season. I think you will all like the way he plays football because he's a very athletic full-back, and a very good player.
He's a hell of a player who can play right-back, right wing-back or holding midfield and he played against Hemel Hempstead in pre-season. I think you will all like the way he plays football because he's a very athletic full-back, and a very good player.
If we fail to get sponsorship, presumably we'll be saving every penny, so will our players be moving on next season?
ST: Recently we've had supporters doing painting and things around the ground, so we'll be doing things differently to how they've been done before. In regard to the first question, I am pretty confident that we will get some sort of investment, but I don't know the extent. In terms of the budgets I done two months ago, we're not achieving the revenue we were hoping to. The support for donations was fantastic but it hasn't raised enough money so that's put a hole in our budget. PT: What makes this a different type of job but also an enjoyable one is that when I spoke to players, many weren't that interested in the money. A couple of months ago, I didn't expect us to have the squad that we've got now, and we're still trying to get one more centre-forward in at this stage. The players want to play 30/40 matches and improve as a footballer, gaining experience in the National League. They want to be a better player in twelve months' time. Last year, at one time, we had 32 players here but this year we'll have around 18 or 19. If you're one of those 19, you're going to be involved. I get fed up when I see young players who've played no games, and I don't mean u23 or reserve football. Our players are up for the challenge and hopefully enjoy it so much that they want another year. ST: I think Taylor's being modest there because so many young players came here for the opportunity to be tutored by him. He's been a breath of fresh air since being here and everybody loves working with him.
Last year, at one time, we had 32 players here but this year we'll have around 18 or 19. If you're one of those 19, you're going to be involved. I get fed up when I see young players who've played no games, and I don't mean u23 or reserve football. Our players are up for the challenge and hopefully enjoy it so much that they want another year.
After managing two games in the national league, what are your thoughts on the standard of refereeing?
PT: I thought the referee at Boreham Wood was okay. Terry and I had said to the players that at the start of the season, the referees would be red hot on anything, and you cannot lunge forward anymore. So, when Ben made that lunge, we knew he was in trouble which is a shame because I really like Ben Goodliffe and he'll be a great centre-half. The referee was okay, and though at the time I thought it was a little bit harsh, the more I think about it, the more I believe it was the right decision. The referee the other night really disappointed me. He never booked their player after already being booked, then right at the end booked our player for less of a foul! That drives me mad because that's where they've got to be consistent. I hope the assessors really hit him on that one and he'll realise he was wrong with that one. I have to say though, you will all be so important for us. The players are inexperienced and will make mistakes. From the touchline, I can tell when you're really pleased about something. We're going to need that - the players need the encouragement. But the opposition and the referee, you can kill them.
Terry and I had said to the players that at the start of the season, the referees would be red hot on anything, and you cannot lunge forward anymore. So, when Ben made that lunge, we knew he was in trouble which is a shame because I really like Ben Goodliffe and he'll be a great centre-half. The referee was okay, and though at the time I thought it was a little bit harsh, the more I think about it, the more I believe it was the right decision.
In reSponse to comments from Glenn Tamplin in which he stated he has information that can 'bury the club' - what can we do?
PG: Glenn Tamplin is...Glenn Tamplin, and I have to say he does say some wild things. Of course I could start issuing a writ for libel and could go further but that would cost thousands and would take months if not years. It is unpleasant, it's quite unnecessary, it's untrue but he does say some very strange things. You read what he says throughout non-league or on Twitter, or what he says to his players. He's a bit of a loose cannon although he has delivered on what he'd say he'd do at Billericay, as odd as he may be. I would like him to shut up, but he won't.
It is unpleasant, it's quite unnecessary, it's untrue but he does say some very strange things. You read what he says throughout non-league or on Twitter, or what he says to his players. He's a bit of a loose cannon although he has delivered on what he'd say he'd do at Billericay, as odd as he may be. I would like him to shut up, but he won't.
The youngsters have acquitted themselves brilliantly so far, but will a lack of experience impact us?
PT: I'd love to have some more experienced ones in, but can assure you that when you have a youngster and an experienced player sitting at the other side of the desk, the experienced ones are dearer. I like Will Wright and Ben Goodliffe because even though they're young and inexperienced, they're good talkers and are learning every day. I don't think that at the moment, in our situation, we can afford experience. I'd rather have a couple of youngsters on a certain wage than one player on more, because we need numbers as well. Before we signed Will Wright and Ben Goodliffe, I think we had six defenders of which three were injured. Alex Davey wasn't going to start and neither were Luke Pennell or Ben Nunn. That's where you need the bodies, but we couldn't get the experienced ones because they're a bit dearer.
I like Will Wright and Ben Goodliffe because even though they're young and inexperienced, they're good talkers and are learning every day. I don't think that at the moment, in our situation, we can afford experience. I'd rather have a couple of youngsters on a certain wage than one player on more, because we need numbers as well.
Towards the end of the season we went from not wanting donations to then asking for them, so how is it currently?
ST: The target that we set for the donations has not been reached - we're far short of that. We're also down on season tickets, not massively but we're still down. We now have to look at raising money in other ways such as quiz nights and events. We will have to do lots more to try to make that money up. We were fortunate that West & Coe agreed to roll over their sponsorship as the only one we had was Blackmore, who had a minimum of three years anyway. You may have noticed at Boreham Wood that we have new sleeve sponsors in Coventry University, which is a new thing in this league after it was introduced in the Premier League. We've agreed a package with Coventry University which also includes two advertising boards going up tomorrow (Friday 10th August). There's a lot of people employed by us to volunteer their efforts free of charge meaning we've cut down in that way. I've said it's going to be tough and we could've done with a few more in donations.
The target that we set for the donations has not been reached - we're far short of that. We're also down on season tickets, not massively but we're still down. We now have to look at raising money in other ways such as quiz nights and events. We will have to do lots more to try to make that money up.
Why aren't the fans allowed to know what we received in transfer fees, most of which are undisclosed?
ST: I can't tell you what Ebbsfleet paid (for Cheek) because on their initial offer to us, which we increased by treble their first offer, was subject to being confidential. Boreham Wood done the same thing, but have subsequently gone back on that. That was the condition of the sale. Most transfers, be it League 1, League 2 or National League - and I see it so often on Sky Sports - are undisclosed fees. It's not unusual at this level. It's frustrating but that's the world we live in. PG: Often the buying club don't want people to know what they've paid because if it was a high bid, the next club whose player is subject to a bid from them will not let them go for 10k or 50k say, because they know how much that club usually pays. They want to keep it so they don't let people know what they're paying.
I can't tell you what Ebbsfleet paid (for Cheek) because on their initial offer to us, which we increased by treble their first offer, was subject to being confidential. Boreham Wood done the same thing, but have subsequently gone back on that. That was the condition of the sale.
BARnet recently announced their programmes would be online and no longer physical, is this something that we could do?
ST: There was a National League meeting in the summer which featured a presentation on that, and a couple of clubs were looking at it. Boreham Wood apparently will email their programme out after the game, but will print it to be sold on matchdays. At the moment, we make a profit on our programmes and there's a lot of advertising. It's a small profit but still profit nonetheless. I read about what Barnet have done and their argument will be that they're still making the advertising money because it's being sent out rather than being printed and sold. We will continue what we're doing because it does make a profit.
There was a National League meeting in the summer which featured a presentation on that, and a couple of clubs were looking at it. At the moment, we make a profit on our programmes and there's a lot of advertising. It's a small profit but still profit nonetheless.
On Tuesday, Maidstone fans were allocated part of the sieve. Why was this and will it be a recurring theme this season?
ST: There's a National League regulation that you must supply terracing for away supporters; if you don't then you've got to give them seating at the terrace price. I've mentioned at previous forums ever since we built the A13 Steel Stand, that half of our income is from away supporters paying more money. Of our home support, the majority are season ticket holders who already pay a discount on that. The majority of away fans coming here are adults, mainly adult man, who will pay top dollar. The way that the ground is configurated means we can't change the way we run it every game depending on the size of away support. We still want as many of the away fans to sit in the stand because it means more money yet now are forced to offer terracing. It's been mentioned about potentially putting them at the Bury Road end but the problem with that is the access to it and it would mean the Bury Road gates would have to be used for home supporters. When we get Barnet or Orient down here, both who will bring 600+, 200 will be on terrace but that still means 400 paying £21 in the seats. If we were starting from scratch, we wouldn't have built the ground the way it is. As we've gone up the leagues, we've had to fit requirements and it's not ideal. It's a new thing which we'll be doing going forward, and throughout this season.
There's a National League regulation that you must supply terracing for away supporters; if you don't then you've got to give them seating at the terrace price. I've mentioned at previous forums ever since we built the A13 Steel Stand, that half of our income is from away supporters paying more money.
In regard to the company marketing the club domestically and overseas, how much has been spent on it, and what has come of it?
ST: In response to the first question, nothing. We spent some money on a company before Christmas to produce some promotional material for us, which they did. They had the expertise to market this type of business. The company before Christmas cost £2500, but put us in a better position to find a buyer.
In response to the first question, nothing. We spent some money on a company before Christmas to produce some promotional material for us, which they did. They had the expertise to market this type of business. The company before Christmas cost 2500, but put us in a better position to find a buyer.
Why was there not a contract between Dagenham and glyn Hopkin to see through his commitment to the end of the season?
PG: There wasn't a contract. It was a handshake. ST: What we had was somebody who took a majority shareholding in the club. He paid the million pounds for his share, so that was the agreement. He honoured that agreement and then became the major shareholder. He agreed for players to be signed and funded it above the million pounds that he put into the club. That's not unusual and you'll find that many clubs at our level and above, where the owner funds above his commitment. What happens is, if the owner decided he no longer wants to spend money, that's when we had the problems. You don't expect somebody who's paid a million pounds for a product to then just pull out in the way that he did. He fulfilled his contractual obligation and became the person who made the decisions. He decided to fund above this before leaving.
What we had was somebody who took a majority shareholding in the club. He paid the million pounds for his share, so that was the agreement. He honoured that agreement and then became the major shareholder. He agreed for players to be signed and funded it above the million pounds that he put into the club.
with us being expected to languish around the bottom half, how do we expect to find a necessary investor?
ST: It's the potential. We have a Football League rated ground. People talk about Billericay, they've spent around 2 million pounds and still don't have a Football League rated ground. Somebody interested in football, and interested in developing the club, have the tools to work with. The reason we've spoken to so many people is that they see the potential in the club. They see that we've got the ground, they see we've got the required floodlights and seating. CCTV cameras...all of those things. Don't forget the A13 Stand cost 1.4 million, which was needed to fulfil the amount of seats. When we went into the FL, I had to sign an agreement saying that within three years we'd have to have 2000 covered seats. We future-proofed our ground, and whoever comes here will have that in place.
It's the potential. We have a Football League rated ground. People talk about Billericay, they've spent around 2 million pounds and still don't have a Football League rated ground. Somebody interested in football, and interested in developing the club, have the tools to work with. The reason we've spoken to so many people is that they see the potential in the club.
DO the departed players have sell-on clauses in their contract which can potentially bolster us financially in the future?
ST: The ones we've recently lost all have clauses in their contract ranging from 15 to 20 per cent. We all now know what Boreham Wood paid for Morgan Ferrier, which was 18,000 plus an extra 5k if they made the play-offs. This would also include an extra 10k if they were to get promoted. We got 23k, which we can tell you now Boreham Wood have released it. If Boreham Wood then get a sell-on, we would get 20% of that sell-on. We've got a sell-on for a number of players but last time we allowed Forest Green to buy out the sell-on for Christian Doidge and likewise Coventry with Jodi Jones. It was better to do that to pay wages because if the club goes under we don't get anything. We had a 20% on Dwight Gayle which we profited on when he went to Newcastle.
The ones we've recently lost all have clauses in their contract ranging from 15 to 20 per cent. We all now know what Boreham Wood paid for Morgan Ferrier, which was 18,000 plus an extra 5k if they made the play-offs. This would also include an extra 10k if they were to get promoted. We got 23k, which we can tell you now Boreham Wood have released it.
it's early days and we have a developing squad, but Do you know what your strongest starting xi is?
PT: Probably not 100%, but I do know the shape that we want to play. We feel sometimes a back three would be better than a back four because of the centre-halves we have. If you have three strong centre-halves, like we do, it's something worth doing if you want to compete in the National League. One slight problem we've got is that we have three outstanding players attacking and that's why I want to play a front three. When Chike Kandi gets it right he's brilliant, Elliott Romain works hard and is a pest who nobody wants to play against, plus Reynolds - when he gets it right - will one day be an outstanding winger. I can't leave one of them out at the moment so I've had to sacrifice that a bit, but once everybody's fit I can see us playing a 5-3-2 with the two strikers. Wing-backs will get forward for us. Not many teams start off with the system that they're going to finish with.
When Chike Kandi gets it right he's brilliant, Elliott Romain works hard and is a pest who nobody wants to play against, plus Reynolds - when he gets it right - will one day be an outstanding winger. I can't leave one of them out at the moment so I've had to sacrifice that a bit, but once everybody's fit I can see us playing a 5-3-2 with the two strikers.
Throughout the season there have been different strategies when both attacking and defending corners.
PT: Unfortunately I've been a very unpopular manager at times because I've not left anybody up because, the first thing you do when defending a corner, is make sure they don't stick it in your goal. If this then means that they've got bodies over on the edge of the box, that's a dangerous situation. If you look at the Premier League, the majority of teams never leave anybody up front and the advantage of this is that if you leave one up, teams leave two against them but when you leave nobody up they will only leave one. If you've got Lamar Reynolds on the left side of your penalty area and Chike Kandi on the right, and Justham gets the ball to either of them, that's dangerous. People think it's negative but I've had a team score a goal from a corner we've defended with nobody left up front in my career. You can't give teams space to make movement in the box, so we need as many bodies as possible.
Unfortunately I've been a very unpopular manager at times because I've not left anybody up because, the first thing you do when defending a corner, is make sure they don't stick it in your goal.
After two games in the Vanarama National League campaign, Daggers are one of three teams to have no points and sit in a measly 22nd. However, despite suffering two straight defeats, our league position is something of a false one and doesn't tell the story of the decent start we've made to the campaign. With a new striker, and a bit of luck falling our way, the Daggers will have the capabilities to comfortably avoid relegation.
At this early stage, the signs are looking good and in two matches, we've looked good and indeed much sharper than I expected. Considering the absences of Nunny and Pennell, two of our most experienced players, the boys have started the season impressively and will look to thrive on the support from the fans. Of course, the situation we're in isn't an excuse to accept defeat every week, but so far we've done ourselves proud irrespective of the results, which will come.
It's important to remember that, of all the teams in the National League, we've had the most upheaval by far; a new manager, completely new backroom staff and completely different squad. With just a few weeks to bed in, it was never going to be easy for the team, most of which are young, inexperienced and relatively naïve at this level. After just a few days in the season, we've looked strong, obviously with a few weaknesses, but good nonetheless.
Against Maidstone, we looked better than we did against Boreham Wood and the positives from the opening day of the season were reinforced. This shows that, as time gradually progresses, the team will get better and better. However, we desperately need a striker and this will presumably be our undoing all campaign. Losing Cheek was a blow from which we haven't fully recovered, but with just a single addition we might have been on four points right now.
Moving on to the Maidstone game, it was a brilliant performance and was great to see. To dominate a game like that offers hope that we will be fine this season, yet somehow we ended up on the losing side. Failing to take our chances has long been a problem and it looks like proving to be a recurring issue again in the coming months. That said, we didn't actually create enough for the possession and control that we had.
Our main threat came from the wings, but once the crosses came they would either be cut out by a defender or gratefully collected. With both of our wingers being more pacy and attack-minded, neither really look like they can whip in brilliant deliveries. However, what they both offer is excellent trickery and speed, enabling them to beat their man and drive towards goal. Both players will be massive for us.
As a striker. Elliott Romain is a great asset to have but is crying out for support. Every time he wins the ball, it seems as if he's surrounded by bodies and is eventually dispossessed. He would thrive off a target man, winning the knockdowns and holding the ball up well. Elliott works harder than everybody else on the pitch and hopefully his first goal this season, which was really well-taken, can kick-start a prolific few months for him. However, he never strikes me as a natural goalscorer and that's okay if you're playing alongside a Ferrier or a Cheek, but not when you're the lone striker - and that's not his fault.
Defensively we haven't looked brilliant so far but in all fairness, we have lots of players unavailable in that area. As such, Alex Davey had to play against Maidstone and to his credit performed really well, but perhaps wasn't ready to start. The aforementioned Nunn and Pennell are out and Goodliffe still has two games of his suspension. However, hopefully we'll see better defending in the next few games that what was on show in the build-up to Maidstone's second goal, which was worrying,
However, as a whole, it was a great display and the team were a credit to the club. We still have lots of improving to be good but, as I said after Boreham Wood, it's a work in progress. At the minute, we're slowly starting to click and it's only a matter of time before we start to win. Saturday, though, is a massive game even at this early stage and we desperately need three points.
One of the various realisations that Daggers' relatively untested youngsters will confront this season is the intense and demanding nature of the Vanarama National League fixture list. Pep Guardiola, admittedly a name not usually synonymous with non-league, once expressed his frustration at playing four games in two weeks yet in the fifth tier, it's commonplace to contend with seven games per month and that's exactly the sort of gruelling schedule that the Daggers start the season with.
One of the advantages of this is that it gives teams a chance to build rapid momentum, but conversely it can also turn a blip into a fully-blown crisis. A quick turnover of matches is especially important when you're looking to shrug off a defeat, which is exactly the situation which will precede Dagenham's home clash with Maidstone on Tuesday evening - a contest which promises to be bright, lively and fast-paced.
The game is our first home fixture of the season, and first under the floodlights. Hopefully the team can produce a performance as courageous as Saturday's at Boreham Wood, which laid the foundations for a campaign where we will only get stronger as our players begin to develop more. Disappointingly, the display - especially the late onslaught - failed to yield a point that we can be unlucky not to have attained, but it was a satisfying curtain raiser for Peter Taylor in his first match controlling the Daggers.
Sixty miles from Hertfordshire, our next opponents Maidstone United were also getting their campaign underway with a home game against Hartlepool United, which resulted in a decent 1-1 draw. The Stones will be fairly pleased with what was a decent point and despite the expectation that they'll eventually be embroiled in a relegation battle, they boast talent such as Blair Turgott, who will cause our defence many problems.
While the search for Michael Cheek's replacement striker continues, we will once again be reliant on Chike Kandi and Elliott Romain for goals, though neither of them offered much of a presence on Saturday as we failed to truly impose ourselves on Boreham Wood. We lacked movement and fluency, only coming close to scoring when we introduced Lamar Reynolds, who will be massive for us.
Hopefully, Reynolds will be fit enough to make his full debut for the club against Maidstone. He, alongside a number of others, missed the season opener through injuries but upon their returns will bolster the strength of our side hugely. Ben Nunn and Luke Pennell will offer huge defensive solidity and bring some more much-needed experience to the side, while Blanchfield and Reynolds will inject energy to the team.
We will already be forced into one defensive change following the sending off of centre-half Ben Goodliffe at the weekend, meaning our lineup will probably look something like this: Justham, Gordon, Pennell, Wright, Hoyte, Harfield, Robinson, Blanchfield, Reynolds, Romain, Kandi. I firmly believe that if we play like we did throughout the last twenty of Saturday's game that we can earn our first points of the season.
Hopefully the team can produce another pride-inducing performance and continue our excellent home form since our return to the National League. A victory would be huge for us ahead of a winnable clash on Saturday against Maidenhead.
Even though it's easy to feel deflated after an opening day defeat, what's important to remember is that we have a young bunch of lads who have immense faith bestowed upon them by Peter Taylor this season. Against Boreham Wood, our inexperience and naïvety showed at times but ultimately it will take time for the team to bed in and for a first competitive fixture, I'm fairly happy with what I saw from the team, who definitely displayed some positive indications for the next 45 games.
Unfortunately today we just fell a little bit short in the end yet on another day could've snatched a point. By the time our next game arrives I'd expect us to look a lot sharper, with hopefully a replacement for Cheek in the side, and Reynolds starting. Losing Michael Cheek to Ebbsfleet that close to the season must've dealt Peter Taylor's preparations a vital blow so with the benefit of a few days to assess tactics and playing styles, we'll be more prepared for the next match.
The general consensus amongst supporters was that we desperately needed a centre forward, which is terribly ironic. Romain and Kandi, to their credit, battled hard and got into some good areas but never really posed a significant goal threat, and had a tendency to drift out wide. So many times throughout the clash, a midfielder like Robinson would do brilliantly well to collect the ball only to confront an army of defenders, which is why so many passes were misplaced. We were crying out for a finisher with a bit of movement to drift into the open space.
To be honest, it was a slightly low-key curtain-raiser which lacked fluidity and rhythm. Both teams, you could see, were so much weaker than last season and very few chances were created, compared to last season when Ferrier, Andrade, Whitely, Cheek and Okenabirhie were all on the pitch. Boreham Wood earned their victory mainly through a ten-minute spell in which they got to the byline and swung in several crosses. Such was their intensity during that period, it was inevitable they'd score, yet there was the hope that it would wake us up a bit.
Once we introduced Reynolds and Blanchfield, the game completely changed. Lamar Reynolds is going to be an absolutely huge player for us and that's obvious even at this early stage. All of a sudden we were expansive, playing balls in behind and stretching the defence. Frustratingly, it seemed too little, too late. Just as we seemed to be edging close to a leveller, we were caught on the counter leading to Goodliffe being sent off, and that was that.
It seemed like a definite red, reckless and unnecessary, Had the boot been on the other foot, we'd have been screaming for it. It was disappointing for Goodliffe because like all of the younger lads, he'd acquitted himself really well and shown a great level of maturity. Unfortunately, on this occasion, his inexperience really did tell but that's something he'll learn from.
Overall, though it wasn't the result we wanted, now isn't the time to panic. Nobody was saying we'd win the league after last year's opening day win over Barrow so, conversely, this result shouldn't be read into too much. We have a youthful side, some looked slightly rusty which will wear off while many others haven't played much competitive football. Considering what has gone on this year, I'm okay with a narrow loss to the beaten playoff finalists.
In the next few weeks, we will pick up points. Though we lost today it's easy to see we have the makings of a quite decent outfit, we just need more experience, strength and gamesmanship in our ranks. When our new captain Nunn returns and Reynolds starts, we will be a different team, like we were in the last twenty minutes today. The games come thick and fast so let's not get on the team's backs and offer more outstanding support against Maidstone on Tuesday night.
There's a sense of trepidation mixed with nervous excitement as the Daggers get a new season underway against our local rivals Boreham Wood, in what marks a new era at the club. After a turbulent summer which yielded several departures, Dagenham have a fresh identity; a new manager at the helm, different backroom staff and an overhauled squad. Despite the team being young and inexperienced, Peter Taylor has already got us playing organised football in pre-season and his managerial know-how will lend itself well to what will be a challenging campaign for us, both on the pitch and behind the scenes.
With the pain from last season still cutting deep, our supporters are understandably pessimistic but Peter Taylor has injected new life into the club, especially during a time where hope seemed to have faded away. While we still can only afford to issue one-year contracts and are still asking for volunteers, the situation isn't anywhere near as bleak as it seemed just months ago. Infact, we've managed to assemble a squad better than our financial status deserves and have placed our faith mainly in young players, with experience intertwined into the side.
Lamar Reynolds, our key signing, offers a bright spark to the team, and Taylor's other signings have also been astute. He's brought in Ollie Harfield at right-back, experienced Gavin Hoyte at right-back, Alex Davey in the centre, Harry Phipps in midfield and James Blanchfield, who's a central midfielder. In addition to this we've made many loan signings; Harry Donovan (CM), Ben Goodliffe (CB) and Will Wright (CB) join the team on a temporary basis and all offer something different to the side.
Throughout pre-season the new signings have bedded in well and gelled much quicker than I expected. There were some niggles which make some players doubtful for the clash at Boreham Wood. Lamar Reynolds was taken off against Colchester after a scything challenge and he hasn't played a game since, with Taylor saying he might not be fit enough to start at Meadow Park. Another not to feature much in pre-season was new captain Ben Nunn who was also suffering from an injury. Elsewhere, Blanchfield is a concern, but Pennell seems to be fully fit again after a slight problem.
The buildup to the clash this weekend has been extraordinary as, just on Thursday, our preparations were dealt a huge blow with the untimely sale of Michael Cheek to fellow National League outfit Ebbsfleet, who beat off competition from Boreham Wood for his signature. However, incredibly, us selling Cheek two days before the season started was outdone by Boreham Wood, who were forced to sell their prized asset Morgan Ferrier to Walsall for 35k just yesterday, on the eve of the season. Therefore, it's been a panicked few hours for both clubs as they desperately try to find replacements.
For us, not having to contend with Ferrier is absolutely crucial - it's honestly the difference between potentially getting a draw and collecting three points. Ferrier was probably the best player in the division but he's not the first name Boreham Wood have had to wave goodbye to in recent weeks, as duo Grant Smith and Bruno Andrade departed for Lincoln. However, Ferrier was a bigger player for them than Cheek was to us, so that puts us in a good position ahead of the game.
That said, it'll still be tough. Every curtain raiser is because teams are itching to play competitive football and nail down their place in the starting lineups. Boreham Wood may have lost most of their main players but will still provide a stern test, especially at home where they were fantastic last season. They'll know a lot about us as well given that many of our players - Nunn, Davey, Harfield and Goodliffe - have featured for them in the past. This well also add more of a fierce edge to the game, which is something many Wood/Daggers games have had in the past.
Last season, 8 goals were shared in the two matches, the year before it was 6, so there will certainly be chances. The only thing I worry about is the attacking prowess of Romain and Kandi. Both are decent forwards in their own right but aren't like a Michael Cheek who will bag goal after goal. However, I'm confident that we have the players capable of breaching their defence. After all, we have a young and energetic team looking to defy expectations this season. Well, this is the time to start.
Dagenham are something of an unknown quantity at the minute so literally anything could happen today. It will be a highly competitive match played on an immaculate service which will serve both teams well. Hopefully we can capitalise on Wood's highly disshevelled summer to cap Peter Taylor's first game in charge with a victory.
The opening day is so important as it sets the tone for the season. A win leaves you upbeat going into a demanding run of mixtures where momentum is key. Conversely, if you start off with a loss, it's hard to pick yourself up so quickly for the next one. That's why it's so vital to get off to a good start in Hertfordshire this afternoon.
So the day has finally arrived. Here we are - a brand new season. Who knows where we'll be at the end of this one? The rollercoaster begins. Let's go!
Optimism will dissipate, dreams will be made and hopes will be shattered. There will be rapturous scenes of ecstasy, distraught tears of sheer pain and slammed fists of frustration but, at the end of it, two teams will soar into the promised land of the Football League. As the Vanarama National League season edges tantalisingly towards us, it promises to be as pulsating as ever with several more ambitious clubs joining a division already as strong as it has ever been, guaranteeing nine months of unpredictable, unrivalled drama. Pre-season has whet the appetite but now it's time for the main, showpiece event, so take your seat for an exhibition of excitement-inducing talent and brilliant goals. It won't all be pretty, though.
Just a few months ago, Macclesfield Town defied all expectations to win the league title and were later joined by play-off winners Tranmere Rovers, taking the places of Chesterfield and Barnet, who gracelessly tumbled into non-league. However, acknowledging how fierce this division can be, both sides have recruited experienced managers in Martin Allen and John Still respectively as they look to make an immediate return to league football, but they know how hard it'll be and have made the necessary signings to do well at this level. Entering the league via the other door are Salford City, Harrogate Town, Havant & Waterlooville and Braintree Town, none of which are in the National League merely to make up the numbers.
Salford's summer exploits have been well documented owing to some frankly ridiculous signings including Danny Lloyd, Nathan Pond and Adam Rooney which have reinforced their ambitions to make it a fourth promotion in the five years that the Class of 92 have been in charge of the club. They become the latest in a series of well-backed teams to grace the division including AFC Fylde and Ebbsfleet United, who will both be looking to sustain another play-off challenge after falling at the first and second hurdles last time out. Harrogate already had a team capable of pushing for a top seven spot but have supplemented this with the impressive signing of Jack Muldoon from divisional rivals Fylde, just as Havant and Waterlooville have bolstered their squad with the addition of Alfie Pavey from Dartford, for whom he scored 22 goals last season. They, too, are potential dark horses.
The one promoted side who probably will struggle is Braintree Town, who defied all odds to reach this league following a two-year absence but did it while finishing sixth, 17 points behind champions Havant. They had to win three away games against higher opposition just to get here which is an incredible feat, but have since lost their captain Okoje to Bromley and haven't made many additions. Another side predicted to struggle is Gateshead, gripped by off-field issues which has seen the majority of their squad replaced by hungrier young players, but since then things have dramatically improved for the North-West outfit after their takeover was finally completed so they may have more funds at their disposal. The battle at the bottom will be just as absorbing as the one at the summit with several other outfits tipped for a season of struggle.
Dagenham's new manager, Peter Taylor, has openly said he would be happy with finishing 20th, yet his side are apparently looking to emulate Macclesfield and defy all the odds. Players such as Fejiri Okenabirhie, Michael Cheek, Andre Boucaud, Mark Cousins, Dan Sparkes and Charlee Adams left the club, the latter four all to John Still's new side Barnet. They've been replaced by an overhauled, organised team containing the likes of Lamar Reynolds, Ollie Harfield and Gavin Hoyte, while they also retained players such as Ben Nunn and Matt Robinson. While the squad is of a higher calibre than fans expected, Dagenham will most likely languish in the bottom half of the table alongside the likes of Eastleigh, Maidenhead, Solihull Moors and Barrow. Eastleigh should have a similar season to last having made few acquisitions while Alan Devonshire's Maidenhead will suffer having lost many of their best players from their last campaign including Pritchard. However, they are in safe hands, just like Solihull Moors are having recruited Tim Flowers as manager.
The loss of Yates to Macclesfield will be felt but Solihull have kept the core of the squad which survived comfortably in May, yet they'll find it harder this time out. Then you have Barrow, who have pinned their hopes on an inexperienced manager and a team of younger players mixed with a useful blend of experience. Despite losing players including Makoma and Diarra, Barrow have managed to assemble a team capable of pulling clear of the bottom four. Halifax have suffered a few disappointing pre-season and will hope that's not an omen for what's to come, but Jamie Fullarton - the man who steered them clear of the drop-zone last term - is more than capable of delivering a successful year. Then there's Maidstone, another team who hovered dangerously above 21st place as pressure mounted on Jay Saunders. After a quiet summer with little signings made, another difficult campaign could be in store for the Stones.
Beaten by ten-man Tranmere at Wembley in the play-off final, Boreham Wood looked to go one better and signed two good defenders in Manny Parry and Femi Ilesanmi, but were dealt heavy blows by the loss of duo Grant Smith and Bruno Andrade to League Two side Lincoln, which was then followed by Morgan Ferrier joining Walsall. In addition to this, star striker Ferrier was embroiled in a controversial saga relating to the behaviour of his new agent, meaning it was a turbulent summer for the Wood. Though Luke Garrard is an excellent manager, it will be hard for him to work his magic again this year and, as competing with the clubs around them becomes increasingly difficult, they'll probably be closer to mid-table than the playoffs. Another side to suffer play-off heartbreak was Sutton United but they've regrouped well under Paul Doswell, not only keeping Tommy Wright, but also adding good players such as Dan Wishart to their ranks. They'll be hoping to cause some more surprises yet again, though being part-time has it's challenges.
Aldershot Town are always a team that are there or thereabouts. They've lost defenders Alexander and Reynolds to Barnet, both important players, but have strengthened with incomings including Luke Howell and Luke Wanadio. Wanadio joins from Bromley who were amongst a cluster of sides to miss out on the play-offs last season. Their hopes of going one better seem bleak because of the departures of many big players; Louis Dennis and Brandon Hanlan amongst them. Another club who just missed out were Wrexham, who always seem to just miss out. Despite being well in contention of winning the league, they somehow contrived to miss out on the top seven altogether. Their main problems were in attack and this has possibly been solved by the signings of Mike Fondop and Jordan Maguire-Drew, the latter on loan. This, coupled with their very accomplished defence, leaves the Welsh side ready to go again.
Their opening day opponents are Dover Athletic, denied a play-off spot last year by goal difference alone. They've signed Inih Effiong but lost Mitch Pinnock, Ryan Bird, Manny Parry and Femi Ilesanmi so Kinnear has his work cut out. Finally, the last side are Leyton Orient who arrived in the league in turmoil. However, in Bonne they have a great striker and he has linked up well with many other players. The signing of Alabi seemed questionable, but he's a good hold-up player so can contribute to Orient's potential play-off push. With a full season, Edinburgh can get his London outfit to shine.
My predicted league table is below.
KEY DEPARTURES OF THE SUMMER:
'That' Jon Nurse goal at Wembley, the brilliant FA Cup trip to Everton, those famous non-league cup runs; these are all events intrinsically intertwined into our short quarter-century history. With a reputation for bringing through players and thriving on very little, Dagenham & Redbridge have a very distinct identity which seems to have been slightly lost over the last year or so. However, as the man behind most of it, John Still, walked out on the club while Barnet-bound last month, it marked a new era at the club which promises an unpredictable future.
For the very first time, the Daggers would be forced to look externally for a manager, and thus began a difficult process which involved over 70 applications. Amongst other things, supporters wanted a boss with the experience of his predecessor while also harbouring new, fresh ideas to inject into the club. Of course, he would also have to work under immense financial constraints and this would be a potentially huge deterrent to any potential candidates. It almost seemed like an impossible job to find anybody of Still's calibre yet, under a month later, here we are with an ex-England manager at the helm.
On the 5th June, Peter Taylor was appointed as manager and brought with him Terry Harris, our former assistant and somebody very familiar with the club's infrastructure. After losing John Still and Darren Currie in such a disappointing manner, it was brilliant news and offered a glimpse of optimism for our future. Apparently Taylor was in contention when the manager's job was last vacant and allegedly beat off competition from names such as Hakan Heyrettin, Kevin Nicholson and Garry Hill for the role.
The pleasing thing is that both join the club ''in full knowledge of the situation'' so are obviously aware of the challenge awaiting them, which will be monumental. The difficulty ahead will have only been reinforced in recent weeks as we've been forced to let go of Mark Cousins and sell Fejiri Okenabirhie (to Shrewsbury) and Craig Robson (to Barnet), with more players set to swap Essex for Edgware in the coming weeks.
That leaves Taylor with a threadbare squad so his contacts will be absolutely vital. Equipped with a diverse multitude of experience varying from the pinnacle of English football, the national job, to the very depths of the football pyramid, he has attributes which can lend themselves well to this challenge. Speaking to Daggers Youtube after his appointment, the new manager said,
I have known this club for a long time; I've been to lots of matches and have been here as a guest lots of times. I've always had a very good feeling while I've been at this football club but now, all of a sudden, it's a very different situation for the team. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can help the club push on.
During his solitary game in charge of England, a friendly defeat to Italy, Taylor made a big contribution by handing David Beckham the captaincy, while also selecting six players eligible for the under 21s including Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Barry and Jamie Carragher, showing his faith in youth. Despite only managing the national team for one game, he enjoyed spells in charge of the under 20 and under 21 sides.
Such was he regarded that Glenn Hoddle specifically asked him to take charge of the England u21 outfit in 1998, where he won eleven, drew three and lost just one of his fifteen games as manager while not conceding a single goal in the victories, only to be controversially replaced by Howard Wilkinson with three matches left. His second spell in 2004 then saw nine wins, five draws and two defeats, however his 2013 stint at the u20 side was unsuccessful as they finished bottom of their World Cup group with a squad containing Sam Byram, John Stones, Ross Barkley and Harry Kane.
This shows that he is comfortable working with youth, which he will probably have to do next season as many academy players will be needed for first-team duties. Having managed some of England's brightest raw talents, hopefully he can bring the best out of youngsters such as Elliot Bonds and Jordy Mongoy next season. His experiences at England, as well as New Zealand and Bahrain, can also command respect from the players, meaning they are more likely to buy into his methods.
At club level he has managed many sides from Crystal Palace to Dover Athletic, and most recently Gillingham. Speaking to fans of some of his former clubs, I was told he plays a defensive style of football. Apparently his teams are organised and solid, which is always a good thing given that we will have to withstand a lot of pressure next season. This philosophy is very different to what we've been used to in recent years, but only time will tell how we set up next campaign.
Overall, this appointment is an exciting one for the club and it's hard to see how we pulled it off. While Taylor has said he'd be happy with a fifth-bottom finish, hopefully we can defy expectations and enjoy a decent campaign, though nothing will really be expected of us. As a new era dawns on the club, they'll need the backing more than ever.