A Supporter's perspective
The 2015/16 season was a catastrophic one for the Daggers as they unceremoniously tumbled out of the Football League. However, despite it being synonymous with disappointment and frustration, there was to be one overwhelming positive that ultimately originated from it: a then 16 year-old academy recruit by the name of Liam Gordon who, unbeknown to anyone at the time, would blossom into one of the most talented youngsters to grace Victoria Road in several years.
His undeniable yet raw talent was nurtured in our youth setup for a further two years before he was finally afforded an opportunity in the first team in April 2018. A debut goal at Guiseley elevated his potential further and set the tone for what would prove to be a fantastic stint at the club in which he established himself as an exciting, supremely talented and above all else hugely reliable performer, evidently capable of playing at a higher level in the pyramid.
Now, as is the case with every player who shines at this level, there comes a time where the player has to depart in order to truly realise their potential. While it is saddening to lose a player of Gordon's ability, that disappointment will be somewhat offset by the enjoyable prospect of watching another homegrown talent rise up the leagues, following in the footsteps of several others whose journeys to success started at Victoria Road.
That, though, is the inevitable reality of supporting a lower league football club; the acceptance that the adulation of a player will ultimately be short-lived, their success in your colours tinged by the fact you are resigned to them eventually moving on. Ollie Hawkins, Fejiri Okenabirhie and Conor Wilkinson are prime examples from the the last few seasons. Football League sides come calling and their lure is difficult to resist.
The confirmed destination this time is Bolton Wanderers. With excellent facilities and an ambitious manager who prides himself on intricate, free-flowing football, it should provide the perfect platform for Gordon to kick on. He leaves Dagenham having been a firm fan favourite and I can say with a degree of certainty that there will not be a single supporter who would disagree that he deserves this opportunity.
Nobody will forget how he stepped up during a period of great difficulty for the club, producing some incredibly mature performances that evoked an immense sense of pride amongst the fanbase. On a more sour note, nor will anybody forget the inexplicable decision to loan him out to Dartford at a time when not only was he our best left-back by a significant distance, but when we were also lacking conviction in both boxes.
We haven't been blessed with too many great players in the last three years, but Gordon has been exceptional from the moment he burst onto the scene from the academy. He has left a lasting impression on the fanbase for which he will be fondly remembered in the future. Having not long turned 21, with over two years of valuable first-team experience behind him, the future is certainly bright and Daggers supporters will be with him all the way.
He will forever be one of our own.
I am Joel Page, an avid Dagger who travels across the country watching the club. Over the last few years, I've absorbed the turbulent rollercoaster ride that comes with supporting the Daggers and have seen us both at our highest and our lowest. From 'that' day at Wembley to watching us suffer a devastating drop into non-league, it's all a part of the journey.