David Cameron Walker

Archive for the ‘Dagenham & Redbridge’ Category

Daggers ready to take on the Lions

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Dagenham and Redbridge haven’t done too badly in this season’s FA Cup; they have beaten Bath City and Walsall, both after drawing the first games. Walsall was another penalty shoot out success, which John Still’s men seem to be very good at this year, but I can’t see it going anywhere near to penalties on Saturday.

Reward for the Daggers’ cup endeavours is a home tie against Millwall. Not who I would have liked to get if I’m totally honest, their reputation precedes them and with our closeness to West Ham United it’s certainly not ideal, but I would have loved a Premier League side. No disrespect to Millwall but every club at our level hopes of getting a Manchester United or Liverpool at home, don’t they? We are no different and why should we be.

The FA Cup holds special memories for me, I remember the days when anyone could win it, not just the top four as its been for the best part of the last decade, another knock-on effect of the Sky era and Champions League money. I remember watching Coventry beat Spurs, Wimbledon stopping Liverpool doing the double, Wrexham beating Arsenal with Mickey Thomas getting a last minute goal, and the Daggers own exploits down the years – Charlton, Ipswich, and who says they cant beat Millwall?

They have a punchers chance, the guy who gets written off but has that one almighty knock out blow in his arsenal, he stands there getting battered round after round, and then when his opponent thinks he’s moving in for the kill, he lands the blow that shocks a nation. That is what the FA Cup means to clubs like mine.

It’s us, the underdog, against the big boys. A team made up of journeymen and young lads, fighting against teams with four times the fan base and money, who may, just may be able for one day live like kings and sip at the cup of glory.

There will be a few changes to the side which has played so well in the league in the last few weeks, and especially at Christmas. Injuries have forced two of them with Peter Gain and Kevin Maher both being out for up to six to eight weeks, although Abu Ogogo will return from his suspension. I would expect Christian Montano, the West Ham loanee, to miss the game as his loan is due to end soon. He’s been an excellent signing for since he’s been here and I would love him to stay for the season, but unfortunately I can’t see that happening.

Mark Arber has recently played his first game since his hernia operation but Saturday will be too early for him, a shame because the side will needs his experience sooner rather than later. Michael Spillane has joined on an 18 month contract; a great bit of business by the club once again as it adds to the overall strength of the squad. Spillane has been bought in to cover the absence of Arber and has played superbly at centre half alongside Scott Doe. However, the quicker the captain returns with his experience the better I’ll feel.

Up front Brian Woodall has to start – he’s hit a very good run of form, scoring goals and is very humble about the whole thing. Coming from as far down the non-league scale as he did, he took a while to settle which was to be expected, but since scoring against Bath in the First Round he’s been on fire. Another John Still gem.

I would expect a line-up like this -  Lewington; Femi, Doe, Spillane, Rose; Green, Bingham, Ogogo, Nurse; Woodall, Scott. That side will give an out of form Millwall a real go on Saturday, and who knows we may even win to taste the magic of the cup for just a little longer.

Written by Anthony Hodgson, We Are Going Up’s Dagenham & Redbridge Blogger

Anthony tweets at @ahodgson72

We Are Just Like Arsenal

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Quite a bold statement I think you will agree? Let me explain why we are just like Arsenal at the moment. Firstly we have both lost our star midfield players; Fabregas for Arsenal, Romain Vincelot and Danny Green for us. Secondly we both have long-standing managers. Thirdly we seem to be winning games 1-0 at the moment like the Arsenal side of the George Graham era, and we’ve won at Wembley recently…oh wait forget that, oh well three out of four for Arsenal isn’t too bad is it?

After the our annual first round exit of the Carling Cup, losing 5-0 to Bournemouth, which will no doubt be followed by our annual exit of the other cup competitions at the first round stage to follow shortly, we find ourselves in fifth place, having won three out of our four league games.

It’s a good start and we’ve turned over Swindon and Bradford in the process as well. I love the way these so called ‘big’ clubs think we should just turn up and roll over. It’s not just us either – the Southend fans going nuts because they lost to Burton yesterday as well never ceases to make me laugh. Reality check please guys, your in this league because you deserve to be.

To be fifth with all the new faces and injuries we have at the moment – Peter Gain, Kevin Maher and Josh Scott – is a great achievement. We’ve also won twice away as well, something we didn’t manage until nearly Christmas last year in League One. The moaning about the green kit has stopped (sorry still don’t like it) and the team have started to play the Daggers way. Quick, high tempo football that puts pressure on our opponents.

I’m not going to get carried away making stupid comments about where we will finish, take note Swindon, Southend, Crawley fans, as this is a tough division this year, far tougher than when we got promoted, and after all it is only August but I think a top 7 finish won’t be beyond us this year.

Winning 1-0 every week doesn’t do a lot for my heart to be honest, but if it means promotion I’ll take it as would others. I’m sure our forwards will find the goal on a more regular basis shortly we just have to be patient with them, something we are good at as we never turn on our own.

Saturday sees Torquay travel to Victoria Road; last season’s beaten play-off finalists, and we will be looking to continue our excellent start to the season. I don’t see anymore players leaving us before the transfer window closes, and to be honest I don’t see any arriving either. So a settled squad, with a few new faces, as we start to gather the points we need to perhaps bounce back into League One at the first attempt. Only time will tell.

Written by Anthony Hodgson, We Are Going Up’s Dagenham & Redbridge Blogger

Anthony tweets at @ahodgson72

Live by the Dagger, Die by the Dagger

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

The real business is just four days away; pre-season friendlies have been completed and we are ready for what League Two has in store for us this year. The pain of relegation has started to fade but to think we will bounce back straight away is beyond us.

We have lost our top goal scorers from last season – Danny Green to Charlton and Romain Vincelot to Brighton, and with the retirement of Tony Roberts it will be a different line-up this year at Victoria Road. To be honest if we had kept all three of them I’m not sure we would have gone up automatically anyway.

The problem we had last year was selling Paul Benson to Charlton at the end of the transfer window in August and not replacing him. We tried numerous options but we were missing the cutting edge of a goal scorer and that was ultimately what cost us in the end. Getting relegated by one point was no disgrace, most people had us to be down by Christmas, but to hang on in there until the end was a true credit to the Daggers fighting spirit.

With three pre-season games played at home in the last week, a 0-0 bore draw with Leyton Orient, a narrow 1-0 defeat to a fairly strong West Ham side, and a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage on Saturday (good luck to them this year – back-to-back promotions is a great achievement at any level of football), some could look on us as though we may struggle this year.

As always don’t read too much into these games, Saturday’s game was made up predominantly by trialists, although some of them gave a good account of themselves. Jake Reed is looking like another John Still diamond, Alex Osborn will hopefully break into the team this year, Danny J Green looks almost ready for the first team and with Jamie Shea from Arsenal on loan until the end of the season we are looking okay…

But it will all depend on how quickly these guys gel as a unit. Will we win the league? No chance, but we may sneak into the playoffs once again and then who knows what will happen. I think this year we will flirt around the edges of the playoffs all season and unfortunately will finish just outside of them.

I’m not writing us off yet though as with Dagenham you just never know; in our time in the Football League we have had to play for something every season right until the end, whether we are fighting relegation and escaping, playing for the playoffs then missing out, again playing for the playoffs, sneaking in and winning at Wembley, or losing out to relegation on the final day as we did last year. You just don’t know where it will end.

With four days to go it’s all about hope and dreams of a season of perfection, whether that will be the case come the beginning of May who knows? That is what makes football at this level so very exciting. I’m ready for the big kick off. Are you?

Written by Anthony Hodgson, We Are Going Up’s Dagenham & Redbridge Blogger

Anthony tweets at @ahodgson72