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     On This Day


In 2001,The Daggers beat Nuneaton Borough 2-0 at Home in the Nationwide Conference 


In 2007,The Daggers drew 1-1 with Chesterfield Away in the Coca Cola League Two 


In 2012,The Daggers lost 2-3 to York City Away in the NPower League Two 


 

 


Dagenham & Redbridge

History of Dagenham & Redbridge FC
by Nelson on 07/11/2001

Just where did Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club come from? Formed as a merger of Dagenham and Redbridge Forest Football Clubs in 1992, Dagenham & Redbridge play their matches at Victoria Road, the old home of Dagenham FC.

History of Dagenham & Redbridge FC

Dagenham & Redbridge FC were formed in 1992 as a merger between Dagenham and Redbridge Forest Football Clubs. Redbridge Forest itself was the amalgamation of three of the amateur game's most famous clubs, so despite having a brief history in its present form, the Daggers can trace their ancestry to prestigious roots going all the way back to 1881.

Between them Dagenham & Redbridge's forebears won the FA Trophy once, the Amateur Cup seven times, the Isthmian League twenty times, the Athenian League six times, the Essex Senior Cup twenty-six times and the London Senior Cup twenty-three times. That is a lot of history for a club that is officially very young.

See brief histories of our forebears and a more detailed one for the current Daggers below.

Ilford FC 1881 - 1979
Leytonstone FC 1886 - 1979
Leytonstone/Ilford FC 1979 - 1989
Walthamstow Avenue FC 1900 - 1988
Dagenham FC 1949 - 1992
Redbridge Forest FC 1989 - 1992
Dagenham & Redbridge FC Founded 1992

Ilford FC 1881 - 1979

Founded in 1881, Ilford were one of the original entrants in the FA Amateur Cup competition when, after beating Ipswich Town, West Herts and Whitby, they lost 2-4 at Bishop Auckland. They were also finalists in the last ever Amateur Cup final at Wembley in 1974. Progressing through the Southern and London Leagues, they were founder members of the Isthmian League in 1905 and remained there for a total of 61 seasons.

Between 1928 and 1930, they won the FA Amateur Cup and the London Senior Cup two seasons running as well as the London Charity Cup and Essex Senior Cup, indeed the Essex Senior Cup was won on 13 occasions.

The Isthmian League championship was won in 1906/07, 1920/21 and 1921/22 and the club finished second on five other occasions.

In 1979, Ilford sold their ground and amalgamated with Leytonstone.


All that now remains of the terracing at Lynn Road, former home
of Ilford FC. Photo (c) Spencer Rose

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Ilford FC

Leytonstone FC 1886 - 1979

Leytonstone themselves were founded as Cedars FC in 1886 and renamed as Leytonstone in 1892.

They were founder members of the Spartan League in 1907/08 but only remained in the league for one season before transferring to the Isthmian League.

For many years, success eluded them other than in local competitions. However, in 1937/38 and 1938/39, they secured the Isthmian League title.

Their greatest achievements came in the immediate post-war years, when they were Isthmian League champions five times between 1946 and 1952 and again in 1965/66.

They were also FA Amateur Cup winners in 1946/74, 1947/48 and 1967/68. Current Dagenham & Redbridge Chairman Dave Andrews played for the club in the 1968 Amateur Cup final.

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Leytonstone FC

Leytonstone/Ilford FC 1979 - 1989

In 1979, upon amalgamation of Ilford FC and Leytonstone FC, they became known as Leytonstone & Ilford, winning the Isthmian League championship in 1981/82. In 1983, the name was changed to Leytonstone/Ilford.

In 1988, Leytonstone/Ilford also merged with Walthamstow Avenue although they still played under the name Leytonstone/Ilford for one season despite their home ground being Avenue's Green Pond Road. They did add the handy moniker "incorporating Walthamstow Avenue FC" to their match day programme though for that season.

They won the Isthmian League again in 1988/89 when, despite there being promotion to the Alliance Premier League (Conference), they were denied promotion due to Green Pond Road not having a suitable grading for Conference football.

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Leytonstone/Ilford FC

Walthamstow Avenue FC 1900 - 1988

Walthamstow Avenue were founded in 1900 by local schoolmaster Parkin Davidson. The theory behind the name is that all the players had to live in 'Avenues' in Walthamstow. They played in the Walthamstow & District League until 1921 when an application to join the Spartan League was accepted. They then transferred to the Athenian League in 1929 and proceeded to win the league title five times before the war. Joining the Isthmian League in 1945/46, they spent 42 seasons there, winning the championship in 1945/46, 1952/53 and 1953/54.

In 1939, Avenue player Jim Lewis (senior) won a full England International cap.

In 1951, the Avenue reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup for the first time, defeating Leyton 2-1. This final was notable for being the first to record a 100,000 gate.

The following season, they reached the fourth round of the FA Cup with wins over Wimbledon (3-0), Watford (2-1) and Stockport County (2-1). Then, after holding Manchester United 1-1 at Old Trafford, they bowed out in the replay 2-5 at Highbury.

In 1960/61, the FA Amateur Cup was won again with a 2-1 defeat of West Auckland Town.

In 1987, the club were relegated for the only time in their long history.

Walthamstow Avenue played their last game against Borehamwood in May 1988 before merging with Leytonstone/Ilford.

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Walthamstow Avenue FC

Link to the external website "The History of Walthamstow Avenue FC 1900 to 1988"

Dagenham FC 1949 - 1992

Dagenham, the youngest of the founder clubs also had a relatively illustrious history.

Founded in 1949, Dagenham worked their way through the Metropolitan, Delphian, Corinthian and Athenian Leagues before joining the Isthmian League in time for the 1973/74 season.

They twice got to the final of the FA Amateur Cup, losing in 1970 to Enfield (5-1) and Skelmersdale United (4-1) in 1971. An FA Trophy final appearance at Wembley in 1977 (losing 2-1 to Scarborough) was followed by a win in 1980 with their 2-1 defeat of Mossley.


Dagenham FC (May 1977)

The Essex Senior Cup was won in 1962, 1968, 1971, 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1987 along with the London Senior Cup in 1968.

Having been consistently near the top of the Isthmian League, Dagenham were invited along with Enfield into the Alliance Premier League (Conference) for the start of the 1981/82 season.

A respectable 5th place finish was followed by a down-turn in the clubs fortunes and they were relegated back to the Isthmian League at the end of the 1987/88 season.

Several fairly nondescript seasons back in the Isthmian League ended when the club merged with Redbridge Forest in 1992.


Former Assistant Manager Terry Harris puts the Daggers ahead in the FA Trophy Final, at Wembley, 1977

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Dagenham FC

Link to the external website "The History of the Daggers 1949 to 1992"

Redbridge Forest FC 1989 - 1992

After one season of playing as Leytonstone/Ilford (incorporating Walthamstow Avenue FC), the club was renamed to Redbridge Forest to fully reflect the inclusion of Walthamstow Avenue in the mix.

Redbridge Forest won the Isthmian League in their second season and as a result the club moved in to share Dagenham FC's Victoria Road ground which had a Conference grading allowing them to be promoted.

Redbridge Forest achieved a respectable 7th place in their one season in the Conference in 1991/92. However, the, by now predictable happened and the two clubs sharing Victoria Road merged and the new club became Dagenham & Redbridge at the end of that season.

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Redbridge Forest FC

Dagenham & Redbridge FC Founded 1992

Upon the merger, Dagenham & Redbridge FC took the place of Redbridge Forest in the Conference. They finished a very impressive third in their first season and but for a point deducted would have been second although well behind champions Wycombe Wanderers. The first manager appointed was John Still, previously boss of Redbridge Forest.

The new club's first game was a friendly at Great Wakering Rovers on the 25th July 1992, won 8-0. The first competitive match was at Merthyr Tydfil in the GM Vauxhall Conference on the 22nd August 1992, won 2-0.

During that first season, the Daggers also reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, losing 5-4 to Leyton Orient in front of a near-capacity crowd. The match is still talked about at Victoria Road as being one of the most exciting ever seen there. Watch a YouTube video of the match highlights here. Also during that season, there were an unprecedented seven Dagenham & Redbridge players selected to play for the England semi-professional side.

The following season saw the Daggers finish in a respectable 6th in the Conference and managed to beat the eventual FA Trophy winners, Woking, 8-1 at the Kingfield Stadium, a scoreline which is still the club's record win.

Still left to take over at Peterborough and the following seasons saw a decline in form as managers came and went unable to build on Still's early successes. The club had finishes of 15th in 1994/95 and 22nd in 1995/96. Relegation to the Isthmian League resulted in a rebuild of the team under "Father Ted" Hardy and the turnaround in fortunes was startling.

1996/97 saw an FA Trophy Final appearance against Conference outfit Woking at Wembley where the Daggers narrowly lost 1-0 in extra time having played two-thirds of the game with ten men, another appearance in the first round proper of the FA Cup (lost 4-3 on penalties to Ashford Town) and a 4th place finish in the league.

In 1997/98, the club reached the second round of the FA Cup, losing 3-2 at Peterborough having beaten Farnborough in the first round. A run of poor results signalled the end of their title aspirations despite having topped the table for three months. The club did, however, win it's first silverware since the merger, beating Purfleet in the Essex Senior Cup Final.

The 1998/99 season was notable mainly for the impressive run of league clean-sheets that meant the club had an unbeaten run of 14 games and went for 1114 minutes between January 31st until April 5th without conceding a goal. This run towards the end of the season caused the Daggers to climb the table dramatically, but it was not sufficient to mount a serious challenge with the club ending up in 3rd.

The Daggers appointed Garry Hill as manager in the close season 1999 and he took the squad that Ted Hardy had built on to new heights. The 1999/00 season was arguably the best in the clubs history, running away with the Ryman (Isthmian) league and topping the table for virtually the entire season. With a record of 101 points 97 goals for the season the club finally earned itself a return to the Nationwide Conference for the 2000/01 season.

With the target for the season "consolidation" in 2000/01 the Daggers surprised everyone by having another excellent season, finishing 3rd in the Nationwide Conference and reaching the 3rd Round of the FA Cup for the first time.

After beating Lincoln City at Sincil Bank in the 2nd Round the FA Cup matches against Charlton Athletic will long be remembered. Leading the Addicks at The Valley by one goal to nil with only 4 minutes remaining, it took a deflected equaliser to take the game to a replay at Victoria Road. In the frost delayed replay, the visitors won by a solitary goal in the first period of extra time to narrowly escape the giant killing. The Daggers also reached the final of the Essex Senior Cup for the second time.

During close season, the old wooden main stand at Victoria Road was pulled-down and replaced with a new stand. Other work was also carried out, bringing Victoria Road up to the required standard for the Football League.

Prior to the start of the 2001/02 season, the held-over Essex Senior Cup Final was held at Victoria Road with The Daggers beating the FA Trophy Winners, Canvey Island 5-3 on penalties.

2001/02 was another great, if eventually frustrating season for the Daggers as they again reached the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, losing 4-1 to Premiership Ipswich Town after taking the lead. During the cup run they beat Exeter City 3-0 at Victoria Road live on Sky TV in one of the best performances ever seen from the club. The FA Cup run that season was nearly ended before it had started when goalkeeper Tony Roberts scored a last gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Basingstoke Town in the 4th Qualifying round. Tony remains the only goalkeeper to have scored in open play in the FA Cup and will happily tell you the full story if asked.

The club also reached the final of the Essex Senior Cup again, fielding a much weakened side in the midst of the Conference title run in and losing 6-1 to Canvey Island. In the Conference they were in the top two from September and at one point held an eight point lead before eventually finished second, missing out on promotion to the Football League on goal difference.

Other achievements in 2001/02 were the granting of a Football League "A" grading to Victoria Road and new attendance records overall (5,949 v Ipswich Town) and for a league game (3,939 v Chester City).

2002/03 again proved frustrating in the end with some fabulous highlights. The summer saw the controversy of "Bostongate" when Boston United, who had pipped the Daggers to the title the previous season, were investigated and found guilty of financial irregularities during their Conference Championship season by the FA. In July they were fined and docked points for the offences, but from the 2002/03 season, meaning they kept their promotion. Once the actual football resumed after a volatile summer the Daggers started fast and topped the table in August then fell to 15th by mid October.

Once again the FA Cup worked it's magic though and the Daggers worked their way past Aldershot Town, Havant & Waterlooville, and Crawley Town to the 3rd Round again. After drawing at Plymouth Argyle the club finally made it to the 4th Round by beating Argyle 2-0 in a televised replay. In the last 32 of the cup they drew Norwich City at Carrow Road and lost 1-0 to a last minute winner, goalkeeper Tony Roberts winning the FA's player of the round award.

The FA Cup run inspired the Daggers league form too, where they broke the all time record for consecutive Conference victories with eleven in a row between the end of December and mid March. This lifted them to finish 5th and a place in the first ever Conference promotion play off. After an epic two leg semi final win over Morecambe on penalties, the final was lost 3-2 against Doncaster Rovers at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium to a golden goal leaving the club missing out having been so close to promotion once again.

During the close season 2003 Garry Hill changed the squad significantly with eight players out and seven in as the club chased for the elusive promotion place in 2003/04. The moves were in vain though and the Daggers run of success was broken. Further player movements in and out meant that their was no stable team and matters were made worse following a controversial incident when Hill was accused of racism by Telford's Fitzroy Simpson in September.

Although the charges were never proven the incident resulted in the departure of two of the clubs black players including the top scorer for the previous two seasons, Mark Stein. The team struggled and took early exits in all the cups including a painful FA Cup 4th round qualifying exit at Thurrock. When the Daggers lost 9-0 to Hereford at home live on Sky TV in late February, the writing was on the wall for Hill and he resigned in late March.


Dagenham & Redbridge Squad 2003/04 (c) Dave Simpson

The club went back to its roots in re-appointing John Still as its manager once again in mid April 2004 and John had the task of re-building the momentum behind the Daggers in 2004/05 having seen his new charges end up 13th on the Conference at the end of a very forgettable 2003/04.

With a reduced playing budget the club was forced to go for youth in 2004/05 and because of this the team were inconsistent with some great results and some dire ones along the way. After starting with three wins and topping the table the Daggers slumped to 16th around New Year before a better second half of the season and an unbeaten run of seven games to end up in 11th place, but closer to the play offs than the team in 12th. The club made it as far as the first round proper of the FA Cup where they lost 3-1 at neighbours Leyton Orient and took an early exit from the FA Trophy also.

With John Still keeping the heart of the team that finished so well together heading into 2005/06 with the addition of some carefully chosen new talent, the young side looked well placed to head into the new season with some confidence but again was inconsistent. A slightly unfortunate FA Cup defeat at Hartlepool was followed by a decent run in the FA Trophy for the first time for a while. The club eventually bowed out in a Quarter Final replay against local rivals and eventual winners Grays Athletic. In the Conference the team was again inconsistent but improved its final position once again to finish 10th but some way off a play off place.

Going in to 2006/07 no one could have predicted that the Daggers would be challenging once again for the Conference title. With the addition of a couple of key signings and the maturing of some of the youth that John Still had been nurturing, the Daggers kept pace with early leaders, relegated Oxford United. Despite being up to 8 points behind in October and losing at home to them in the league and FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, the Daggers kept plugging away and, as Oxford's form dipped in December and January, they caught and passed them. This was despite being forced to sell two of John Still's finds in Craig Mackail-Smith and Craig Blackett to Peterborough in January 2007 for a club record fee estimated at 250,000.

On the 7th April 2007 the Daggers beat Aldershot Town at home in front of a then new record league crowd (4,044) to clinch the Nationwide Conference title with five games remaining, becoming the first team promoted in all the English leagues. With the title came promotion to the Coca-Cola Football League Two. This magnificent achievement came five years after it should have in 2001/02 but this time there was little to no nail biting for the Daggers faithful who celebrated long and hard.


John Still and assistant, Terry Harris, after the Conference Championship was clinched with a win over Aldershot Town, 7th April 2007
(c) DiggerDagger.com

The Daggers first season in the Football League was a bit of a struggle with the club in a relegation fight up to March, before going on a run of five wins and finally finishing a relatively comfortable 20th.

2008/09 was a much better season for the Daggers with the club chasing a play off spot for most of the season. Going in to the last game the Daggers lay in the last play off spot in 7th and needed just a draw to seal a place in the play offs, but lost 2-1 at home to Shrewsbury who sneaked above them as a result in front of a new record league attendance at Victoria Road (4,791). The 8th place finish was still a huge achievement for the Daggers in just their second season up and the club remain one of the smaller, if better run, Football League clubs.

Football League regulations, which insist on a minimum of 2,000 seats, meant that the Daggers were forced to invest further in the ground during the close season of 2009 and a new stand was built at the Pondfield End of the stadium, seating 1,240. This is allocated to away fans and has changed the look and feel of the ground considerably.


Dagenham & Redbridge Squad 2006/07 (c) Dave Simpson

With the team doing so well, almost inevitably half a dozen of the players were lured away to pastures new during the close season and the first half of 2009/10. John Still continued to find unpolished diamonds from the ranks of Non-League football to fill the breaches while battling on the field with the various "money" clubs and administration basket cases that infest much of League Two.

In 2009/10 the Daggers continued to punch above their weight, topping the table twice before dropping to mid table early in 2010. A late run meant that once again they sat in the final play off place going in to the last day of the season, and this time a 2-0 win at already relegated Darlington clinched 7th spot.

No one could seriously have believed what would come next as Morecambe came to Victoria Road and were demolished 6-0 in a game that broke all Football League Play-off records. The return game, the last one at Morecambe's Christie Park before they moved to a new ground, was lost 2-1 in a late flurry of goals to clinch a place at Wembley against Rotherham United 7-2 on aggregate. The final at Wembley, the last game of the English domestic season and the last ever game in the Coca Cola sponsored Football League, was another classic with the Daggers hanging on to win 3-2 in the end to clinch an unlikely promotion to League One for 2010/11.


Wembley salutes the Play off winners (c) DiggerDagger.com

After an eventful season in the third tier of English football, which saw them accumulate 47 points, the Daggers were relegated back to League Two. Never really recovering from the late sale of striker Paul Benson to Charlton at the end of August, the ended up needing just a point in their last game at Peterborough to survive, only to lose to the eventual play off winners to finish 21st, and in the final relegation place. The season saw several great performances and league games against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic and Southampton will live long in the memories of Daggers fans.

The Daggers had a tough season back in League Two in 2011/12, with the retirement of club legend, goalkeeper Tony Roberts, and the loss of a couple of key players to bigger clubs in the close season. As a result it was another rebuild for John Still and after spending much of the season staring at a second successive relegation, a run of one defeat in the last ten games saw the club climb to safety and a finish in 19th place. A highlight was a decent FA Cup run to the 3rd round, eventually bowing out in a replay at Millwall.

2012/13 was aonther struggle with a lack of consistency being the main issue in the early season. The sale of another John Still rough diamond, Dwight Gayle, to Peterborough saw the Daggers falter in the New Year, before long standing boss, John Still, stunned the fans by upping and leaving for Conference side Luton Town in March. Under interim boss Wayne Burnett the Daggers reached 51 points with three games left, a total that would normally guarantee safety. After this they lost twice while other clubs in the drop zone were winning, resulting in the Daggers being in real danger of the drop on the last day. Another loss at home to York City meant that it was only Northampton Town's defeat of Barnet that kept the Daggers up, in 22nd, the last safe spot.

Despite the Daggers close shave, Burnett was appointed full time manager at the end of the season and faces the uphill task of getting the Daggers back into a position where they will not be perennial strugglers in League Two.

Click here to see a list of the honours won by Dagenham & Redbridge FC

Click here to see Dagenham & Redbridge's season-by-season record

Click here to see Dagenham & Redbridge's club records

Click here to see details of the men that have managed Dagenham & Redbridge

Click here to see a history of Dagenham & Redbridge's home, Victoria Road


 

 

 

 

DiggerDagger.com is an independent website and the views expressed are not necessarily those of Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club