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.
When Ted Hardy took a well earned retirement, the Daggers appointed Garry Hill as manager in the close season 1999 and he took the squad that 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 and 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 old rivals 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 it's 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. It was poetic justice that one of the relegated clubs they replaced were Steve Evans' Boston United.
John Still and assistant, Terry Harris, after the Conference Championship was clinched with a win over Aldershot Town, 7th April 2007
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.
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, they 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.
In 2013/14, Burnett's Daggers were inconsistent and were a little flattered by a final position of 9th in League Two, just two places, but a massive 11 points off a play off place. The loss of top scorer Rhys Murphy and talismanic winger Zavon Hines to injury in the second half of the season led to a slump in home form in particular, just one game won at Victoria Road after New Years Day. In the cups, the Daggers made it to the third round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, losing at Peterborough United, but bowed out at the first stage of the FA and Capital One cups.
2014/15 was been another strange season with the Daggers bumping along the bottom of the division and dismal to watch at home up to the New Year, a situation which, coupled with exits at the first stage of all three cups including a shockng loss to Conference strugglers Southport in the FA Cup, actually had the normally docile Daggers fans baying for Wayne Burnett to be sacked. A much better second half of the season has seen the Daggers climb into mid table mediocraty and a 14th place finish leading to a new two year contract for Burnett. As a wise man used to say, "it's a funny old game Saint."
The only real highlights were an unbelievable 6-6 draw with Championship Brentford in the Capital One Cup (lost on penalties), the form of verteran striker Jamie Cureton and the discovery of the heir to Robbo, Mark Cousins in goal.
2015/16 saw the Daggers struggle again, and with the club rock bottom, playing poorly, with two league wins in half a season and none at home, Wayne Burnett was finally fired on the 21st December 2015, ironically a week after they secured a dream 3rd Round FA Cup trip to Everton with a replay win at non-league Whitehawk on TV. With John Still available having been fired by an impatient Luton Town a week previously it was almost inevitable that the Daggers turned to the legend once more to try to save them from the drop.
Sadly it was too late though and the Daggers 13 points under Burnett in half a season meant that the drop was inevitable by Easter, despite actually winning two whole games at fortress Victoria Road, and was confirmed with a 3-2 defeat at Leyton Orient on the 16th April 2016 with four games remaining.
The first season back in non-league was a turbulent one off the field with various attempts to buy in to the club to finance a return to the Football League, which is documented elsewhere, but on it was fairly successful, with the Daggers ending up in 4th place and securing a play off berth. After a controversial home 1-1 draw with eventual play off winners Forest Green Rovers, the season ended with arather tame 2-0 defeat in the second leg. In the FA Cup the club lost a replay at Halifax in the first round proper, and in the FA Trophy suffered a catastrophic loss to Worthing also in the first round.
The change of structure and ownership now settled, and a new two year contract for John Still secured, the club heads in to it's Silver Jubilee season, 2017/18, with significant optimism.
here to see a list of the honours won by Dagenham & Redbridge FC
here to see Dagenham & Redbridge's season-by-season record
here to see Dagenham & Redbridge's club records
here to see details of the men that have managed Dagenham & Redbridge
here to see a history of Dagenham & Redbridge's home, Victoria Road