For the last few months since the Daggers' title charge materialised, the
messageboards have been inundated with questions about the suitability of
Victoria Road for promotion to the Football League should we be in a position to
Whilst this has been addressed with the building of the Carling Stand,
erection of crush barriers and the building of new turnstiles in Bury Road, it
is not the end of the story. Football League regulations state that
member clubs' grounds should have 2,000 seats within three years of promotion
and this would need to be rectified.
The ground currently has just over 1,000 seats shared between the Carling
Stand and the Barking College Family Stand. The capacity of the ground is
6,000.which meets the current requirement for ground capacity. However,
rumours abound that the Football League is set to increase this requirement to
10,000 in the future.
In the Conference, Clubs are eligible for ground improvement grants once
every three years. In the Football League, this is increased to once per
year. This would enable the Club to develop the ground further.
The problem with Victoria Road though is its proximity to nearby
houses. Light regulations limit our expansion possibilities at the Bury
Road end of the ground. This really means that the only sides of the
ground we can look to for expansion are the Pondfield Road end and the North
side of the ground where the covered terrace sits currently.
People are frequently asking if the Club is going to cover one end of the
ground. The problem with this is that this needs to be "all or
nothing". Should the Club erect any cover at one end, the cover would
need to encompass the entire terrace. The reason for this is that covering
only part of the terrace is deemed to reduce the capacity of that part of the
ground due to the desire for people to stay dry causing a crush in a downpour.
Covering the entirety of one end would come at considerable expense and would
restrict the further expansion possibilities. For this reason, the most
likely target for expansion is the covered terrace. I am reliably informed
that, should the Club's recent successes continue and a future in the Football
League become a reality, the Club would look into replacing the covered terrace
with a new two-tier stand. This stand, it is suggested, would house
approximately 3,000 standing spectators on the bottom tier with around 2,000
seats in the top tier. This would increase the capacity of the ground to
Should further progress then be made, expansion at the Pondfield Road end of
the ground is still a viable option with the ability to build a larger stand at
In the shorter term, however, there are a number of other changes we are
likely to see at Victoria Road. The first of these will be the
construction of two all-weather pitches in the area behind the Pondfield Road
terrace. A further pitch is also planned to go in the corner of Pondfield
Park. This would be accompanied by changing rooms and be surrounded by a
permanent metal fence. This would bring in extra revenue as well as raise
the Club's profile in the local community.
The other suggestion is to move the
Club Shop. The position of the floodlight pylon in the corner of the
ground where the club shop is currently situated has caused a bit of a
bottleneck for those leaving the ground. It has been suggested that moving
the club shop to a location outside the perimeter of the ground would enable the
shop to open on non-match days and would also remove this bottleneck inside the
ground. The location that has been suggested for this is in the back of
the Carling Stand. There is a significant amount of space under the seats
in the stand and, it is suggested, that this would be the ideal place for the
club shop. Adjacent to the shop would be a ticket office, allowing the
club to sell match tickets. Should the Club progress up the leagues,
tickets for games will become more necessary and this would relieve pressure on
the staff in the clubhouse.
When you compare Victoria Road now to what it was
like when I first started attending Dagenham matches in the late 1970s, you
would barely recognise the place - every side of the ground has changed
considerably. With each change, the ground looks more and more like a
Football League stadium and whilst it may not be of the standard of Nene Park,
it does at least have character and it's home. Assuming the currents
successes continue for the next few years, the thoughts of seeing Victoria Road
in a few years time fill me with enthusiasm.