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 The Poll

Daggers change of ownership: should we...

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DAGGERS DICTIONARY

"Saffend"
Essex coastal resort boasting the longest pleasure pier in the world and the place where the characters from Eastenders go on holiday, although unfortunately, no football.

 

 

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28 April 2018
Macclesfield Town
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Vanarama National League 
Lost 0-2


     On This Day


In 2010,The Daggers lost 1-2 to Morecambe Away in the Coca Cola League Two Play-off semi final second leg


 

 


April 27th 2002
by Hardy on 11/12/2001

Imagine: It is the last game of the season. Win and we are up, anything else and probably we aren't. What do you want to happen?

Imagine

Lets imagine, its April 27th and Chester City are the visitors at Victoria Road for the last game of the season. Win and Dagenham & Redbridge are a Football League club, lose and if Boston get a result across town at Hayes, they will be promoted. Meanwhile, as a reminder of what can happen, Chester City, so recently of Division Three, need to win to avoid certain relegation and potential bankrupcy.

So, what do we want the result to be?

Do we really want to go up? It sounds like a dumb question, but lets look at it with cool heads.

The Daggers are a top side in the Non-league game, and with the exception of the relegation season, and a couple of pretty uneventful Ryman campaigns, have been so since they formed ten seasons ago. As a top side, we get to see our team win things occasionally, get to major finals, like the 1997 FA Trophy final, gain all sorts of publicity out of Cup runs, like last seasons magical day at The Valley.

Personally, that is what sustains the thrill of following The Daggers. If it was a succession of seasons scrabbling to stay mid table would the place have the buzz it has at the moment?

How is success measured really though?

Money, money, money

At the end of the day, as with everything else, it is all about money. Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club is not a privately held limited company, it is a members club. This limits its options on ways to raise cash, but also offers us hope that the club we all love is never sold down the river by an unscrupulous owner wanting to cash in on the asset.

It also means the club lives or dies on the ability of its committee to balance the books given all the various lines of income it has. On the playing side we have a core crowd of around 1,500 maybe, with that swelling to 2,500 for the big league games, plus hangers on for the cup runs. The clubhouse brings in a good income, and on the commercial side the club has done wonders with its various sponsors like Compass and one offs like the deal for the Carling Stand.

TV - is it the answer?

The past two seasons cup runs have generated a "nice little earner" with the addition of prize money this time around and the TV cash from the Exeter games. All of that has to be budgeted as windfall cash though, after all, but for a moment of magic from Tony Roberts at Basingstoke, it could have been nothing. If Saturday's 2nd Round match at St James' Park had been 3rd Division Exeter City v 3rd Division Dagenham & Redbridge would the camera's have been there? Would Sky have also selected the replay for live TV?

Scarborough have never featured on live TV, while The Daggers have been on four times so far, including the FA Trophy final and this seasons game against Northwich, it would have been five had frost not intervened in January 2001, and of course we are on again next week.

Of course, Football League clubs get a share in the TV bonanza, believed to be around 700,000 this season, generated by the deal with ITV for the rights to broadcast Nationwide League action. It is that money which is at the heart of the argument about "parachute payments" that eventually scuppered the 2 up, 2 down campaign last summer. Will this last?

Well ITV Digital is currently losing money hand over fist due to the competitive nature of the TV market at the moment, and the "Phoenix League" proposals were all about the clubs that see themselves as big names, such as Coventry City, wanting a more "equitable" split of the money (read that as less for the bottom two divisions).

BBC Director General Greg Dyke has warned that the next round of TV contracts for football are not likely to match the last round, and clubs who have budgeted on this cash as a major proportion of their annual income may well find themselves in trouble should this prove to be true.

Our club has been extremely well run over recent years, and has refused to get itself into debt to buy possible success. Despite this Dagenham & Redbridge has reached the position where we have big name players like Mark Stein and Ken Charlery, have redeveloped the ground to a point where it has a Football League grading, and are favorites for promotion.

So what happens if we get promoted?

Rumour has it that the club may try to survive in the Football League on a part time basis. After all, in the last two seasons the team has done very well against the full time clubs in the Conference as well as against Football League sides. The FL fixture computer though is not a respector of semi-pro status, and could well come up with some tricky mid-week away days with 46 matches to schedule in which would put a lot of pressure onto players who already push employers goodwill to the edge playing top semi-pro football in the Conference. Would it be possible to stay semi-pro?

If not, then the clubs whole wage structure shifts. It is not known what Mark Stein's wages are this season with The Daggers, but figures like 3,000 per week are being quoted by Luton fans for his wages as a full time pro last season. Estimating that gate reciepts would be somewhere in the 15,000 to 20,000 range, on an average 2,000 crowd, maybe up to 25,000 if the crowds grew with promotion, its not hard to see where the TV money for Division Three clubs goes.

The answer to the first question

The answer is undoubtedly that we want to win and be in Division Three next year. Of course the club wants to play at the absolute highest level it can, but we are going to have to be careful that it doesn't change the character of the club that we know and love today. The same sensible guys who have got us to where we are now will be responsible for ensuring that the club remains the supporter friendly success that it is and that has to fill us all with hope.

Scarborough, mentioned earlier in this piece, are a potential warning to us all though. Once a power in the Non-league game, one I remember watching beat Dagenham in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, they won promotion in 1987, floated around Division Three for twelve seasons without making a lot of impact and then came back down again, courtesy of Jimmy Glass' last minute goal for Carlisle in 1999, and now lie bottom of the Conference and in terrible financial problems.

Then again lets not forget the example of Wycombe Wanderers, also an old adversary of Dagenham in the 70's, who were Conference Champions in 1993, who now ply their trade in Division Two and who were FA Cup semi-finalists last season.

We live in interesting times - long may it continue!!


 

 

 

 

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