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DAGGERS DICTIONARY

"Gothard"
Someone who is great until they leave the club but is a shadow of their former self on their return.

 

 

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Next Match


24 October 2017
7:45pm
Macclesfield Town
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Wrexham
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     On This Day


In 1993,The Daggers drew 2-2 with Cambridge City Away in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round


In 1999,The Daggers beat Walton & Hersham 2-0 at Home in the Ryman League Premier 


In 2004,The Daggers lost 1-2 to Farnborough Town Away in the Nationwide Conference 
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In 2010,The Daggers lost 2-3 to Rochdale Away in the NPower League One 


In 2012,The Daggers drew 1-1 with Exeter City at Home in the NPower League Two 


 

 


Robbo!

Tony Roberts Interview
by Hardy on 04/07/2003

With a month to go until his testimonial game at Queens Park Rangers Tony Roberts talks to Hardy about his career to date and his hopes for the future.

Tony Roberts Interview
Tony Roberts at nearly 34 has not had what you would call a dull career so far.

He joined Queens Park Rangers as a trainee in 1987 and stayed at Loftus Road for 11 years. During that time he was understudy to Neville Southall in the Welsh squad for several years, winning two full international caps, and played 144 first team games for QPR in the Premiership and Division One before moving to Millwall in 1998.

After just 8 games for Millwall he sustained a finger injury that looked to have ended his career, but with the help of a finger splint from a doctor in America he has returned to the game to make himself a firm favourite with the Daggers fans, although it has to be said, not necessarily with opposing fans.

Since being with the Daggers he has been instrumental in the great FA Cup runs over the last three seasons, almost keeping Charlton out at the Valley and at Victoria Road in the replay, then becoming the first goalkeeper ever to score in open play in the cup to keep the Daggers alive the following season at Basingstoke.

Last season he won the FA's Player of the Round in the 4th round for his performance, and emotion, at Norwich. He has returned to the international game and picked up semi-pro caps for Wales. He also won all of the Daggers Player of the Year awards for 2002/03.

He combines being first choice at Victoria Road with a role as goalkeeping coach at QPR, hence the belated testimonial game against Charlton on the 4th of August, which is also his 34th birthday.

With exactly a month to go until Tony has his testimonial game at Loftus Road Hardy got the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

Life before the Daggers

Hardy: With your QPR testimonial coming up, perhaps you can explain how a Welsh lad from Holyhead ended up playing in West London?

Robbo: I left Wales when I was 16 to come down here to the bright lights for a trial and I'm still here 17 years later!

Hardy: What were the biggest games you played in for Rangers and what are your best memories of that time?

Robbo: Every game that I played in the Premiership was a good one. I've had some great penalty saves as well, one against Teddy Sheringham and one in front of the Kop at Anfield. On that occasion my mate was in the Kop behind my goal as he's a Liverpool fan and he didn't even clap me! Reaching the quarter finals of the FA Cup was a pretty special achievement as well.

Hardy: You played just two times for Wales, mainly due to Neville Southall being number one. Do you regret not getting more games?

Robbo: I can't really knock it as at the time he was the best goalkeeper in the world. But I've been able to work with some fantastic keepers such as him and David Seaman so I've been very lucky.

Hardy: When Neville (left) turned up at the club at the end of the 2001/02 season, was that down to you?

Robbo: Yes, I knew him from Wales and we were in a bit of a pickle where I was injured. So I asked him to come down and fill in and he obliged.

Hardy: His only game for the club was the Essex Senior Cup Final at Roots Hall when we lost 6-1. Do you know where big Nev's runners-up medal sits in his trophy collection?

Robbo: I haven't got a clue! I just know that without him the score line that night would have been in double figures.

Hardy: What weird and wonderful places did you see with Wales?

Robbo: I went to Georgia where I saw people cutting meat on street corners - they were about 50 years behind. You don't realise how lucky we are over here!

I've also been to Japan, the Faroe Islands and Romania. I was in Japan for a tournament where we played them and Argentina and I've played in Euro qualifiers, so I've got to go all over the place.

Hardy: How do you feel about the current Welsh international team?

Robbo: It's the best one for a long time. There are the likes of Giggs and Davies and then best thing about the squad is that they're young. Hopefully they can bring the next world cup home and do Wales proud!

Hardy: Who is the best player you have played alongside?

Robbo: Trevor Sinclair (left, copyright Ben Radford/Allsport). He could play anywhere, he was great out on the wing and he could do a job up front as well. He could pass, hold the ball, shoot - everything. Plus I was playing in goal when he scored the best goal in QPR's history with a blinding over head kick.

Hardy: And against?

Robbo: Alan Shearer (right, copyright Mark Thompson/Allsport), despite having a 'worldie' against him for Wales U21's. He is always up for a bit of banter and he's a constant threat. Plus he never stands for me standing on his toes in the penalty area.

That injury
Hardy: With the finger injury and being forced to retire as you did, has playing since been something of a bonus?

Robbo: I thought I was never going to play again, but I've managed to do well for the last four years and I'm still making good saves. Ideally I want to keep going until I'm 40, that's what I'm aiming for.

Hardy: How did Garry Hill manage to talk you into a return.

Robbo: When I was in America I had decided I wanted to come back and Garry was the first manager who rang me. He spoke about the club and what aims he had for it and I was very impressed. Now we've done about 90% of his master plan, it's just about achieving the last 10%.

Hardy: What is the secret of you being able to play now when you were unable to after the injury?

Robbo: I saw a doctor in America who made me a special splint for my fingers. I had one before but this one was made out of plastic and it's been jumped on, kicked and has still stood the test of time. I get new ones made every now and then and it has made such a difference.

Robbo and the Daggers
Hardy: You joined Dagenham & Redbridge in 2000. What was behind your decision to come to Victoria Road?

Robbo: I spoke to Ashley Vickers as I knew him from our time at St Albans and he said it was a nice club with a good bunch of blokes. I had heard about Garry from other people and I knew he wanted to do well. They had just won the league that year and were in the Conference, which is the highest level I could play at so it was ideal for me.

Hardy: How does playing under Garry Hill differ from the other managers you have played for?

Robbo: Well the obvious point is that he's not from a footballing background, but his determination and enthusiasm more than makes up for it.

Hardy: Having been there, do you think Garry could manage at the highest level?

Robbo: Who knows, look at Martin O'Neil. He won the Conference and look where he is now.

FA Cup Memories
Hardy: You seen to have built an affinity to the FA Cup since being with the Daggers. Did you play any really big cup ties before coming to Victoria Road?

Robbo: The quarter finals at Old Trafford, we had beaten Aylesbury, Millwall and West Ham to get there and then lost 2-0. That's the furthest I've ever got in the competition and to walk out there was amazing.

Hardy: What are your best and worst Daggers FA Cup moments?

Robbo: Scoring obviously to put me down in folklore! I'm still waiting for that to be made into a Trivial Pursuits question.

Norwich was the worst, I don't think I've ever felt so low. I was so happy for the fans in the 88th minute, I thought we'd done it for them and that we were going back to Victoria Road. Then as we walked round after I felt so sorry for them. (picture copyright Ross Kinnard / Getty Images)

Hardy: Do you regret the tears at Norwich? By the way, I was crying too.

Robbo: I don't know where all this 'tears' rumour has come from. What happened was, these two flies flew right into my eyes on the final whistle. I don't cry, I'm a real manly man me! But I've had encounters with flies a few times before but it always comes at strange moments, like when my wife gave birth to our two kids - strange that!


Robbo with flies in his eyes at Norwich
Copyright Ross Kinnard / Getty Images

2002/03 Season

Hardy: The injury towards the end of last season must have been difficult. Did it effect any of your goalkeeping other than the obvious problems kicking?

Robbo: It did towards the end, I did it during the Plymouth replay and I was only playing at 75% after that. Then towards the end I was more like 60% fit. Injuring my foot is what done my groin in because I was having to compensate for not kicking properly.

Hardy: Are you happy that it is all sorted out now?

Robbo: Yes, I can't wait to kick a ball again. I couldn't wait to have the operation and get it out of the way to be back to my best.

I'm hoping to be back for the Tiverton game, if not then the Chelmsford one. But I am definitely hoping to be back for the QPR game, but West Ham is a no no.

Hardy: What was your personal highlight of the 2002/03 season?

Robbo: Coming home with four player of the year trophies. I was completely taken aback. I knew the fans had their favourites like Lee Matthews and Smudger, but I never thought I would do so well. The FA Cup was good for me as well as I thought I had some good performances in it.

Goalkeepers are all mad - discuss

Hardy: The stereotypical goalkeeper is a sandwich short of a picnic. Is this true about you?

Robbo: I think you have to be a lot thicker skinned. You get a lot of grief from fans and in training. Especially when you're in goal in training heading out Tim Cole's efforts because he couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo!

Hardy: You have had a few run in's with opposition fans, thinking back to Nuneaton and Chester for example. Does this bother you at all?

Robbo: Not in the slightest! If they want to give it then they've got to take it back. That's what it's all about.

Hardy: Are you one of those keepers that fancies themselves as a centre forward at 5-a-side in training?

Robbo: I started off playing up front, then moved to goalie and I've played up front for QPR reserves. You see, that FA Cup goal wasn't a fluke, keepers mark me when I go up for corners because they know I'm a danger man. I always have at least three men marking me!

Looking forward

Hardy: The last two seasons have ended with the Daggers so close, but no cigar. Can we do better this time around?

Robbo: Yes, the last two seasons have been down to losing out on the narrowest of margins - goal difference and promotion goal. I think it will be third time lucky

Hardy: What needs to change to make it happen?

Robbo: We need that bit of luck. We were unlucky against Norwich and we were unlucky in the final, if Lady Luck could shine on us this year we would do well.

Hardy: Will the Daggers going to a more full-time training regime effect your role as QPR goalkeeping coach?

Robbo: No, I'm full time anyway. I bet there are a lot of keepers in the league who wish they were as lucky as me when it comes to the amount of hours I get to train. I never sit about doing nothing, I'm always on the go so this suits me fine.

Hardy: Are you looking forward to next season?

Robbo: Yes, I've been down the gym and riding my bike trying to get back in shape. I am king of the mountains of Hainault!

Hardy: Where do you think the squad needs strengthening if anywhere?

Robbo: I think Garry's done it. Although Westy and Steino did well last year, I think we always needed that extra goal and Alex Meechan and Leon Braithwaite will help us there. I've always thought they were class players and Garry has done well to acquire them.

Hardy: Who do you think will be the teams that push us in 2003/04?

Robbo: Stevenage will be up there and I think if we finish above them then we'll have done well. I think Barnet will be a surprise bet if anyone fancies a flutter. Morecambe will be there or there abouts as well I think.

Hardy: What is the situation with you returning to play in the Football League with the insurance situation that always gets brought up?

Robbo: I think that's my lot now. I'll be 34 in August and I can't see anyone paying all that money to take me into Division Three, not unless they're desperate!

Hardy: Thanks Tony and good luck for the future.

Tony's testimonial is at Loftus Road on the 4th of August. The game between QPR and Charlton kick's off at 7:45 and is preceded by a 40 minute game featuring many of the stars that have played with Tony over his career, including Les Ferdinand, Trevor Sinclair, Ray Wilkins and Mark Stein.

Details of the game can be found here. Don't miss it.


 

 

 

 

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