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DAGGERS DICTIONARY

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Three blokes and a dog in the away end. (from Len Britton)

 

 

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Macclesfield Town
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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 


 

 


Har Har

Are Grays the new Hornchurch?
by Hardy on 20/09/2005

So what is the real story behind the rise of Grays Athletic?

Are Grays the new Hornchurch?
This season's catchphrase at the Confguide forum is "Grays will be next" referring to the speculation on which club will be next to follow Telford United and Hornchurch down the pan having had a high profile money man pull the plug.

Grays won the Conference South last season at a canter and added the FA Trophy in an impressive season, and this season have already led the Conference National and remain unbeaten to date, currently sitting third in the table.

Just like Hornchurch, a few Grays Chavs have turned up on the Daggers forum trying to get a rise out of the Daggers fans, with most of their baiting based around the relative club histories. Apparently 115 years of history playing in obscurity for most of it outweighs the Daggers heritage which can trace itself back to four of the most famous Amateur football clubs in England

So what is the real story behind the rise of Grays Athletic? After 113 years of obscurity, where is the money coming from, and can it last?

Who's injecting the cash?
When Hornchurch spectacularly crashed and burned last November and then went bust in May several of the stars immediately headed down to the Rec, including former Daggers Lee Matthews (right) and Steve West. The club has been full time for several seasons and has a reported wage bill of 8,000 per week on crowds that are averaging 1,500 now in their first season in the Conference.

A report in the Daily Telegraph on the 20th September 2005 was very upbeat, unlike similar articles a year ago about Hornchurch's shady money backers. In it the Grays Athletic Chairman Micky Woodward is very frank about his ambitions for the club and his personal impact on the club but he assured Ricky George that he wasn't the sole source of money.

"I don't want this to be the Micky Woodward show," he added. "Of course you have to have a leader, but I have superb foot soldiers and this club stands on its own two feet. People don't realise, we've got a thriving bar that will take more than 750,000 this year, we've obtained grants like other clubs and our gates are averaging 1,500 and rising."

Grays have been full-time for two years and the squad are paid on a 40-week a year basis. "Our wages budget is 8,000 per week and it has to stack up," Woodward said. That figure is found via the gates, the clubhouse and sponsors so if, God forbid, I should go down, Grays Athletic survives."

The comments on the bar takings will ring a loud alarm bell after reports that Hornchurch was being funded out of it's restaurant takings last season, but at least Woodward seems to be level headed and not as full of himself as the famed "Uncle Urchin" Karl Williams.

Woodward was previously chairman of Barkingside FC and joined Grays five seasons ago, since when the club has started its rise to the top of the Non-league game. He is a self-made man and his company, West View Rail Limited, employ more than 700 people in Barkingside, supplying labour for rail maintenance to firms such as Network Rail. The recent refurbishments at Bridge Road, home to Grays Athletic for more than 100 years, were carried out by Woodward's firm.

It looks like he is in for the long term then, and that his personal fortune is built on a sound business basis rather than the classic double glazing scams that powered the Urchins.

Good luck then to Grays and lets hope that next Tuesday's Conference meeting is the start of a real local rivalry for the Daggers.

The Daily Telegraph article in full
Woodward makes soaring Grays balance the books
By Ricky George 
(Filed: 20/09/2005)

There are plenty of cynics who will question the meteoric rise of a small club like Grays Athletic. The most recent example of near neighbours Hornchurch, who looked to be racing towards the Nationwide Conference a year ago and then collapsed overnight, sent out warnings of the dangers of so-called entrepeneurial takeovers.

Twelve months ago, the two Essex clubs were jockeying each other for top spot in the inaugural season of the Conference South, one of the two regional feeder leagues to the Conference National.

Hornchurch, having spent more than 1 million a year on wages, went into liquidation last November when their backers collapsed, released their contracted players and fielded a virtual youth side for the rest of the season, while Grays won the league by 23 points and beat Hucknall Town on penalties in the FA Trophy final.

With Grays now at the highest point in their 115-year history, the newly-formed AFC Hornchurch play in the Essex Senior League, the lowest level since Hornchurch and Upminster FC came into being in 1953.

Liquidation, as Telford United discovered two years ago, means loss of status these days and dreams of glory, often provided by a single benefactor, can become nightmares in the wake of the financial failure of that individual. On most occasions the person in question, invariably a self-made man, will have suffered on several counts, his plans for the club having been formulated with best of intentions. The club, though, is a living thing, an emotional and historic entity and supporters tend to have little sympathy when the entrepreneur falls.

Grays chairman Micky Woodward is a self-made man and his company, West View Rail Limited, employ more than 700 people in Barkingside, supplying labour for rail maintenance to firms such as Network Rail. The recent refurbishments at Bridge Road, home to Grays Athletic for more than 100 years, were carried out by Woodward's firm. Since he took over five years ago, the 50-year-old former chairman of Barkingside FC has worked to make the football club as successful as his company.

"Why open a business if you don't have the ambition to make it grow?" Woodward said. "So I aim to take Grays as far as I can, and that absolutely means Football League."

But this is not a case of one major benefactor funding the club. "I don't want this to be the Micky Woodward show," he added. "Of course you have to have a leader, but I have superb foot soldiers and this club stands on its own two feet. People don't realise, we've got a thriving bar that will take more than 750,000 this year, we've obtained grants like other clubs and our gates are averaging 1,500 and rising."

Grays have been full-time for two years and the squad are paid on a 40-week a year basis. "Our wages budget is 8,000 per week and it has to stack up," Woodward said. That figure is found via the gates, the clubhouse and sponsors so if, God forbid, I should go down, Grays Athletic survives."

Woodward is certainly a 'hands on' chairman, and a man with a permanent smile on his face. Busy with one of many jobs on the stadium, he apologised for not wearing a tie as we attempted to enter the temporary boardroom set up at one end of the ground before the recent home game with Kidderminster Harriers.

"I'm the chairman, love," he said to the security girl on the door as she politely questioned our identities.

Tonight, Grays entertain Cambridge United, recently relegated from League Two and struggling to find their feet back in non-League football, as opposed to the Essex minnows, who remain undefeated after eight games and sit proudly in third place in the Conference behind former League clubs Exeter and York City.

It's a great story and one that supporters up and down the country will be following with interest.


 

 

 

 

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