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DAGGERS DICTIONARY

"Pack"
A loan player who, when he arrives, no-one can understand why the manager rates him, but by the time his loan is up, is key to the future of the club.

 

 

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     On This Day


In 1993,The Daggers lost 1-2 to Bath City Away in the GM Vauxhall Conference 


In 1995,The Daggers drew 1-1 with Kidderminster Harriers Away in the GM Vauxhall Conference 


In 2001,The Daggers beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1 at Home in the Nationwide Conference 


In 2004,The Daggers drew 0-0 with Scarborough Away in the Nationwide Conference 
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In 2010,The Daggers drew 3-3 with Bradford City Away in the Coca Cola League Two 


 

 


Daggers

Rivals
by Hardy on 17/02/2010

Which other clubs stir the blood of the Daggers fans the most?

Rivals (updated October 2013)
Every club has one or two others where games matter that bit more, where a victory is celebrated a bit more and defeat felt a little more keenly. Some of these rivalries border on total hatred like Celtic and Rangers, Spurs and Arsenal, Southampton and Portsmouth, or City and United. But who stirs the blood of the Daggers fans the most?

The club's fairly recent birth, less than 25 years as Dagenham & Redbridge, means that actually there aren't that many clubs that we have played on a regular basis for eons but there are a few that definitely have got up the nose of the fans over the years.

To see how the Daggers have fared against any team that they have played since the new club formed in 1992 go to the Match Database.

We hate Boston!
Despite the fact that the clubs have actually only met on the field of play seven times, the Daggers winning five and losing just twice, the club that comes up most in this sort of discussion is of course Boston United. At present it seems highly unlikely that the clubs will ever meet again too, which makes it one of the oddest football rivalries there are.

We have outlined what went on below, but the best overall explanation of what was going on at York Street was published by the Sunday Telegraph at the end of 2002 and is compulsory reading for anyone who wants to understand the scale of the skulduggery being perpetrated by Steve Evans and others in the name of Boston United. The BBC's summary of the affair, written at the time of Evans' subsequent conviction for fraud in 2006 is here.

The Pilgrims, or Cheats as they are also known around Dagenham, pipped the Daggers to the Nationwide Conference title on goal difference in 2001/02. At the time this was painful enough, especially given that their manager, a gobby Scot called Steve Evans (left), had kept up a war of words against Garry Hill's Daggers throughout the season to try to upset the club during what was pretty much a two horse race from the start. This was the final year of one up, one down between the Conference and the Football League and the Daggers were left ruing some poor late season results that cost them the title outright with no second chance through a play off.

Little annoyances like the signing by Boston of Jim Rodwell, a Rushden & Diamonds player on loan to the Daggers, then recalled due to injuries at Nene Park, then immediately sent on a "free" transfer to York Street at a time when Boston were claiming money problems didn't help either. Rodwell turned into a central character at Boston, becoming Chairman much later and was also a character witness at Evans eventual fraud trial. Rodwell has recently turned up as part of the current circus at Notts County, proving you can't ever keep a good man down!

During the season in question this site kept a running commentary on Evans pronouncements, the Evans Files, which gives a flavour of the sort of rubbish that was being said at the time.

Bostongate explained

What really turned things nasty though was what happened after the end of the 2001/02 season. On the 24th May 2002 the press reported that the FA had descended on York Street in what some papers reported was a "military style" operation also involving simultaneous raids on several players homes. Over the following weeks it became clear that Boston United had been falsifying contracts and running a cash economy within the club to allow it to sign and play players that it couldn't possibly afford to otherwise, effectively winning the Conference title of the back of a tax fiddling fraud.

By the 26th June the FA had enough to issue charges against Boston United as a club, as well as individual charges against ex-Chairman Pat Malkinson and Manager Steve Evans. A campaign was started to dock points from Boston retrospectively and therefore award the Daggers the Conference title and automatic promotion. Most Boston fans at the time wanted to stick their head in the sand and cite that the title was won fair and square on the football field and heated battles were fought on the Daggers forum and the main Boston one, Pilgrims Patter.

As always seems to happen though, despite the severity of the charges against them, a fudge ensued. Boston United's new owners claimed total ignorance of the goings on under the previous administration and eventually suspended Evans in early July when it became clear which way the wind was blowing. The FA announced on the 19th July that they were fining Boston 100,000 and docking just four points, but only in the coming season, after they took their place in the Football League, a decision met with wide outrage, right up to an Early Day motions being raised in Parliament.

Evans himself protested his innocence to anyone that would listen but was eventually found guilty of most of the charges against him, and was banned from football for 20 months. Boston went on to struggle on in the bottom division of the Football League under Evans' former assistant Neil Thompson with little money or credibility. The day after Evans ban from football ended, Thompson was sacked by another owner, property developer and Evans "friend", Jon Sotnick, and Evans was reinstated as manager.

Although the long arm of justice moves slowly, Evans and Malkinson both ended up being charged with tax fraud and were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court in January 2006, both escaping with non-custodial sentences, Evans only after pleading in tears with the judge, and Malkinson due to old age and ill health. Despite the conviction, Boston Chairman at the time, Jim Rodwell, allowed Evans to keep his position to further shame the club.


Evans at Bow Street Magistrates, c. www.bufc.drfox.org.uk

Daggers manager, Garry Hill, gave his reaction at the time of Bostongate, as the whole affair inevitably became known, saying basically "What goes around, comes around." Although Garry was long gone when the sorry affair finally reached its conclusion, he will have not missed the irony of Boston's abject five season stay in the Football League coming to an end with defeat at Wrexham exactly one week after the Daggers finally lifted the Conference trophy.

In a final twist, Boston tried to cheat the system one last time by declaring themselves in administration with just five minutes left in that last Football League game at Wrexham, in order to incur the ten point penalty for doing so when it didn't really matter.

The Football Conference, already less than impressed with the way they had been conned back in 2002 were not having any of it though and relegated Boston straight through the Conference proper to the Conference North, only to then boot them out of there as well at the end of their first season, down to the Unibond when they could not come out of administration in time, a drop of three divisions in two seasons. Boston are slowly climbing back up the leagues and are currently back in the Conference North.

Evans himself meanwhile, took over as manager at Blue Square Premier club Crawley Town, another club run by men of loose morals and took them up to the third tier of English Football over the following seasons with a seemingly unlimited budget. He then left to move north again to take over at Rotherham United, again having success in gaining promotion to the third tier with lots of money behind him.

The Millers promotion season was marred by a 5-0 defeat at Victoria Road though as the Daggers fans let Evans' know what they thought of him on the only occasion to date that he has shown up at the club since 2002. Evans continues to be as obnoxious as ever and a laughing stock to anyone that cares about football, but his repeated successes mean he will always be able to find work sadly.

These days Boston United fans have come to terms with the way that their club was used and abused by Evans and co. The ever entertaining Pilgrims fanzine site Impstalk is always a good read and their club history page gives an amusing Boston view of events back in the dark days.

Local non-league rivalries

Once formed from the merger of four huge names of Essex Non-League football the Daggers were always going to be the pre-eminent club in the area at that level.

This got up the nose of some of the other local clubs, particularly Hornchurch, who after years of being a local non-entity suddenly became dubbed the Non-League Chelsea when picked up by the owners of locally based double glazing firm Bryco, who were a regular feature on BBC's Watchdog.

Suddenly Hornchurch were signing all sorts of players on mad salaries as they climbed the leagues, including several they tempted away from the Daggers. Several of the fans, and amazingly the owner Karl Williams (aka Uncle Urchin), decided that they were the Daggers local rivals and got very vocal on the various forums, despite never once having played a league fixture against Dagenham & Redbridge.

When Garry Hill resigned from the Daggers and also took the road down to Bridge Avenue, and had them cantering off towards the Conference South title it looked like a genuine local rivalry was building. With a reported wage bill of 1.2m and estimated gate receipts of 60,000 allegedly made up by an extremely profitable restaurant and social club, it was clear that the experiment could not last for long and there was something of an inevitability about the way that it all suddenly hit the buffers in November 2004 when Carthium, the holding company owning Bryco, went bust with debts of 7m.

After soldiering on for a while with youth players, a fresh crisis hit the club as the old owner Karl Williams waded back into the club in January 2005 to fire most of the guys who had been left to cope when the money had gone missing in November. A public slanging match erupted at the Hornchurch forum which was proper soap opera stuff with accusation and counter accusation aired in public between Williams and ex-employees over who had said what and been paid what.

Although at the time Garry Hill was not party to all this, he left accrimoniously just days later and by the end of the season Hornchurch FC had gone. A new club, AFC Hornchurch, were formed from the ashes but had to start again from the Essex Senior League from where they are slowly making their way back since, currently playing in the Ryman Premier.

Recently AFC Hornchurch's name has been linked to a number of match fixing allegations, both in the UK and, bizarrely, when a number of ex-Urchin players were named in a betting scandal in Australia. While nothing is yet proven in this regard, the whiff of Bryco still pervades all that they do.

Canvey Island also briefly threatened to build a rivalry, with Jeff King leading his men from obscurity to the Conference with an FA Trophy win thrown in for good measure. Sadly Jeff upped sticks to Chelmsford City citing lack of ambition at Canvey, leaving them to request relegation from the Conference to a league that they could afford to compete in. Canvey are also currently playing in the Ryman Premier while King failed to work his magic on the Clarets, eventually returning to his roots at Canvey in 2012 as a club director but so far has failed to work his magic again there either.

Next was Grays Athletic, who almost immediately took up the baton dropped by Hornchurch and with Micky Woodward, a local businessman suddenly injecting cash into the club, rose up to the Conference after decades of mediocrity. Grays managed to be a proper pain for a couple of seasons, including a memorable clash in the FA Trophy Quarter Final in 2006, but as a result of serial meddling in the team by Woodward, including him taking the managers position twice, meant the club never seemed to quite make the breakthrough that it had threatened.

In the end, the money ran out and in 2010 the club resigned from the Conference, sold it's ground in Grays for redevelopment and took relegation to the Isthmian League North. It remains a nomadic club, having shared with East Thurrock United, played in Rush Green and is now ground sharing with Aveley, but is back in the Isthmian Premier League.

Despite all the above the local team that have always caused the Daggers most grief are Purfleet (now trading under the name Thurrock FC) who just always seemed to be able to get a result somehow against us. The thought of watching an abject Daggers performance at the Thurrock Hotel on what was always a wet dismal evening is still something that many fans wake at 4am sweating about. Hopefully those days are now over.

Local League rivalries
The Daggers sit in crowded footballiing territory. Leyton Orient, West Ham, Spurs, Charlton and Millwall are all within a few miles of the club in London, while Southend United and Colchester United are the other "Essex" clubs in the Football League. While the Daggers have met most of these clubs over the years in various cup competitions, particularly Orient, they have only fleetingly shared a league rivalry with any of them, other than very recently Southend United.

Southend have serious delusions of grandeur, have been as high as the Championship in recent seasons, and like to think that they are a vastly bigger club than the Daggers. Despite all this their serial money issues mean that they are down in the Football League basement with us, seem to be annual opponents in the Football League Trophy and have hosted one memorable FA Cup 3rd round clash which featured seven goals and heaps of drama including seeing Tony Roberts become the only goalkeeper to have been sent off in the opponents penalty area in an FA cup tie. The rivalry is starting to simmer nicely and provided they don't go bust trying to fund their shiny new stadium needed to replace the crumbling hovel that is Roots Hall, this is one to watch in coming years.

Probably the Football League club that we have had the most rivalry with and have played most regularly are Barnet. They fact that they disliked our ex-manager John Still so much added fuel to that fire and games against the Bees were always well anticipated and keenly fought affairs. In 2013 they managed to get relegated back to the Conference, sent down on goal difference by the Daggers after last day drama when both clubs lost, so that one is on hold for the moment.

Further afield

The Daggers have always had great games with Woking in the past and have met them many times including the 1997 FA Trophy Final at Wembley which Woking won 1-0 after extra time. The Daggers largest win ever, 8-1, came at Woking's Kingfield in 1994, and the Daggers have never lost away to them, but conversely the Cards have won more than they have lost at Victoria Road. With Woking being Surrey stockbroker belt and Dagenham as blue collar an area as any in the UK, the cultural differences add to the rivalry. Sadly Woking have slid away in recent years but after a few years in the Conference South they are now back at Conference level. It may be a while before we meet again though.

The team the Daggers have met most often competitively to date are, ironically, given the distance, Morecambe who seem to have shared league fortunes with the Daggers for years now, promoted into the Football League in the same season after a long period together in the Conference. The clubs have also twice met in two legged play off semi finals as well as being drawn together in the FA Trophy. The rivalry is a friendly one though and the two clubs, and their fans, have a great respect for each other.

The Daggers promotion season threw up one new potential rivalry in Oxford United. Fairly typical of a relgated side, Oxford decided the they would walk back into the Football League in a triumphal march through the Conference. It all started so well with United unbeaten into November. Two trips to Victoria Road saw them win both games 1-0 and after knocking the Daggers out of the FA Cup courtesy of a penalty spot winner with the Daggers missing their own spot kick, the chant of "We are invincible" rang round the Pondfield End, leaving home supporters muttering somewhat.

Shortly after that the wheels started to come off for Oxford and the Daggers caught them, then stretched away over the second half of the season, and a "come from behind", televised, 2-2 draw at the Kassam Stadium in late March 2007 just about sealed the title. Oxford went on to then lose in the playoffs and the United fans somewhat tempered their arrogance in their resulting four seasons in the Conference. They finally regained Football League status with a playoff win in 2010, just as the Daggers were heading into League One for a season, but they still regularly reminiss about their days in the top flight and when they won the League Cup while the Daggers fans still like to remind them how "invincible" they really are when the chance arises.


 

 

 

 

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