Early Christmas Present for Dagenham


ALAN ESSEX



A friend of mine, a Dagenham and Redbridge supporter, decided to make the epic journey from the East London / Essex borders to visit Hartlepool and see how his team would fare being on a good run of late after a dire start to the season. This was handy for me as I was going to be out and I could rely on him for regular texts and calls whilst getting the opposition's point of view. I am sure there are other reports of the game in MB so I’ll not dwell on what may have already been critiqued.

Firstly, he insists on calling his team ‘Dagenham’ or preferably ‘The Daggers.’ He has supported the team since they were just called Dagenham and objects to the ‘and Redbridge’ appendage. “We play in Dagenham and not Redbridge, how would you like it if you were called Hartlepool and Darlington”. I tried to explain that Darlington wasn’t a neighbouring borough and for accuracy it would be something like ‘Hartlepool and Stockton’ or ‘Hartlepool and Greatham’ or even Billingham Synthonia and Hartlepool – he said, referring to me that “I doth protest too much, methinks” and that I’d loathe it – he does have a valid point. Not wanting to stereotype anyone I was amazed that he knew any Shakespeare and suggested his team be called Dagenhamlet.

The first call was after quarter of an hour, Hartlepool had scored from a penalty, the scorer a shaven headed, bearded thug with an attitude problem. Ah, that would be Noble I said, our leading scorer with 9, 6 of those penalties. My friend then asked what had happened to the ginger player we had that had scored and missed another at their place earlier in the season. I replied that the management thought he (Woods) was obviously not good enough, being highest scorer last season and so gifted him to Harrogate, currently 3rd in the League – a smart move on our behalf. He laughed and said that his side were in financial difficulties as well.
"I was then ...told that following an inspired substitution Dagenham had scored twice in 2 minutes."

Several texts and calls followed, to be fair most of them praised Pools who were apparently playing some good football. He singled out James (“short lad, shorts down to his knees, no socks, number 33 – do you really have 30 plus players?”) and Donaldson (“swarthy fellow, probably spends more time on his hair than in training, didn’t he used to play for Cambridge?”)

As the afternoon wore on my friend thought Hartlepool would win but not score again. “Hartlepool wouldn’t score from open play if the game went on for another two weeks.” He said that we (Pools) had many chances but they were either high, wide, straight at the keeper or took too many passes before losing any scoring opportunity. He was obviously biased but probably correct.

Thinking that the game was won and our losing streak had been ended I luxuriated in the Italian restaurant I was in and ordered another sparkling water. I was then surprised (I know I shouldn’t have been with recent results) to be called and told that following an inspired substitution Dagenham had scored twice in 2 minutes. Who was this ‘Wunderkind’ I ventured – some rustling of a programme followed and I was then told it was Connor Newton, who had come on in the 88th minute and turned the game around. So, another case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for Hartlepool United.

Next time I see him I shall ask “Is this a Dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand?”, referring to this latest of Hartlepool’s tragedies.

His ‘Man of the Match’ by a long chalk was Connor Newton (Dagenham and Redbridge).

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