Now, it might be worth paying attention to this one as we could be up against Dagenham & Redbridge next term if things don’t get sorted. Our look back at ‘them wot we once did play at some point’ isn’t always a lesson for the future. And that’s deffo the case if we’re peering down into the murky lagoon that is non-league. But, there’s no harm in knowing your future enemy. Or indeed preparing for the worst. You can still hope for the best, though. Your call.
Who are Dagenham & Redbridge?
Like us, the Daggers are a relatively new club in the grand scheme of things. Established in 1992, they’re the result of a merger between Dagenham on one side and Redbridge Forest on the other. This football lark don’t have to be a complicated thing. But Redbridge Forest are also the product of a merger; Leytonstone Ilford and Walthamstow Avenue joining forces.
This is almost like a Remember Them triple bumper pack: three for the price of one!
Why do we know Dagenham & Redbridge?
The Daggers lucked out to start with; claiming Redbridge Forest’s spot in the Conference after the merger. And the early days were pretty encouraging. The club finished third in its first league season, although some way behind champions Wycombe Wanderers. That’s as good as it got, however. By the time we arrived on the scene for the 1994-5 campaign, the Daggers’ powers were on the wane. By comparison, Cloughie’s Boro’ were on the rise.
What is our record against Dagenham & Redbridge?
At first, our record against the Daggers was spotless. Boro’ won the first seven meetings between the two sides. In both the 1994-5 and 1995-6 seasons, we did a league double over the London side and ousted them from the first round of the FA Trophy. As we were winning the title in that latter season, the Daggers were finishing bottom and on their way to the Ryman League. A 1998-9 FA Cup win was the only time we’d meet again ’til 2000.
And roaring back the Daggers came. It even looked as if the club achieve the same feat as Cheltenham Town in 1999; claiming the Conference title in their second season back. How close it was too. After their first season back at Conference level in third place, the next campaign (2001-2) saw them pipped to the title on goal difference. Of course, this is a sore point. It later turned out that champions Boston United hadn’t done things by the books.
Books perhaps the operative word.
It ‘condemned’ the Daggers to five more seasons at the same level as us. Not that it held ’em back when we met. After their return to the Conference, they won five of our first six encounters. And that’s if you count the Conference Cup as worth including. Otherwise, it’s five in five. It did, however, even out from 2003 onwards; us sharing the spoils more often than not. Of course, they swept the board with two wins in their 2006-7 title-winning term.
That was that until we made it into the League ourselves. Yet, still we missed them. The Daggers had won promotion to League One in the same season we won the Conference. And, when we went up to League One ourselves, they were coming back down. So, our long-awaited reunion didn’t come until a 2012-3 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash. But it’d only be another two years before our own relegation put us in the same division again.
After winning our first league meeting with the Daggers for nearly eight years at their gaff on Boxing Day 2004, our head-to-head record went south. Four more meetings followed; one draw and three defeats is how it panned out – including another JPT exit. The first of that four wasn’t without its drama either. In beating us 1-0 at the Lamex in March 2015, it seemed Joss Labadie misunderstood what it meant to bring bite to the midfield; taking a nibble at Ronnie Henry’s finger and earning a ban.
Our most recent encounter (to date) was another Christmas affair, taking place indoors on 28 December 2015. And, from our point of view, it was a shambles. The Daggers were on their path back to the Conference, but we did our bit for their survival hopes by gifting ’em three points. Our boss then was Teddy Sheringham and he lasted barely a month longer.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 28 — W 13 — D 2 — L 13 — F 38 — A 41 — Pts 29 — WR 46%
Our last tango: Stevenage 1-3 Dagenham & Redbridge, 28 December 2015
What happened to Dagenham & Redbridge?
The Daggers finished bottom of the 2015-6 League Two table and plunged back into the Conference after nine seasons. It wasn’t a close call, either; both them and York finishing nine points adrift of Newport County. But they made a decent fist of coming straight back up, ending the 2016-7 campaign in fourth. Sadly for them, they came up against a Forest Green Rovers side in the playoffs who’d go onto claim the second promotion spot.
It has been much tougher since; their next two finishes of 11th and 18th respectively not the direction in which they want to move. It’s almost a carbon copy of how things went at the time we first joined the Conference. As we write, the Daggers are a precarious 20th; three points clear of the drop. For them, it’s a question of if they can keep their heads above water. For us, the question is if they’ll still be around if we lose our own survival bid.
It is not how we both want things to be.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Dagenham & Redbridge club profile