Friday, 21 July 2017

Dagenham and Redbridge F.C. - Victoria Road

Dagenham and Redbridge F.C.
Dagenham and Redbridge F.C.
Victoria Road Stadium
Victoria Road
RM10 7XL

Ground Number: 43
Date: Monday 17th April 2017
Score: Dagenham and Redbridge 2-2 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League
Attendance: 1,634

So it was coming to the end of the season and as the season went on, the numbers of away games that I could go to was slowly decreasing and unfortunately, the last away game that I could go to this season is Dagenham and Redbridge away which is not too bad for my last away game of the season but they play in London as well so it is kind of a friendly derby and they are an ex-football league club which would make the game a bit more interesting.
There was only a few games left of the season and out of the remaining three games of the season, I could go to two of them which are Dagenham and Redbridge away and Chester at home and out of those two games, I was most looking forward to going to Dagenham and Redbridge because they are an ex-football league side and I have wanted to go to Dagenham and Redbridge for a while and now I had the chance to finally visit Victoria Road.
The days before our visit to Victoria Road were quite busy because on Friday, Sutton were playing at home to Gateshead and we won that game 3-0 and the weekend before the game were filled up with doing coursework for college as it is nearly the end of the college year and it is the time when a lot of college assignments are due in, so I dedicated my whole weekend to doing coursework so on Monday (the day of Dagenham and Redbridge away), I wont have to worry about me doing any coursework after the game as I will be fully up to date. I also had time to look up the history of Dagenham and Redbridge as I did not know a lot about the history of the club.
Dagenham and Redbridge were formed in 1992 when the two clubs of Dagenham F.C. and Redbridge Forest F.C. merged together to form Dagenham and Redbridge. The clubs nickname is 'The Daggers' and the club play in the colours of red and blue and they play their home games at Victoria Road which has a capacity of 6,078 and there are around 2,200 seats. The club started out in the Conference in 1993 and remained in the Conference until the 1995/96 season when they were relegated down to the Isthmian Premier. The club remained in the Isthmian Premier for four seasons and they were promoted as champions back to the Conference in the 1999/00 season. The club remained in the Conference until the 2006/07 season when they finished top of the league after a success 2006/07 season. The club remained in League Two until the 2009/10 season until the 2009/10 season when they were promoted to League One. They only spent one season in League Once and they were back playing League Two football again in the 2011/12 season. The club remained in League Two until the 2015/16 season when they were relegated down to the National League which is where they are currently playing.
So the day of Dagenham and Redbridge away had finally arrived and I woke up at 8am feeling very excited because I have wanted to go to Victoria Road for a few years and today is the day that I will finally be going to Victoria Road. After waking up, I had a quick shower but I didn't have breakfast because we had arranged to meet Tony and Max who are both Sutton fans at the local Harvester and have breakfast there.
We left my dads house at 9am feeling very hungry as we hadn't had breakfast but we got to the local Harvester at 9:15am and Tony and Max were already there when we arrived, so we went straight in and ordered what we were going to have and me being me, I decided to have an unlimited breakfast with unlimited drinks as I was very hungry and my dad, Tony and Max all went for the same as me. We sat down and talked about the game ahead of us whilst eating our breakfast and I was so hungry, I had another plate of food after eating my first plate and I said to everyone "well we paid for unlimited so we may as well fill ourselves up" and that extra plate of food really did fill me up.
After finishing our breakfast at 10am, we got in the car and parked up in a small side road in Morden and we then walked to Morden tube station and Johnnie, Ryan, Owen and some other Sutton fans were there so we all said hello to each other. They were waiting for a few more people so instead of waiting around, we decided to go and top up our oyster cards as we didn't have a lot of money on them and by the time we had done that, the other Sutton fans hadn't arrived so me, my dad, Tony and Max decided to get on the tube now and get there a bit earlier than we was planning to.
We got on the tube at Morden at 10:10am and we left Morden feeling very excited for the game but today we couldn't take the most direct route to Dagenham because most of the District Line is shut and we was planning to get on the District Line at Wimbledon and stay on the train until Dagenham East but the tracks were closed from Wimbledon to Barking which meant we had to take an alternative route. We stayed on the Northern Line until London Bridge and we then changed onto the Jubilee Line and stayed on until West Ham and we then changed onto the District Line which would take us to Dagenham East.
We finally got to Dagenham East at 11:20am and once we had arrived in Dagenham, we decided to walk towards the stadium but once we got to the stadium, it was closed as we were over 3 hours early so we decided to go to a local pub and the pub we decided to go to was 'The Eastbrook' and it is a traditional British pub just a few minutes walk away from the stadium. Once inside the pub, we got ourselves a drink and I got myself a pint of diet coke. After being in the pub for 10 minutes, Johnnie and around 8 other Sutton fans arrived and they also got some drinks and they decided to play snooker/pool. Then one of Max's friends who is a Dagenham supporter met us in the pub and we had a good talk about the season and some of our best away games of the season so far.
We left 'The Eastbrook' at 12:30pm feeling much more energetic but that was probably because I had just had a pint of diet coke but by this time, I was very excited for the game. We walked back to Victoria Road and once we arrived back at the stadium at 12:40pm, the gates were open so we walked in and there were already a few people outside the stadium and as the turnstiles were not open yet, we decided to go in the club shop and get a Dagenham and Redbridge pin badge to add to my collection. After going in the club shop, we went a got a match day programme and we then went in the bar which was very friendly.
We stayed in the bar until 1:30pm and we then went outside as the turnstiles were about to open. Once the turnstiles opened, I went straight in and it cost me £12 for a junior ticket which is unbelievable because Sutton is only around £13 for an adult and yet Dagenham are charging nearly the same price for a junior ticket and they also charge an adult away fan £3 than an adult home fan ticket which is a bit out of order and it seems like all Dagenham are interested in is money and I was not very happy about paying £12 for a junior ticket.
After paying to get in, we went straight in and the stadium looked really good, it has a mixed ratio of standing and terracing and I really liked this and weirdly we had been given the best stand in the whole ground which is a all seated stand located behind the goal. I put up both of my flags and then I took some pictures of Victoria Road.
Victoria Road has the feeling of a football league stadium but it also slightly has a non league feeling to it which makes it still fit in with the National League but Victoria Road should be in at least League Two.The stadium has been improved with the construction of the Traditional Builders Stand (aka Pondfield End) at one end of the ground, which replaced a small open terrace. This new all seated stand which was opened during the 2009/10 season, is a sizeable affair, housing 1,200 spectators. The stand is covered, raised above pitch level and has windshields to either side. Although only eleven rows high, it is free from supporting pillars and is quite steep, meaning that fans are kept close to the playing action.
On one side is the relatively modern Main Stand, which was opened in 2001. Sponsored by Carling, this 800 capacity stand, is covered and all seated, with the team dugouts situated at the front of it. The stand comprises of six rows of seating and has a small executive area at the back of it. The stand, which is free of supporting pillars, is elevated above pitch level which means that supporters have to climb small sets of steps at the front of it, to gain access. The stand though, only runs for three quarters of the length of the pitch and at one end towards the Traditional Builders Stand, another separate stand exists. This stand which is called the Barking College Family Stand, is a small covered, seated stand. It is smaller in height that the Main Stand and contains around 200 seats, with some supporting pillars running along the front of it. Again it is raised above pitch level and is accessed via a small staircase.
The rest of the ground is terracing, with a small open terrace behind one goal and a covered terrace along one side. The home end, the Bury Road End (aka the Clock End), has a small basic electric scoreboard situated above it. This area also contains the club shop and Police control box. The North Terrace, which runs along one side of the pitch, is known affectionately by the Dagenham fans as 'The Sieve' as apparently at one time it was famed for its leaking roof. This old fashioned looking terrace, is partly covered to the rear and has a number of supporting pillars. It also has a television gantry perched upon its roof. Unusually the teams emerge from not from the Main Stand, but from a tunnel located in the new Marcus James Stand at one end of the ground. The stadium is completed with a set of four modern looking floodlights. The ground for sponsorship purposes is now officially called the 'Chigwell Construction Stadium', but it is still known to many fans as Victoria Road. (Description of Victoria Road is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
After taking some pictures of the ground, Max decided he wanted to go and get something to eat so I decided to go with him, Max wanted a cheeseburger and it cost £3.80 so he decided to get it and he said that it tasted really nice. After going with Max to get his burger, we then went back up to the stand and we watched the teams warm up. My dad then went and got a portion of chips for us to share and they tasted quite nice and I would recommend getting a portion of chips if you ever go to Victoria Road.
The game was about to start and a rush energy went through my body and the teams came out and I started the goal chant as we normally sing the goal chant when the teams come out. Dagenham started the game well as they were dominating Sutton, but we did have the odd chance to score but we didn't take our chances. Dagenham took the lead in the 27th minute via Luke Guttridge. Sutton didn't react well after going 1-0 down and this hit Sutton in the back as 11 minutes later, Dagenham scored again via Maguire-Drew and Sutton found themselves 2-0 down at half time and we knew that if we was going to stay in the National League and avoid relegation, we would have to fight and get something out of this game.
During half time, I took my flags down and re-positioned them next to where we were standing as they didn't look very good in the corner of the stand and by the time I had re-positioned my flags, the second half was about to start. Paul Doswell must have given the team a lot of stick and motivation during half time because Sutton seemed a completely different team and after only 6 minutes into the second half, Sutton got a goal back via fans favourite Maxime Biamou and Sutton were back in the game. After some sloppy defending from Dagenham, Sutton were awarded a corner 2 minutes later and Maxime Biamou was there to head the ball into the back of the net and within the first 8 minutes of the second half, Sutton were back on level terms with Dagenham and the game had completely changed.
The rest of the second half saw chances for both Dagenham and Sutton but after getting two early goals at the start of the second half, it seemed like the ball just didn't want to go in the back of the net again and the game finished 2-2 and it was one of the best away games I have ever been to. Sutton had taken 146 fans today which is amazing for our club and we were very loud and once the game finished, we sang the 'wise men say' song and the 'since I was young' chant. We clapped the players off and sung 'Oh Maxime Biamou' as he had gotten us a vital point. I took my flags down and whilst we were walking out of the ground, we continued to chant. We got back to Dagenham East tube station at 5:10pm and our friend Jason was there and we got the tube back to Morden and we dropped Tony and Jason off home and Max got the bus home and I was back home at 6:30pm feeling very happy.
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Friendliness: 8/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10

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