Have Dagenham & Redbridge improved since sacking Wayne Burnett?
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 December 2016
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It’s a year to the day since Daggers parted ways with their former boss
A year ago to the day, Dagenham & Redbridge sacked Wayne Burnett with the club bottom of the Football League after a 3-0 loss at home to Bristol Rovers.
But, realistically, how much have the club improved since then? That’s the idea behind replacing a manager after all.
For John Still, the second half of the last campaign was always going to be difficult, trying to get the best out of a squad that wasn’t his, and so it ultimately proved.
Even then, Still managed to get more out of the players, taking 18 points from the 22 league games he was officially in charge of, compared to 13 from 22 for Burnett.
Of course, the summer came and with it a host of changes followed, with only Mark Cousins, Andre Boucaud, Joe Widdowson and Frankie Raymond to start the doomed campaign under Burnett remaining.
Relegation has made drawing direct comparisons that little bit tougher between this season and last, with the main plus being Daggers actually winning at home before Christmas!
However, the past few weeks have seen the issue of poor home form rear its ugly head again, with the 5-0 loss to Gateshead standing front and centre.
No Daggers side under Burnett’s guidance had lost by that amount, and that crushing blow was swiftly followed by a 4-1 stuffing to Barrow just a couple of weeks later.
But even with the leaky defence at home in recent weeks, Still’s side have let in on average 1.3 goals per home game this season, an improvement on the average of 1.73 last season under Burnett.
Being a division below, you would hope Daggers have been more prolific and so it has proved, averaging 1.52 goals per game to date compared to 0.95 by this day last year.
Even before Christmas, Oliver Hawkins has nabbed 13 goals; during his two full seasons in charge, Burnett only saw Jamie Cureton (19, 2014/15) score more.
One thing that does, however, go in the former Daggers boss’ favour is the average age of his final starting XI.
The line-up against Rovers on that fateful day in December 2015 was 24.5 years, compared to 25.1 years for Still’s XI against Solihull Moors on Saturday.
So too does the attendance, with Burnett’s final match viewed by a crowd of 1,820, of which 1,217 were home supporters.
Despite a host of offfers, the weekend’s clash with Solihull drew 1,112 to Victoria Road, of which 1,043 were Daggers supporters, but of course that the game was in the National League, not the Football League, might have played a part.
With the Essex club now in a division below, drawing direct comparisons will always be tough, but it seems that Still, even though he could not prevent Daggers from being relegated, has improved the team since Burnett’s departure.
The big test for the current Daggers boss now, though, is whether or not they will have improved further by this time next year.