Still proud to be a Dagger after disappointment of relegation

Dagenham & Redbridge manager hails his team’s ‘unbelievable achievement’

Whilst those around him were overcome with disappointment at Daggers relegation, manager John Still was bursting with pride at his side’s ‘amazing’ season.

Saturday’s heavy defeat at Peterborough United consigned them to an immediate return to League Two, as they finished a point adrift of fifth from bottom Walsall.

But unlike his devastated players, Still spoke with a smile and said: “To have had a season here is an amazing achievement and with the resources that we have to even mention playing at this level is beyond anything that any other club in the country will ever do.

“We’ve come to another chapter and Dagenham & Redbridge are going to play in League Two of the football league, well who would have thought that seven/eight years ago?

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“It’s an unbelievable achievement and that’s why I have to praise the players for their effort and praise the supporters for being so good.

“I think they saw by my reaction at the end ‘Proud to be a Dagger’. I’m proud of the players, I’m proud of the supporters, I’m proud of the football club. It’s been an amazing rise that we’ve had.

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“I’m not foolish, one day that was going to hit the buffers, that’s not Dagenham, that’s all clubs at all levels, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, it happens to all clubs. We got to that level, now we’ve got to come down a bit and we have to try and find another way of recreating what we’ve done.”

Daggers have struggled for goals this season, netting 52 in 46 league games, but Still feels the biggest loss for his team this season was not last season’s top scorer Paul Benson, but fellow forward Josh Scott.

Benson left for Charlton in the summer and Daggers struggled for a natural goalscorer to fill his void, but Still felt that losing Scott, who has not played since January 8 due to a blood clot, was a bigger blow for his side.

“Losing Paul Benson was a blow, but not as big a blow as Josh Scott,” said Still.

“In Paul Benson’s first year he got one goal, in Josh Scott’s first year he got 17/18 goals and we really thought Josh this year was going to be immense, but he had the problem from pre-season and we had to make sure he got it looked at and done, so we had two big misses there.

“But at the end of the season we’ve still managed to produce people like Danny Green and Romain (Vincelot) and Scott Doe and Abu Ogogo, four players that lots of other clubs are interested in.

“We do produce quality every year and we have to because of the club we are and if they have to go then we have to find the next lot. That’s what we do and I’m very proud of what we do. We do what we do and we do it fantastically well.”

With those four players likely to be high on the shopping-lists of several clubs over the summer, Daggers may be set to lose some of their star performers from this season.

But the Daggers boss is confident he will have a squad next season that will continue to do the club proud.

“I haven’t got too much work to do (over the summer),” said Still. “It’s not all done, but I know exactly what I’m doing, because that’s been going on for some time, so I’m quite relaxed about the close season.

“When we start the season we’ll be doing things that we’ve done since day one, which is working hard, trying to find the right players that can come in and be Dagenham players and however good that team will be, it won’t lack for all of the qualities required to be a Dagenham player.”

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