Dagenham & Redbridge: John Still admits recent season with Daggers was toughest of 40-year managerial career
PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 May 2018
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Daggers finished 11th in National League, but were beset by off-field problems
Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still admits the most recent National League campaign has been the toughest of his managerial career to date.
The Essex club ended the term 11th in the table, though were beset by off-field problems.
After being in and around the play-off places at the turn of the year, Daggers dropped off after it was revealed former director Glyn Hopkin would cease funding the club.
That led to a number of key players departing, including Sam Ling, Morgan Ferrier and Corey Whitely.
The Victoria Road outfit rallied late in the season to offer hope of a play-off finish, but ultimately missed out by five points.
And reflecting on the season on the whole, Still admits the campaign was the most difficult of his managerial career, which spans over 40 years.
“Without doubt, this has been the toughest season I can ever remember. It’s funny how things go,” the 68-year-old told the club website.
“I’ve so much respect for the players that are here having played in the circumstances they’ve played in, such as never knowing if they’re ever going to be paid.
“The thing with players that people have to understand is that if one of them had obtained a really bad injury, like an ACL and were out for a year, and their contract was up, they would not get another deal for the next season.
“From the initial talk where we gave people the opportunity to say if it was not in their best interests, not one player said that.
“They trained unbelievably well and everyone has shown a dedication and loyalty.
“Success comes in different packages and although we didn’t win promotion, we had success this year with people, so I was proud of that.”
Despite their off-field problems, Daggers took their bid to reach the play-offs down to the final week of the season, before results went against them to rule them out.
Still’s men also ended the term with a 2-0 defeat at champions Macclesfield Town, but the manager admits he was pleased with his side’s end-of-season form in general.
“The team was terrific in the second half of the season, absolutely first-class,” he added.
“Every single one of them has not just mine, but everyone’s utmost respect for what they’ve done.”