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daggers15Once again, deja vu strikes…

There’s a slight bit of do-I-have-to-write-about-this-shit about Lada 0 Ford 1, although I hope that doesn’t come through too much in this writeup.

If it does though, it will be better than what last night proved to be.

I guess it had one of those evenings as soon as I got there – a broken down coach from the Netherlands (which still wasn’t sorted by the time the game had finished), the back bar closed because of too many people complaining about the cold in the carvery, and Jamie Cureton playing against us.

The game didn’t improve matters much either. It’s just something you’ve come to expect these days, sadly. We have a lot of possession, but absolutely no cutting edge whatsoever.

And that’s not the first or last time you’ll read that this campaign.

The fact their goal – scored by you-know-who, assisted by Ben Wilson – managed to surprise absolutely nobody tells its own story. Although it has to be said, it managed to look even worse on the replay than it did at the ground.

Perhaps the worrying thing about last night was, we still had more than enough time to get something yet we didn’t look like equalising. It almost felt like somebody had (or has) ripped the guts out of this team.

It doesn’t help when NA does one of his erm, “sophisticated” tactical manoevers. There’s obviously something in the UEFA coaching manual about putting on Elliott instead of Azeez against a tiring defence…

Reading his OS interview this morning, it does sound like he thinks it was an unlucky defeat. It wasn’t. Yes, their goal was a suckerpunch, but with a bit more conviction we would have easily got the three points ourselves.

You do have to question why, after 9 points from a possible nine, it’s now gone to 2 points from the same amount of games. Which could have been just one if it wasn’t for Azeez.

Over-confidence? Misplaced arrogance? Or simply forgetting that two of the three teams we beat about a month ago were absolute horseshit…?

Plus points: At least there was a full time whistle.

Minus points: 1945-2145 (the times, not the years)

The referee’s a…: Nobody having a go at him afterwards, unlike Saturday. Although by the sounds of it, even a hybrid of Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder and Jeff Winter would have been a better official.

Them: Your editor covered Daggers on Saturday, against Oxford, and TBH I’m not surprised they did the dirty on us last night. Yes, they’re limited as a team – that’s why they’re down the bottom – but they were unlucky to lose over the weekend.

And they have enough spirit to suggest they’ll be playing us again next season in League Two.

As a club, D&R are clearly one that belongs in the Conference (not meant in a nasty way), their turnout for a game across London shows that.

Lest we forget, they are an amalgation of Dagenham, Redbridge Forest, Leytonstone, Illford, Walthamstow Central, Plaistow Colts u11 and a couple of pub teams based near Upney station. So they’re not going to be the biggest supported club.

But here’s a stat for you – Daggers got promoted to the Football League in 2007, and got promoted to League One in 2010. Our main achievement in the Football League in three years was avoiding going back to non-league football by eighteen minutes…

Oh, and I’ve decided we should make a bid for Cureton in January, if only to stop him scoring against us ever again. OK, we’ll probably end up ruining him as a striker, once we get a few training sessions down him, but that will be enough payback.

Point to ponder: I know the idea this season was to make sure we didn’t suffer more striker upheaval in January, but should we cash in on Akinfenwa and Elliott if we can?

Look, AA is a good bloke to speak to, markets himself very well, and the club gets a bit of publicity too. But it just doesn’t seem to be working for him (and us) this campaign now.

To be fair to him, he knows that he’s only going to get one more big payday in his footballing career, and if the occasionally mooted MLS deal comes around early next year, he’d be stupid to turn it down.

As would we.

Elliott was clearly bought in for the 3-4-3 experiment that got torpedoed after 135 minutes of the season. Since then, he’s only been bit-part, and last night wouldn’t have won him many more admirers.

You could imagine a Conference side pushing for promotion/survival to look at him in just over a month’s time. Maybe the dreaded Woking loan is going to come into play here? Be honest – you wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

This all said, both will probably stay until May, but if they didn’t – then what? That would be a good test for the club (see below for why) as it will force us to twist or stick – do we go for playoffs, and risk failure? Do we sit back and repeat the season pretty much fading out in February, like it has done for the past couple of seasons?

Actually, those questions would arise regardless of transfers out. There does seem to be a growing sense that we have to be doing something on the field now we’ve stabilised as a L2 outfit – and you can’t bore the fanbase for too long…

Point to ponder: 1) Shitloads of Dutch people enjoying pre-game hospitality. Apparently a guest of…… 2) Boris Becker. Who was there last night. No truth to the rumour that all cupboards were checked at various points of the evening.

Anything else? So, how good are we really? The answer is quite blunt – not as good as we think we are.

We’re in a sort of weird purgatory right now. We’re good enough to only ever skirt above the fringes of relegation in a bad spell, but that’s about it really.

We have enough to bounce back from a Morecambe debacle, and get wins when we really need them, but we just can’t make that next step forward.

Last night was a good example of that – a team with legitimate playoff hopes would have won that, yet these sort of games elude us even more than ever.

During the “point to ponder” section, your editor pontificated about January, and whether we’d spend money to make a proper fist of it in 2016. TBH I’m not sure what the club is going to do, especially if we slip back before then.

It seems that the whole NPL thing continues to distract matters, as though we can’t do anything until it’s either approved, or we spend half the year dealing with appeals.

As far as distractions go, it’s not a bad one to have, and whatever happens when LBM finally meet it will make the stuff on the field an afterthought.

But how long can even that continue to hold things up? I mention this because somebody on Twatter last night made a comment that the current setup is more content to have a club than to progress it.

And there’s some truth in that. I know that KM limits things etc etc, that we need a positive response from Crown House etc etc, but there does seem to be an apprehension about moving things forward.

Whether that’s just waiting for the green light or something else entirely remains unclear, but you do have to give punters a bit more than just telling them they should be happy to have a club.

I noticed the booing at the end of the game last night. Frustration, undoubtedly, but it went on for a little bit longer than just a quick one to release the annoyance. And it was more than a couple of people doing it (FTR I didn’t, although I appreciated the sentiments behind it).

Maybe the rank-and-file aren’t quite as willing to be fobbed off any longer with substandard performances with substandard results to match? If that is the case, and we continue to repeat what we’ve been doing for too long recently, things might start getting interesting…

So, was it worth it? Get fucked.

In a nutshell: We’ll probably beat Orient now.