Dagenham & Redbridge v Birmingham City
Tuesday, July 31st, 2007, 7.45pm
By Tim Dixon
As an exiled Birmingham fan I took it upon myself to take in my first reserve game for 12 years and my first reserve fixture away from home. To call this a reserve fixture maybe a doing a disservice to the players on show for Birmingham as the squad was split between Dagenham and the game at Peterborough. As far as I could tell the Daggers had a mainly first team on show.
I live locally so my journey was fairly simple although I would warn that you should allow extra time for dealing with the roads around Dagenham especially if your heading for a night fixture as I was. It took me an hour and a half to get to the ground which is 15 miles from where I live. The traffic was due mainly to a problem on the M25 which affected the A127 and then the A12 which in turn effects all the local roads. I'll take the train on my next visit!
Approaching the ground is one of those experiences that I've missed since the growth of my own club and the acceleration of stadium developments from the clubs in the upper echelons of the football pyramid. Suffice to say I was excited and looking forward to the game a whole lot more when I saw a bit of the past still alive.
The ground itself is three sides terracing and one side covered seating. The terracing behind the goals are uncovered with the stand running along the pitch being covered. The terracing is in a bowl effect with only the seating area not attached As it was a pre season game there wasn't any segregation for the three blue shirted away fans, although the beauty of terracing and the type of ground that Dagenham have got is that you can stroll around the terraces with ease. There are some areas of away terracing that are obstructed but as I saw it you just simply wouldn't stand there, so no real problem.
The entry to the game was a real treat, for a change, as it was only £8 on the gate with the price reduced from £12 but it appears that most games range from £15 to £19 for an adult depending on where you sit or stand.
Although I don't eat the grub at football I took a look at what was on offer and the vast range of refreshments. I was in the Home end so I wouldn't be sure of away provisions. The food looked great and was cooked in front of you and not wrapped in foil and kept barely warm in an oven like at so many of the modern day stadiums.
The game itself was a disappointment for me as a Birmingham fan as it seemed some of the players probably wanted to be a the Peterborough game and the 4-1 loss probably showed this quite well. The Daggers looked like a tam capable of survival in the football league and possibly building on that.
The home fans were friendly but as there was only 450 or so its hard to assume if the masses would also be as friendly, but I would pretty much assume so.
Getting away from the ground was easy, but I was at a pre season game and I did manage to park inside the ground which wouldn't be an option on a normal home game.
I would certainly recommend a day out in Dagenham to anyone that is looking for a day out in Dagenham or just a visit to a real local club with a stadium that would have the luddites swooning for more.
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