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London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium
  Dagenham & Redbridge  v Southampton
League One
Monday, January 3rd, 2011, 3pm

Paul Bartlett

(Southampton fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was looking forward to visiting Dagenham because the Saints were in good form running up to this, sitting 2nd in League One. Plus it was a chance to sample a recent non league ground and get close to the players.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Me and my mate took the official coach up the ground, we left at 10.30 am from St Mary's and arrived at Dagenham at 1 pm, very easy journey with no hold ups, and Dagenham seemed a very easy place to find apart from the ground which you do not actually see until your directly outside. The coach parked on the road next to the stadium, as did many cars.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

There wasn't much around the ground if truth be told, apart from a chippy just across the road with a West Ham badge on it, which was bordered up so not much help. There were also a couple of petrol stations nearby, which is where my mate decided to go grab a bite to eat, only to later discover that the food in ground is very good, big portions at reasonable prices. The home fans were very friendly and so were the police surprisingly, getting involved with the banter between the fans.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

You can really tell that Dagenham until recently were a non league team, there was a family stand to our right which was very small and looked like the only stand with seats all the others were terracing and very poor, the away end however is great. Modern, lots of legs room and great views of the action, plus the players tunnel was at our end which is a bit bizarre, and the stewards were very laid back so we could stand right next tunnel and watch players come out to train (not for the kick off though, sadly)

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The atmosphere was great, Saints fans singing their hearts out for 90 minutes, the daggers fans would break into song occasionally but were generally quiet, the stewards were great very very laid back, had nice conversation with one of them, talking me through daggers history, the toilets were of a poor standard, you were guaranteed to have to queue for them, just like the food. There was a disabled toilet just across from the main toilets which didn't seem to get used that much so a few fans used that instead.

The game itself was fairly controlled by Saints and after going 2-0 up in the second half, it looked as if all three points were safe. However Dagenham pulled one back to make it 2-1 and then hit the underside of the cross bar from a free kick. It was a relief to see Ricky Lambert score to make it 3-1 to Southampton.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away was very easy, hopped back on the coach, we hit no congestion and there didn't seem to be any elsewhere, within 20 minutes we were back on the M25 heading home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Dagenham is well worth visiting, its a chance to get up close to your teams players, and to sample a recent non league ground,  however by League One standards it is fairly poor and I will not be in a rush to go back.

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited Dagenham & Redbridge recently?
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