Update: Dagenham football history erased in arson attack

Daggers fans have been left devastated after a supporters’ club containing irreplaceable football programmes from past decades was destroyed in an arson attack.

Football bosses are assessing the damage after thousands of FA cup final and Dagenham & Redbridge programmes dating back to the Fifties were reduced to ash at the Victoria Road site yesterday.

A VIP box was also broken into and pipes were ripped off toilet walls hours after Dagenham & Redbridge thrashed Rotherham 5 - 0 on Saturday.

Dagenham & Redbridge boss Steve Thompson, 52, said: “The collection of programmes destroyed had been the result of 10 years hard work by two of our most dedicated supporters.

“It was recognised as one of the best in the country and an individual or individuals looking for something valuable have in fact destroyed a collection of programmes that was priceless.

“My heart goes out to the two supporters involved. Some of the programmes are irreplaceable.”

Supporters’ club members John Chapman and Russell Elmes helped to gather the collection believed to have included programmes from all 92 football league clubs.

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Mr Chapman, 65, said: “It’s a great tragedy. I feel very upset for the supporters and this bit of football history for the club.”

One fan wrote on a forum: “Gutted all the paper history of the club has gone.” Another branded the arson attack “despicable”.

Around 15 firefighters tackled the blaze at 5.30am on Sunday. The fire was brought under control half an hour later.

CCTV has been looked at but arrests had yet to been made today.

Ch Insp Richard Goodwin said: “Dagenham and Redbridge FC is a valued family focused asset for the borough and I hope that anyone who has information concerning this incident will recognise this and contact police without delay.”

The League 2 club is appealing to others clubs to rebuild the collection.

A spokesman said: “The supporters’ club office was broken into and set alight, a truly mindless act.

“We will be appealing for help to restock the shop.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.