Dagenham & Redbridge chairman Freund reveals all the high and lows
- Credit: Archant
Our Dagenham & Redbridge blogger Keane Handley caught up with club chairman Peter B.Freund on all things from last season’s disappointment to what the future holds.
In an exclusive interview he gave some great insights into his experiences of English football and potential upcoming announcements.
We spoke about his time at Dagenham so far with the highs and lows discussed, when asked about his lowest point Freund told me, “100% having to sack Peter Taylor,” though he felt it was the right decision, the executive chairman continued with praise, “He [Peter Taylor] taught me more about English football than I knew prior to meeting him” – the former Three Lions manager was dubbed ‘a mentor’ by Freund.
From the lows, we moved to the highs, and the New York Yankees minority shareholder said that ‘there were a few’ highs then picked out the winter wonderland we were in in 2018 where we defeated Orient on Boxing Day and then went up to Salford – defeating them 1-2. Both sides went on to get promoted that campaign; Peter Freund described those encounters as ‘big moments.’
Another high he recalled fondly was the journey of young Dagger Finley, who was a mascot at the club with cerebral palsy they helped with surgery, Freund continued smiling, “He is now literally walking and running, those are the types of things that really warm our hearts”. Dwelling on community work, Freund spoke of the success of Diversity Day, stating “these are the types of ways we can really make a difference”.
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On what he has learnt coming into the world of English Football, the Principal Owner of Trinity Sports Holdings spoke of how “everything takes a bit longer than I thought” pointing to improvements to the ground that took 18 months longer than expected.
But also turning to matters on the pitch, he spoke of how ‘tough’ English football is and it’s tougher than expected to get promoted – shocked at how thing can change “in the 92nd minute.”
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On the current situation at the club, Peter said the retained list should be released around August 1; recognising it’s important for the fans to know who will be there next season and provide certainty on that front.
Also, in a message to supporters he “appreciated their patience” in what he described as being a ‘learning curve’ for them as owners.
Also praising the fans’ ‘positivity’ claiming they had been ‘tremendous’ and thanking them for not really losing patience with us [owners]’. Freund went on to claim their ambitions of securing League status were ‘legitimate and pure’ and emphasised the joint commitment of the staff at the club to achieve that.
The main line to fans from the Executive Chairman was “Our goals are the same”, despite this pandemic, music to many Daggers’ ears.
Also reassuring supporters that “We will be back, the club will be back and we’ll put a strong team on the field”.
Looking ahead, and on what he called ‘the million-dollar question’ as to whether fans would be allowed to spectate from the beginning of next season, Freund replied, “We expect to be able to have limited fans; what that means is maybe 25-30% capacity”.
With a capacity of around 6,000, that would mean perhaps 1,500 supporters or so being allowed in the ground which he described as ‘not atypical’.
On boosting crowd numbers and attendance, the Chairman said ‘the easiest way to do that is obviously to win’ admitting perhaps ‘he didn’t realise that as much’ as he does today. However, he also hinted at an upcoming partnership deal which he believes ‘will excite fans’, stating, ‘it will help boost the attendances but also the recognition of the club.’