Strevens upbeat over Daggers chances
BEN STREVENS insists that Dagenham & Redbridge have nothing to worry about as they prepare for another season in League Two. Strevens joined Sam Saunders and Danny Foster by moving to newly-promoted League One Brentford last week, leaving Daggers short of
BEN STREVENS insists that Dagenham & Redbridge have nothing to worry about as they prepare for another season in League Two, writes MIKE SIMMONDS.
Strevens joined Sam Saunders and Danny Foster by moving to newly-promoted League One Brentford last week, leaving Daggers short of three of their most important players.
Throw into the mix Matt Ritchie's return to Portsmouth and the potential departure of Magnus Okuonghae, then the club could find their third season in the Football League a difficult proposition.
Not according to Strevens though, as he told the Recorder: "If it was any other club then I would say they would struggle, but the way the gaffer is and how he works his magic, I think they have got a really good chance of doing well," said Strevens, who scored 14 goals last season and 40 in his time at the club.
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"When we lost Craig Mackail-Smith and Shane Blackett, people thought we wouldn't get promotion from the Conference, but the gaffer went out and got the likes of me and Mark Arber in, and we did it.
"He has a knack of spotting players in the non-league scene and isn't afraid to give them a chance.
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"He can be hard and have a go at you, but you know it's for the right reasons and he makes the club such a good place to be around that you enjoy coming into work every day.
"When that happens, you will always play your best football, so I'm sure they will be alright."
The one slight disappointment for Strevens is that Daggers are not claiming a fee for his and his team-mates services, as all three were out of contract.
"It is a shame that it happened this way and I do feel bad about it, because we have all gone for nothing," he said, after turning down a move to Wycombe in the transfer window.
"I spoke to the boss in January when Wycombe came in, it wasn't a massive amount of money, but it was a sum of money. I said if you want to accept it, then you can and I will talk to them, but we decided that we should wait and see what happens with Dagenham.
"If I had have left then, it would have been with a bit of regret, because I wanted to see where we could finish."
Daggers almost made the play-offs, only to lose against Shrewsbury on the final day of the season, and had the result been reversed, then Strevens might not have had to make such a tough decision on his future.
"If we had have gone up, then I'm sure we could have come to an agreement," he said.
"We had all been looking at getting into League One, but on the final day of the season it hit me that we hadn't done it, and it was a realisation that it could be my last game for the club.
"At this stage of my career, the chance to stay in London and play League One football, I really couldn't turn it down.
"It wasn't long ago I was playing for Crawley in front of not too many people, so it hasn't quite hit me yet that I will be running out at the likes of Leeds and Southampton."
It is with a heavy heart that Strevens has moved away from Victoria Road, but he has only taken good memories with him.
"I've really enjoyed my time there," he said.
"I was a bit worried that being a north London boy, the fans might not take to me, but they were fantastic.
"I'll be down there to watch the boys when I'm not playing and cheer them on, they've got such a good group of players there.
"Going up from the Conference was such a high moment for me, but the one that really sticks out for me is the game against Darlington in our first season when we stayed up.
"We all thought it would go to the last game of the season, so to come through and win that, we all came back on the train having a few drinks, it was a great day."
And Strevens enjoyed his time with the club so much, that he didn't rule out a return to Victoria Road sometime down the line.
"I've got such a good relationship with the gaffer that if anything was to go wrong, then it would be one of the first that I looked to," he said.
"Naturally, I hope I go to Brentford, do as well as I can and play well enough to earn a new deal to stay there for the foreseeable future, but football being the way it is, you never know what will happen.
"The way it would work though was that he probably wouldn't want me back now anyway!"
How well did Ben Strevens do for Daggers in his time at Victoria Road? Email: email@example.com
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