Daggers captain Moore has fondest memories of 1980 Trophy triumph
PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:20 17 May 2020
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When Dagenham won the FA Trophy 40 years ago it was a case of fourth time lucky for captain Denis Moore at Wembley Stadium.
The central defender led Daggers to a 2-1 win over Mossley on May 17, 1980 after suffering defeat on three previous trips during the 1970s.
And he admitted it was the undoubted highlight of his 933-game career with the Victoria Road club.
He said: “It was marvellous. I couldn’t believe it, having not done it the first three times.
“After the final whistle went, I was going round shaking everyone’s hand and the officials were going mad, telling me I had to go up and get the trophy.
“I’m not a great singer but I got up on stage back at Dagenham and was leading the signing. I must have had a few drinks.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone was the only thing I knew the words to, but I wasn’t on my own, I was with the rest of the players. It was really enjoyable.”
Moore was 31 at the time and working as a foreign exchange dealer in a London bank, with 14 England amateur caps to his name.
Dagenham’s previous trips to the home of football had ended in Amateur Cup final losses to Enfield in 1971 and Skelmersdale United a year later, then a Trophy final defeat to Scarborough in 1977 when Moore was captain.
He added: “Tony Bass broke his leg in the semi-final before the Enfield game which took a large amount of our attacking ability away.
“The Horse of the Year trials had been held at Wembley and the pitch was horrific, it was over your ankles.
“We were well and truly murdered by one of the five goals was a headed own goal from the edge of the 18-yard box. Johnny Daniels was coming into our box to head the ball back to Ian (Huttley), but he slipped over and couldn’t move and it went in.
“We didn’t play well the year after, so could have no excuses, but then we were 1-0 up (in 1977) with about 10 minutes to go and playing really well.
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“They were a good side, though, and we couldn’t feel ashamed at losing like in the previous two.”
The run to the 1980 final began with a 1-0 win at Dorchester Town and Moore recalled the need to have a few words with their striker George Duck.
“It was the first time he’d played in the Trophy and was taking it all too lightly. We were having a go at him. He was a nice fella but he was smiling too much,” he said.
An impressive 5-0 win at Stalybridge Celtic was followed by a replay win over Burton Albion and home success against Nuneaton Borough, before Woking were seen off 7-2 on aggregate in the two-legged semi-final.
As for the big day at Wembley, Daggers took a 15th-minute lead when Joe Durrell crossed for Duck to find the top corner, but Ian Smith levelled early in the second half and Mossley applied plenty of pressure.
Daggers broke out to win it, though, as 22-year-old Chris Maycock capped a fairytale finish to a season, having been playing parks football a year earlier.
Moore added: “He had long legs, was very quick. Not the greatest footballer, but he got a goal at Wembley. He turned right, left, right again, I thought he’d lost the chance.
“We had three really good goalscorers with him, Ricky Kidd and George Duck. They were out and out forwards. We played 4-3-3 with two tiny lads, Steve Jones and Joe Durrell, on the wings. Somehow we used to beat people!
“It was Eddie Pressland’s first season as manager and he’d made some difficult decisions to get rid of certain players. They were big changes but it worked.”
Goalkeeper Ian Huttley had also played in the previous three final losses and Moore said: “He was a super keeper. Quiet, but very reliable and a great stalwart. He played 901 games and I played 933!”
Peter Wellman, Joe Dunwell, Jimmy Holder and Terry Scales were also survivors from the 1977 final, with Moore adding: “Jimmy was injured and struggling with his fitness. He wasn’t happy being sub but it was the right decision. ‘Welly’ was a good lad, a singer and a dancer and I’ve not seen him since!
“Terry I still see quite a lot. He was a very good player, ex-pro, and we went to Ernie Jones’ funeral a few months ago.
“Joe was another super player. You could play him anywhere in the side. The majority of us played 300-400 games minimum, much different to now. Then you lived close to the team you played for.”
Road to Wembley glory
R1: Dorchester Town 0 Dagenham 1 (Duck) R2: Stalybridge Celtic 0 Dagenham 5 (Maycock 2, Kidd 3) R3: Burton Albion 1 Dagenham 1 (Maycock) Replay: Dagenham 3 (Dunwell, Duck, Maycock) Burton Albion QF: Dagenham 3 (Duck 2, Kidd) Nuneaton Borough 2 SF1: Woking 1 Dagenham 3 (Holder, Kidd 2) SF2: Dagenham 4 (Maycock, Kidd 2, Roche) Woking 1 (7-2 on agg) Final: Dagenham 2 (Duck, Maycock) Mossley 1
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