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Former Daggers man Howell thrilled club was saved by new investors

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 January 2019

Luke Howell in action for Dagenham & Redbridge last season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Luke Howell in action for Dagenham & Redbridge last season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

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Midfielder left last summer at height of financial crisis, but is pleased club are now secure under new American owners

Luke Howell in action for Dagenham & Redbridge last season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Luke Howell in action for Dagenham & Redbridge last season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Former Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Luke Howell says he was delighted to hear about the club’s new investment earlier in the season.

The 32-year-old left Daggers last summer with the club in the midst of a financial crisis after former benefactor Glyn Hopkin withdrew his funding.

There were times when it appeared the Essex club may go under before the news in September that Trinity Sports Holdings, led by Peter B. Freund, Craig Unger and Tim Howard, were the new owners of the Vanarama National League outfit.

And as an ex-Dagger, Howell says he was thrilled when he heard the news that his former club had been saved.

Luke Howell's last appearance for Dagenham & Redbridge came at Macclesfield Town on the final day of last season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Luke Howell's last appearance for Dagenham & Redbridge came at Macclesfield Town on the final day of last season (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

“I’m pleased the club’s future has been secured because I was in meetings last season when we as players were being told that things didn’t look that great and that we’d get to the end of the season and see if an investor could be found,” said the midfielder.

“I was really pleased when that happened and they seem to be really good investors as well.

“When I was here and they were speaking to potential investors, the board were saying they weren’t going to get just any investor in because the club was in trouble and that they wanted the right investor.

“They’ve done a brilliant job in finding the right investors because they seem really positive and really involved in the club.

Luke Howell, now of Aldershot Town, came up against former employers Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Luke Howell, now of Aldershot Town, came up against former employers Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

“As a former player, I’m really pleased they’ve come out of it the other side and are now looking upwards.”

Having been out of contract last summer when Daggers were still enduring their financial struggles, Howell left to join Aldershot Town on a free transfer.

Several of his former Daggers colleagues, though, remained with the club having been under contract for the following campaign.

And Howell revealed he was relieved as much for them as he was the club on the whole when he heard the financial issues had been resolved.

“I’ve got good friends at Dagenham and when financial situations happen at football clubs, you worry about jobs and livelihoods,” he added.

“The investment coming in was great news for everyone that was still at the club and it was very pleasing.”

Prior to their financial struggles last term, Daggers had looked to be one of the main players in the battle for promotion from the National League.

Once details began to emerge of how bad things were, however, results soon started to tail off.

At the time, much of the squad denied the off-the-field issues were having an impact on their on-the-field performance.

But on reflection, Howell openly admits the financial struggles may have had a bigger affect on the players and staff than they realised at the time.

“If you’d ask me that while I was playing for Dagenham, I’d have said it didn’t have an affect, but I think looking back there may have been something in the back of our heads, especially for those who were contracted for the following year,” he said.

“I was up at the end of the season so I knew it was likely that I would be released and I was in a position to see what would happen, but it did have an affect on us.

“We lost a few players who were playing well and the financial situation may have damaged us last season, but it’s all in the past now and I’m glad it’s all sorted.”

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