It’s a double delight for D’s boss Collins
PUBLISHED: 11:21 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 12:49 11 August 2010
Dagenham head coach Mark Collins lavished praise on his team as they clinched a place in London League Four after victory over Millwall at the weekend, writes MIKE SIMMONDS. The 32-21 success ensured that the D s were crowned Essex One champions by two po
Dagenham head coach Mark Collins lavished praise on his team as they clinched a place in London League Four after victory over Millwall at the weekend, writes MIKE SIMMONDS.
The 32-21 success ensured that the D's were crowned Essex One champions by two points from second-placed Maldon, and concluded a superb season, in which they also won the Essex President's Shield.
"It's been a great double this year," said a delighted Collins.
"Whatever standard you play, not many sides can say they have done that, so it's a superb achievement.
"The celebrations carried on at the club afterwards too, 'We are the champions' was blaring out of the speakers, it was tremendous."
It's been a glorious year for the Central Park outfit as after suffering two defeats in their opening five games, they then won a stunning 13 league matches in a row to take the title.
One of the main factors that Collins believes is behind the success, is a greater strength in depth to chose from.
"The main reason we have done so well is that we have a bigger squad to cover injury and unavailability," he said.
"If we had gone into the season with the same size squad as last year, then I think we would have done the same and been back in fourth again.
"This time we have been able to push forward though and we need to increase the squad again next season as it is very important.
"If you look at our record this year, we have lost three games in all competitions and not one of them has been by more than seven points, which is pretty good going!"
With promotion now in the bank, Collins will meet with the club's hierarchy to discuss a new deal, and his stock is presumably pretty high after Saturday's result.
"I will have a chat with the chairman and vice-chairman this week and see if we can extend my deal for another 12 months," he said.
"When I took over five years ago, we were second bottom in Essex Two, so it's taken us sometime to get there, but it's what we've been aiming for.
"It's a collective thing too, because it's not all about me, the players have really pulled together and been fantastic this year.
"I'd like to thank my two right hand men, Neil Davis and Peter McMullen-Bell, while my skipper Ben Fowler has led the side superbly since I've been here."
Already inhabiting London Four North East are the likes of Billericay, Canvey Isl-and and Upminster.
Despite future battles with lofty opponents, Collins is not looking for consolidation and is already aiming higher!
"How long is a piece of string?" he said when asked what the club's long-term ambition was.
"We will be trying to get out of London Four now, whether it's in a year or two or three.
"Nothing in the league scares us as we have come up against teams like South Woodham and Billericay before.
"There are some big clubs with vast youth systems, but that is something we are trying to achieve.
"We can't take our foot off the pedal now and must keep marching on, and that's what I intend to do.