Joe Widdowson's loyalties may lie with Leyton Orient, but he hopes Dagenham & Redbridge can find an investor
PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 February 2018
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Ex-West Ham United full-back discusses the situation at Victoria Road and backs the younger players at the club to take their opportunity
Joe Widdowson may be a Leyton Orient player, but he is sad to see his former club Dagenham & Redbridge in financial difficulty.
The Victoria Road outfit have had to sell Joe White, Morgan Ferrier, Sam Ling and Corey Whitely over the last few weeks while captain Scott Doe left by mutual consent and loanee Kevin Lokko returned to Stevenage early in January.
All of this occurred after Glyn Hopkin resigned as a director of Dagenham & Redbridge FC 2017 Ltd on December 18 and advised his funding for the club would be ceasing on December 31.
John Still’s side have seen their National League promotion bid fall away since, but former left-back Widdowson, who spent two-and-a-half years at Daggers, is hopeful his old side will find a new investor soon.
“It’s sad,” said the 29-year-old when asked about Dagenham’s plight. “I don’t know too much about the ins and outs of what has gone on, but I know they’re in some sort of financial difficulty.
“Hopefully they can find an investor maybe, or whatever they need to become stable again, but they have still got a good squad.
“I know a few players have left, but they have still got a good team and a good manager, so I’m sure they will be fine.”
Three consecutive defeats in January saw Daggers drop from inside the play-offs to off the pace and the last couple of weeks have continued to be challenging.
Widdowson knows a lot of the current squad at Victoria Road and is confident they will ensure the worst possible finish for Still’s team is mid-table in the National League this season.
With various big names exiting in recent weeks, the ex-West Ham United defender also believes this is potentially an opportunity for the younger members of the side to step up for Daggers.
Last season, when Orient were in financial trouble, the likes of Steven Alzate, Sam Dalby and Tristan Abrahams impressed in League Two and all three have since earned moves to Brighton & Hove Albion, Leeds United and Norwich City respectively.
Given Dagenham’s part in the careers of Dwight Gayle, Paul Benson, Danny Green, Matt Ritchie and many more, the next big thing at the club could be discovered during the next couple of months.
“I know Daggers have fallen away a bit from the top part of the league, but I am sure they will be fine this year,” said Widdowson.
“Maybe this will be a chance for the younger guys to step up and Dagenham has always been about giving youngsters an opportunity to play and then moving them on. I am sure there will be chances for the younger boys and hopefully it can be good for them.”