National Leagues

Dagger Daryl Is Happy To Keep On Rolling The Dice

Daryl McMahon isn’t one to shy away from making those tricky big decisions, at home or in football.

“I have to put the paddling pool away every day at the moment,” the Dagenham & Redbridge manager sighed.

“My two daughters aren’t happy about that, obviously. They’re not happy about much at the moment to be honest!

“I decided that’s the only way it’s going to stop the dogs causing absolute chaos in the garden but it hasn’t gone down well as it takes a while to refill every day.

“It’s great to be spending time with the girls but it’s not taken long to start missing football!”

After the year he’s had, some may say he could do with a sunny break.

Starting the season out of work before an all-too brief spell at troubled Macclesfield, succeeding Sol Campbell wasn’t what he had hoped it would be.

He made his latest big decision after four months in the job before more thinking had to be done.

Destination Dagenham it was to be, but after an impressive seven games the coronavirus pulled the rug from under him with the club finally looking steady on their feet.

It was put to the Irishman that it’s been a season to forget. Far from it, it seems.

“Not at all,” he stressed. “Actually, it’s been anything but a bad season – I have learned so much, it could be a really important one for my development. It’s given me so many things to take away from it.

“I was offered the chance to manage Macclesfield and although everyone knew things weren’t perfect there I just had to do it.

“I was 35. You don’t get to manage in the Football League aged 35. You don’t get the chance to fulfil an ambition as big as that so I had to grab it.

“I loved managing in the EFL. I loved the boys too, they’re a great group who just got on with it despite the obvious problems the club was going through. They were young, in a way the role was more that of an U23 coach.

“I decided to leave when it all became just a bit too much, but to go was very difficult. It was a big decision for me.”

He’s used to those. McMahon quit football when he was 31, a player so well regarded during a career which took in stints at Dover, Boreham Wood, Farnborough, Stevenage, Leyton Orient and Ebbsfleet.

It was there, of course, where his managerial high came – taking the Fleet up in the most dramatic National League South play-off final against Chelmsford City in 2017.

“Leaving football at 31 was a big one for me,” he said. “I’m not scared of that kind of decision as I knew coaching and management is what I want to do with my life.

“I went in at Tottenham’s academy and also set up Ebbsfleet’s – it’s where my passion really lies and I knew it was the right thing to do for my career and for my progression in the game.

“What goes for me is that I have a lot to learn and a lot to hopefully achieve. Maybe some would have stayed on but this is what I needed to do.”

daryl mcmahon dagenham

At Dagenham it’s different to what he endured at Macclesfield, but wealthy new owners doesn’t mean a totally different approach to what he had to work with at Moss Rose.

He adds: “I had dinner with Peter and Craig before all the problems and they are such fantastic people – they love the club, they are top guys and they’re great company. They stepped in and when Dagenham was in danger they gave it a future again.

“It’s not a case of them coming in and throwing money around. That’s not what this is all about.

“There’s a good number of young players here and they’re investing in them. And bringing them on is a part of what I do.”

On next season, he said: “Everyone needs to be better and everyone needs to realise that this season wasn’t what it could have been.

“We don’t need to be making wholesale changes. We have an experienced spine and some real prospects.

“Since I came in we averaged nearly two points per game. If we’re more aggressive then next season we can really push things on.”

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