The 99p football match
Victoria Road, Dagenham
You don't get much for 99p these days. It won't get you anywhere near a pint in most pubs, a matchday pie at a ground, or even a lottery ticket, but that was the price of an adult terrace ticket at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. Juniors got in for 25p.
It was the second Daggers against Racism day and, not surprisingly, the enticing ticket prices resulted in a season-high attendance of 4,446 at Victoria Road.
The League One fixture was also non-segregation, with supporters of the Daggers shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts from MK Dons.
Always a sucker for a bargain, I travelled across London to see what it was all about, experience the atmosphere and find out what the east London club were hoping to achieve.
The brainchild of chief executive Steve Thompson, the first Daggers against Racism day took place on 20 March 2010, with the home team defeating Macclesfield 3-1 in front of 3,721.
Thompson wanted to use the day to make a statement about the club's attitude towards racism; that racism was completely unacceptable and would not be tolerated it in any form.
It was an election year and Nick Griffin of the British National Party was standing for election in Barking & Dagenham. At the time the BNP had 12 seats on the Barking & Dagenham Council, all of which they lost in the election.
"People have said to me that we do not have a racism problem at the club but I think that doing these campaigns makes some supporters aware of what they are doing in everyday life," Thompson told me.
"Chances are that some of our supporters have voted BNP but they follow a multi-cultural football team. Sometimes they cannot see the connection."
Thompson chose the fixture against Macclesfield because he did not think it would be particularly well attended. Macc were not expected to bring more than 60-70 away fans, while the Daggers were not on a great run of form.
Another reason was that Keith Alexander was the boss of Macclesfield. Alexander was the first full-time professional black manager in the Football League and regarded as an inspirational figure by many in the game. Tragically, he died a few weeks prior to the fixture taking place.
Thompson regarded last year's game as a success. He always wanders around the terraces at the club for the first 30 minutes of a match and did so against during the home fixture after the Macclesfield fixture.
What struck him was not only the number of families he did not recognise but also a small but definite increase in people from ethnic minorities. Slowly but surely, he felt, the Daggers against Racism day could be used to build and diversify their fanbase.
Both last year's fixture and Saturday's match against MK Dons were endorsed by the Show Racism the Red Card and Kick It Out campaigns. The mayors of Barking and Dagenham and Milton Keynes were there on Saturday, as was the head of Barking & Dagenham Council and key figures from the Football League and the local NHS Trust.
"These people and bodies are our partners in other things and what we did on Saturday put the spotlight on the club," added Thompson. "For a small club it is difficult to get people talking about us but Saturday did that. It raises our profile."
It is clear how much importance Thompson places of reaching out to the local community and ensuring they have the opportunity to watch their local team.
"I went to school in Dagenham and know that it is one of the poorest boroughs in the country," he said. "There were people who watched us on Saturday who could not normally afford to do so even with our cheap £6 terrace ticket for people aged seven to 18.
"Saturday gave an awful lot of people, especially young kids, a great day out."
Several fans discussed the match on 606 on Radio 5 live, when the game was featured on Late Kick Off on Monday. A lot of the talk focused on the non-segregation aspect of the day.
Personally speaking, Saturday reminded me how much I used to enjoy watching football from a terrace; the proximity to other supporters, the simultaneous swaying of the crowd as they try to follow the action and the boisterous atmosphere that a relatively small group of people can create.
Nonetheless, the non-segregation aspect resulted in a slightly disorientating experience. Football fans are used to being able to see the opposition supporters in one specific section, chanting and singing in their direction. At times on Saturday, MK Dons forward Luke Chadwick had the ball close to the terrace and received abuse and support from the same area at the same time.
The visiting side struck the only goal of the game deep into injury-time, with Mark Carrington's long-range strike somehow eluding goalkeeper Tony Roberts.
With the Daggers battling for their League One survival - they are seven points from safety - it was a bitter blow and emotions ran high. Angry words were exchanged between supporters on the terrace, prompting stewards to intervene with the assistance of police.
It was a small blot on what I thought was a positive day for football.
"You cannot have segregation every week but in a cynical world it is nice to know that sometimes you can do these type of things," added Thompson.
As with last season's match against Macclesfield, Thompson had deliberately targeted the fixture against MK Dons. It was against a team with a small travelling support and there was no history of trouble from their support base.
Thompson tapped up the club's sponsors to help offset the financial shortfall caused by the reduced ticket prices, which, incidentally, were inspired by the cost of a burger at a well-known fast-food chain.
The Daggers did lose money on Saturday, although their takings were not much less than could have been expected for a low-key fixture in January against a team with a modest away support.
The main focus for everyone at Dagenham & Redbridge is staying up and the implications of doing so will be significant for a club that has never before competed so far up the Engllish football ladder.
But it is difficult to put a price on the lasting legacy generated by their 99p offer.