Monday, 2 May 2011

All Hail King Romain

This man has stood out from the rest this season. Romain Vincelot, the Frenchman signed on a free transfer after having been out of contract for six months after leaving FC Guegnon has made a giant impact on Victoria Road towards the back end of last season, but more notably in this campaign. After starting his career at Chamois Nortais and staying their for four years in the French lower leagues he eventually moved to FC Guegnon in 2008 where he made 20 first team appearances as a right back without scoring a goal.

His break however came in January 2010. After being spotted by a friend of Dagenham & Redbridge manager John Still in a French 6 a side competition, JS was notified of him. He was brought over to England in the back of a van, such immaculate style and trialed in a few behind closed doors games. Low and behold a week or so later he was signed on a two year deal. Since then he has blossomed into a player that everyone loves at Victoria Road.

He played his first game in the 2-1 defeat at Shrewsbury Town, coming on in the 70th minute in place of Josh Scott after Scott Doe had been sent off, since then he's been transformed from a full back into possibly one of the best central midfielders in league one and a firm favourite in our part of Essex. He rose to prominance in Dagenham's vital match against Burton Albion where he fired in a spectacular 40 yard goal after keeping hold of the ball through several challenges. Helping the Daggers with their first promotion in the Football League and being denied arguably one of the best Wembley goals ever by a fine Warrington save capped off a superb five months in Essex.

Those early performances had secured him a role in John Still's side in central midfield, the constant work and determination of the Frenchman made him loved by all at Viccy Road. This season he's been even better, the Daggers standout player in our fight for survival. Not only has he shown himself as a workhorse, a battler and great character, but he has emerged with a goalscoring side to his game, usually with his head. He must be one of the best headerers of a football I've seen, scoring nearly all of his 12 goals this season with his nut. What makes it all the more remarkable is his size, at only 5ft 10in it's extraordinary how he manages to leap above players much taller than him and get the ball. My personal favourite though, must be the one he scored against Colchester United, Danny Green whipped a ball in and Vincelot got his head to it and some how directed it beyond the Colchester goalkeeper and in. He ended up with concussion afterwards after going into the back of the defenders head as well, he went off to applause from all sides of the ground. Saying that the brace he scored to secure a first victory in League One against Leyton Orient were very sweet indeed.

He has recently been linked with a number of Championship clubs, including Norwich City. I would personally like to say that should he leave during the Summer, what a great servant he has been to this club and I'm more than confident he is able to cut it at a higher level. With any hope however it won't come to that, but I'm resigned to the fact should a good offer come in then he will be leaving our little corner of Essex.

Romain epitomises Dagenham & Redbridge players, fans and staff alike. He never gives up on a cause, if he loses the ball, he will always chase back and win it back, bringing applause from the Daggers supporters. He's tireless, you'll always see him running up and down the pitch with non stop energy, the fearlessness of the man is unique, getting concussion at Colchester clearly showing that. He has got that never say die spirit that every Dagger should have, imagine him & Stuart Thurgood in the Daggers middle, magnificent. This little Frenchman won the Daggers player of the year and deservedly so, I cannot even remember him having many bad games this season and his ability to lift the lads and score vital goals will always be remembered during and after his time here.

King Romain of Victoria Road.

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