Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Daggers in Focus, Mark Arber

In the second interview of this Daggers Scale feature, I got the chance to pose a series of questions submitted by supporters to former Dagenham & Redbridge captain Mark Arber. All the names of people who submitted questions have been removed, apart from one who Mark had a special message to.  A massive thanks goes to Mark for taking part, and without further ado, here's what he had to say.

1) Of the current crop of players, who do you think has the potential to play at a higher level? 

MA: I think most of the current squad have the “potential” but fulfilling that is the hardest thing for any player to do.

2) What would you class your greatest achievement as whilst at the Daggers and why?

MA: Winning the club player of the year award in our promotion season as captain, and knowing that I did it in a side which reached the highest level of football that the club has ever been too.

3) Did you enjoy playing in the Daggers style of play or would you rather have played in a more pass and move orientated approach? 

MA: I enjoyed the “winning” and being successful side of it, and having played against that style of play believe me it is very difficult to combat. But yes, I think we had the players to play a more passing game when I was at the club.

4) John is known for bringing through young players, but do you think there were any youngsters during your time at the club who you think could have made it, but were let go too early?

MA: Not really. I think the manager always encouraged the younger players to better themselves and gave them enough chances to express themselves on the pitch.

Mark signs for Dartford
5) You’re currently at Dartford and at the time of writing the Darts are 4th in the league following an impressive victory over Mansfield, how are you enjoying it at Princes Park and how are you combining it with your coaching role at Arsenal? 

MA: To be honest I was a little sceptical about continuing to play but when I decided to carry on playing on a part-time basis I had a number of offers and it made me realise I still have plenty to offer. This obviously allows me to continue to coach at Arsenal as much as I possibly can. I currently work with the Under 13’s within the Academy.

6) What coaching qualifications do you currently have and where do you see yourself in three years time with both your qualifications and role within a club?

MA: I am a Level 3 qualified coach with full FA Youth Modules. I am due to take my A Licence in the summer of 2013. I am going to play for as long as the body allows, so touch wood in 3 years I will still be playing somewhere.

7) Was your release a bit of a shock, or were you aware of it in advance? 

MA: It was probably the biggest shock of my footballing career. Due to the circumstances, I found it very difficult to swallow.

8) Can you tell us a story from the dressing room/training ground that no one will have heard before?

MA: Not many people know this but in all the time I was there we always had pictures of players on the walls of the dressing room who had got us to where we are now. 

9) You were captain for at least one of our 6-0 wins, what sort of game is that to be a part of? How did you feel as captain to win 6-0 in the Play off Semi Finals? (Auntie Merge from the forum)

Arbs celebrates the 2nd leg win vs Morecambe
MA: Pretty easy from a defensive point of view. I think the performance against Morecambe that day was the best Daggers one I have ever seen or played in. I recently watched the game again and honestly believe on that day we would have beat anyone (PS Hope your headaches are getting better xxx)

10) Who was your favourite centre back partner and favourite player to have played alongside whilst at the Daggers in general? 

MA: Anwar Uddin. I replaced him as Captain and he took it like a “Man” and a true professional. Tony Roberts as well, I only saw him on a Friday but he could still produce the goods on a Saturday.

11) Can you give us any names to look out for in the Arsenal Youth Set up that you coach that you believe will make it as professionals? 

MA: Have you got a crystal ball? Chuba Akpom is an Under 16 England international who I coached when he was a youngster. Reports are that he is doing very well.

Chuba Akpom
12) If you had a choice to play for either England or South Africa, who would you choose and why? 

MA: Realistically South Africa. I was in 3 World Cup squads while playing for Peterborough, and had issues with my passport that ultimately stopped me from playing for them. That was a major disappointment.

13) How do you compare the Conference and League Two in terms of standard, is there much of a gulf in class? 

MA: I think it varies. The Conference top 6 would easily cope in League 2 now, although the Stevenage team I played in would have won this year’s league by 20 points in my honest opinion.

14) How is your relationship with John Still now, and are you still in contact with any of the players you played with whilst here? 

MA: I owe him a lot. I worked under him for a large part of my career. I haven’t spoken to him since the day I left the club though. Yes, of course - I still speak to a number of players through the different era of each team.

15) Do you think Abu was the best choice to replace you as captain if so why, and what words of advice did you offer him? 

MA: Yes, I think he has the respect of all the players. I spoke to him on the phone, and simply told him to carry on in the traditions of the club and make sure the “team spirit” we had created continued under him.

16) From a personal point of view, what is your favourite Daggers performance and what was your favourite game to be a part of?
Arbs celebrates the Play Off Final victory with Jon Nurse.
MA: The Wembley win will never leave me. To Captain a winning team there is the stuff dreams are made of. On Opposite side of the coin our 3-2 win at Darlington in our inaugural Football League campaign to guarantee survival was immense in it’s own right.

17) And finally, can you sum up what it means to be a Dagger in 3 words.

MA: A great honour. 

Once again, a massive thanks to Mark for taking part and answering the questions. You can follow him on Twitter where his username is, @1Arbs.

Next up for the Blog is AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, whilst you can also see me writing in the LBBD Newspaper, "The News", next Monday. As for this feature, I'll be attempting to get an interview with another former Daggers star over the course of the next few weeks!

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