03:30PM, Friday 31 May 2019
Harold Odametey this week thanked fans for making him feel like ‘one of their own’ after leaving Maidenhead United to join National League rivals Dagenham & Redbridge.
The 26-year-old midfielder has been a popular member of Alan Devonshire’s dressing room for the past two seasons and his departure will be seen as a big loss for the club, both on and off the pitch.
Odametey has joined the Daggers on a one-year deal after playing 44 times for the Magpies. The midfielder joined the club from Hampton & Richmond Borough.
Odametey said: “I’ll never forget my time there.
“Everyone embraced me, the fans, the players, the gaffer, so it was a very hard decision to leave. The fans made me feel like one of their own.
“I’d never played in the Conference before but the gaffer helped me to develop, showed belief in me and allowed me time to find myself.
“Full-time football is what I want but Dagenham also say they want to go for promotion and that’s something I really want to play for.”
Reflecting on his departure, Devonshire said: “Harold wanted full-time football and we can’t compete with certain clubs when it comes to that.
“There are clubs in this division with big money. It was the same with Cliff (Adrian Clifton) leaving for Bromley.
“Harold has got a good deal at Dagenham. Listen, it is what it is. We just have to get on with it. We wish him well but he’s not at the club anymore so it’s not my concern.”
Odametey managed just one goal for the Magpies last term – scoring in the crucial 4-3 win over Aldershot Town at York Road on Boxing Day – but his lung-busting runs that turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye have been a feature of the Magpies’ play these past two seasons and replacing Odametey’s industry will be no easy task.
That falls to Devonshire and chief scout Lee Devonshire, who have been moving swiftly to fill the holes created by departing players.
Last week goalkeeper Chris Dunn became the club’s fourth summer signing. The 31-year-old has a huge amount of experience of both league and non-league football, having played for Northampton, Coventry, Yeovil and Cambridge.
Dunn played in the Cobblers’ famous League Cup win over Liverpool at Anfield in 2010 and kept a clean sheet as Cambridge United held Man-chester United to a goalless draw in the FA Cup in 2015.
In between times he played in the Championship for both Coventry and Yeovil, while he also has recent experience in the National League with Wrexham. Dunn played for the Dragons in the Magpies’ first ever National League home game in 2017 and kept a clean sheet as the Welsh side chalked up a league double over Devonshire’s men later that season – one of 15 he kept that season.
Chief scout Lee Devonshire remarked: “Chris Dunn joins us with a wealth of experience both in the National League and the Football League.
“He is an experienced goalkeeper who played the last four games in League One this year for Walsall. He was first choice keeper at Wrexham the season before last and, at 6ft 5ins, will be a big signing for us in more ways than one.”
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