THREE stars of Dagenham and Redbridge who came close to promotion glory will be playing at Brentford next season.
Winger Sam Saunders, striker Ben Strevens and defender Danny Foster have all crossed London on a free transfer to play in League One following Daggers failure to secure promotion after defeat against Shrewsbury on the last day of the previous season denied them a playoff place.
Saunders, 25, admitted the prospect of football a league above Dagenham's current level and working with up-and-coming manager Andy Scott was too good to turn down.
"I'm getting to the stage of my career where I want to play at a higher level. Brentford will be playing the likes of Charlton Athletic, Southampton and Norwich City next season whereas Dagenham will be playing Macclesfield Town and Chesterfield.
"I met Andy and he seemed really keen to sign me. He's really hungry and a young manager who is going to go places. I was delighted. There is a touch of sadness leaving Dagenham but also a touch of excitement joining Brentford ," he said.
The former Welling United man acknowledged leaving Daggers was a difficult decision.
He said: "They were my first proper club. I'll certainly be looking for their result first after Brentford's next season. Everyone from the tea lady to the kitman to the fans and the other boys were brilliant at Dagenham.
"We used to joke with the fans that we were a pub team from Essex and I will miss that but Brentford is a big club."
Saunders insisted that while Dagenham may initially struggle after the loss of a number of key players, the Victoria Road outfit will be safe in manager John Still's hands.
"Last year we had teams like Rotherham and Darlington with points deductions and that gave us a sense of security. But those teams won't have those point deductions this year but John has a knack of spotting players. He can spot a player from nowhere and turn them into the finished article, " he said.
He added that Dagenham's long-term future will be in safe hands because there are a number of young players playing for the club's academy who will shine.
Turning to tactics, Saunders said Brentford's tactical approach was only slightly different from Daggers' game plan.
"John always gave us license to play in the final third and that will be the same at Brentford. Although Dagenham do play quite differently from most teams," he said.
The winger, who played 113 league games for Daggers over the last four years, is aiming to score seven or eight goals for Brentford next season.