12 August 2018

Leyton Orient 2 Barrow AFC 2, 11/8/18

A game which... began with all 11 Barrow players simultaneously hurling themselves to the ground, each in apparent need of sustained medical treatment. It turned out this was all part of a monumental effort on the part of the away team to waste as much time as possible, a curious tactic against Leyton Orient where every second the ball is in play is a second in which our defence could make some sort of catastrophic goal-conceding error.

Still, can't blame Barrow for literally destroying the whole point of football and it was up to Orient to respond. And respond they did, by ensuring that they did indeed make two catastrophic goal-conceding errors in the small amount of time the ball was actually on the pitch. 

I would comment further on the game, but I think the Barrow goalkeeper is still getting ready to take a goal kick...

Barrow in training for their match against Orient
Praise be... Mercifully, due to an administrative error, Macauley Bonne still plays for Orient, and we can thank the striker for the two goals that ensured we didn't actually lose. That said, Bonne did somehow manage to hit the Barrow goalkeeper (yes, I've mentioned him twice now but am still refusing to look up his name on Wikipedia) from point blank range minutes before his first, which means of his three shots on target he only converted two, which is frankly unacceptable at this level. Get rid. 

Taxi for... Charlie Lee, who was so anonymous against Barrow that I'm beginning to suspect he did actually play every single game last season entirely undetected. Someone other than me check the stats. And while you're at it, is there any evidence that Lee is actually any good? Other than in comparison to Craig Clay, obviously. 

In the dug out... You can say one thing about Justin Edinburgh: he knows his best team. And that team is the one constructed in his imagination with all the summer signings that didn't materialise. Still, can hardly blame the gaffer for sticking to the centuries-long Orient tactic of playing 4-4-2 and hoping for the best. But his team probably need to be a bit more streetwise in this league, for at the moment they are metaphorically paying a Soho pedicab driver £40 to take them 30 yards up Shaftesbury Avenue to an Aberdeen Angus Steak House while simultaneously being pickpocketed.


Are we going to be promoted? Well, three points from three games, and only 129 points left to play for. You do the math. That's right, it's literally impossible and now the focus must be on building for 2019/20. I jest: of course it's mathematically possible for Orient to be promoted. Probably won't be though unless we get a better goalkeeper and central midfield, but let's not have a meltdown just yet. After all, winning games early on is overrated. We achieved eight consecutive victories in 2013/14 and didn't even get promoted. Pathetic. 

Meanwhile... Superb trolling (as spotted by @weststandmick) from Barrow manager Ian Evatt, whose take on the game was: "We dominated the early stages but then got involved in their gamesmanship and physical side of things. We are not built for that, we are a footballing side." Evatt can currently be seen wandering the streets of Barrow dressed as a pot maniacally accusing kettles of being black. 


14 June 2018

School Report: Leyton Orient 2017/18

Just because the season ended ages ago and it's the World Cup, doesn't mean there isn't time to run the rule over Leyton Orient's class of 2017/18... 


Steve Davis 
“A total lack of aptitude in all areas. Expelled.”
“We searched high and low, applied rigorous criteria and left no stone unturned in our search for the ideal manager of Leyton Orient – and Steve Davis is that man” said director of football Martin Ling in the summer of 2017, shortly before hiring a colour-blind decorator to repaint his house and asking a block of concrete to teach him to pole vault. Turned out there was good reason Davis was the only manager available in mid-July for thus began the most eye-bleedingly catastrophic tenure of the Orient dug out since, well, the season before. At least Alberto Cavasin had the excuse he couldn’t speak English and Fabio Liverani that he was clinically insane. What was Davis’s get out clause? I’ll tell you: it was all the players’ fault. Yet unlike the equally hapless Ian Hendon (also all the players’ fault) he didn’t have Connor Essam in the team to substantiate it. Next.


Macauley Bonne 
“Top of the class”
There have been countless barren years in which Orient fans dreamed of a hard-working striker with both skill and physical presence – a selfless team player who’d lead the line and bang in 20+ goals a season. We got one of those this year in Macauley Bonne, yet for some it wasn’t enough. “HE MISSES TOO MANY CHANCES” they yelled, apoplectic with rage at the sight of a National League striker not converting 100% of his goal attempts. Me? I’m off to smoke an extremely expensive Cuban cigar in honour of Bonne’s season. Although if it doesn’t light first time it’s going straight in the fucking bin, that’s for sure.


Dean Brill
“Vocal. Momentary lapses in attention. Good eater.”
“Hey Deano. Neither Charlie or Sam are quite cutting it in goal. What do you suggest?”
“Well, funny you should say that…”

It’s not often that the goalkeeping coach becomes the goalkeeper, but then again it’s not often that a man can eat his own weight in cheesecake and survive, yet Dean Brill has achieved both. I mean, fair play to the lad, he was pretty adept at beach-whaling himself in front of goal-bound shots and plummeting himself at the feet of opposition strikers. He also couldn’t keep his mouth shut – useful both for berating Joe Widdowson and ensuring that any airborne sources of nutrition found their way into his stomach. 



Jake Caprice
Fast worker, but error-ridden”
I have to confess, I quite liked Caprice for the first part of the season, if only because he was the one Orient player who you’d fancy beating a critically-wounded sloth in a race. He got forward well, got a half-decent cross in and could create space with a sharp change in a direction that, while identical from match to match, benefitted from the fact National League defenders don’t get to watch video reports on their opponents. What I failed to notice until later in the season was the bloodcurdling trail of destruction he was leaving behind him in his own half, as left wingers marauded through the vast open spaces Caprice had left unguarded, picking off goals at will. Thankfully Justin Edinburgh thought to himself: “The one thing we definitely don’t need in this team is pace” and put Caprice out of his misery for the remainder of the season. 



David Mooney
Inspirational, yet mostly ineffective”
Oh Moons. I wouldn’t say a bad word about the man who almost propelled us to the Championship if only he hadn’t changed his priorities midway through the season from promotion to “scoring with a lob”. But this story has a fitting denouement for after Orient had typically blown a 3-goal lead against Dover Athletic, Moons’ four-year mission to successfully chip the keeper finally came to pass. Aside from that sublime moment, not much else happened for the Irishman this season other than the usual conveyor belt of offsides, dives and misses. Still love him though.


George Elokobi
“Big character”
You might think that it would take an industrial-standard hydraulic system to raise someone of George Elokobi’s stature off of the ground. You’d be wrong, as evidenced by the bicycle-kicked goal the defender scored against Aldershot and his numerous less successful attempts to repeat the trick. For those who were there on this momentous occasion it was like watching if not poetry in motion, at least a limerick or the sort of senseless rhymes you make up as a six-year old. George is a talisman, a leader and quite frankly I would still have him in the Orient team even if he literally could not kick a ball to save his life. He wouldn’t be the first after all.


Ebou Adams
“Must stick at things for longer”
What a tidy little player Ebou Adams proved to be in his loan spell. Always hungry for the ball, strong in tackle, careful in possession, penetrating in delivery. Scored the best goal of the season too. Still, it was obvious to fans that we’d be hard pushed to keep such a talent at Orient into 2018/19 – this young man was destined for bigger and better things. So it came as no surprise when he signed for, hang on… EBBSFLEET UNITED! Kill me now. 



Jobi McAnuff 
“Wise head on old shoulders”
What’s the difference between Jobi McAnuff’s second spell at Orient to his first? More tackles in the second spell for starters – one compared to none. But that’s not why we pay to see Jobi McAnuff is it? We pay to see the winger use both his Premier League and international experience to dominate games, destroy defences, score wonder goals from distance. And he definitely did do all those things last season, although admittedly most of them were in the same game.

25 October 2017

Leyton Orient 0 Gateshead FC 2, 24/10/17

Imagine a team assembled by Paul Brush, coached by Fabio Liverani, motivated by Alberto Cavasin and given tactical instruction by a packet of cheese and onion crisps. That team would've made swift work of the Orient side that lost 2-0 at home to Gateshead tonight. 

Now, Orient have certainly suffered bigger defeats in the past and, by God, there were some calamitous performances in the Becchetti days. But in the context of a bottom-of-the-National League clash against a side who haven't won in six, and who haven't won away all season, tonight's loss could be considered the ultimate nadir of a football club whose entire history is a nadir in itself.



But anyway, don't listen to me, listen to Steve Davis. Here's what the "manager" had to say about how tonight's catastrophe unfolded:

"I have to hold my hand up. The system didn't work and I needed to change that." 

Ok. The "system" – let's call it that, shall we? – Davis began the game with was the 5-3-2 that has served him so well in the previous four or five games in that we haven't lost every single one of them. Fifteen minutes – and one goal down – later and the manager ditched that in favour of playing our top-scoring striker wide out on the left; our non-scoring striker in the middle; one of the two right backs on the wing; and our two wingers in central midfield.

Somehow that didn't work, so via a couple of other short-lived, transitional formations, Davis eventually opted for a trusty 4-4-2, with our right back at left back; and three wingers across the midfield four. By the end of the game I think we were playing 3-2-5-2-4 or something, but by then I'd lost the will to live.

Now, you could say that this constant tinkering demonstrates that Davis has an astute, nimble football brain. But if you did say that you'd be sectioned.

"It was a very scrappy match." 

Thing is, by calling the game "scrappy", Steve, you're sort of implying that both teams were complicit in a less-than-pedigree spectacle. This is bullshit. Gateshead were efficient enough. Conversely, each Orient player reacted as if every single nightmare in their life had been visually illustrated on the ball such that they became rigid with terror every time it span towards them.

"The way we reacted after the second goal was very disappointing. We just gave up." 

I dunno, it looked to me like Orient had given up shortly after kick off, Steve. Or perhaps on the way to the game. Or perhaps after you slagged off the whole team after Saturday's defeat. Or perhaps when you were appointed manager in the first place.

"Dave's miss was a real turning point." 

This could be true, in the sense that it could bring an abrupt end to the whole Football's Funniest Bloopers genre. I mean, no future compilation of howlers could ever compete with just looping Mooney's miss over and over again. As a turning point in the game: less so, in that "turning points' usually infer that something has changed from before to after.  In this case, Orient were equally abysmal either side of it.

"That was the poorest home performance we've had."

Add ".... in the entire history of the club" and you may have hit the nail on the head there Steve.

"We were second best straight away." 

That is very flattering, as there were blades of grass, small insects and discarded globules of player mucus out on the pitch that could well lay claim to being better than Orient tonight.



"The young players are finding the pressure difficult to deal with."

Oh yeah, it's definitely all their fault isn't it? If anything the young players have been the ones showing the most resilience and grit, while seasoned professionals (such as Ellis and MacAnuff tonight, for example) have been woeful. Next.

"I know I'm the right person to turn this around." 

There really is precious little evidence to support this, is there? No one wants to return to the trigger-happy days of the Becchetti regime where gaffers were fired for having the wrong socks, or playing Scott Kashket. But then again there's nothing "stable" about persisting with a demonstrably inept manager with a penchant for blaming everyone but himself for the unfolding disaster.

You can't blame Davis for individual player mistakes, and no one really expected us to get promoted this season. But this group of players should be doing much better than they currently are and the visceral lack of understanding between them on the pitch; the apparent lack of team spirit and fight; the absence of any discernible plan; and the bizarre press conferences don't exactly support the idea that in Davis we've got the right man to take the club forward. (Here) we go again...

09 August 2017

Leyton Orient 3 Solihull Moors 1, 9/8/17

[Caveat: Thanks to British Airways I actually arrived 30 minutes late for this game, so what you'll read below contains even more made up stuff than usual. View From The West Stand: Keeping editorial standards low since 2010. #fakenews] 

A game in which... Orient proved that the National League is actually a doddle and that we'll win the division at a canter. JOKE, JOKE... alright, calm down everyone, why so serious? I'll tell you this much though: there was enough promise in last night's performance to suggest that the Os have a pretty good chance of winning every game they play on the actual-sized pitch of Brisbane Road.

So given that we will lose every single away fixture, by my calculations that means we'll end up with 69 points and hence just miss out on the play-offs. And given everything that's happened to the club in recent times, that would be an absolute disgrace. Travis out. ANOTHER JOKE! Jesus, what is it with you lot today?



Moment of magic... The moment David Mooney slid into the box to poke a Jake Caprice cross into the net, evoking memories of the heady days before he started trying to chip the keeper with every single goal attempt. And what better epitomised the joyous fact that we have #OurClub back than the sound of "... he used to be shite, but now he's alright..." ringing out from all four sides of the ground apart from the West Stand?

Praise be to... Jake Caprice. Orient have a proud history of attacking right backs, from Stan Charlton to... nope, that's it. Stephen Purches? Anyway: Caprice has stepovers in his locker, and that's where they should stay, under a heavy duty padlock. But nonetheless the "model" professional (I'm required by law to make that joke) was a constant menace to the workers of Solihull's Jaguar Land Rover plant and laid on the cross for David Mooney's goal. You beauty.



The bit where I moan about something or slag someone off... Yes, that's right, just because Nigel Travis, Kent Teague et al saved Leyton Orient from the brink of extinction that does not make anyone associated with the club exempt from this blog's solemn duty to gratuitously complain about stuff. To wit: Steve Davis's post-match interviews, which I would generously describe as "soul-crushingly boring" and less generously describe as PLEASE-GOD-FIND-ME-SOME-PAINT-TO-WATCH-DRYING-MAKE-THIS-STOP-PLEASE-PLEASE-NO-MORE. Almost makes you yearn for the inexplicably hostile and aggressive interview technique of Ian Hendon. Almost.

New regime watch... "We need a big, strong, powerful forward," said Steve Davis in the wake of the Sutton defeat, no doubt channelling the words of his boss, Martin Ling. Curiously, the baby Ling's first words at the tender age of 13 months were "We need a big, strong, powerful forward" and Orient's director of football has been on a life mission to find one ever since. Without success. One season Ling tried to convince us that 5ft 9in Ryan Jarvis was the big, strong, powerful forward we'd all been waiting for. Another time he signed local brickie Sam Parkin. The quest goes on...

Meanwhile on TV... 

"Hi Sam, it's your mum."
"Hi mum. Did you see the game on telly?"
"No I was out I'm afraid. But I told all my friends from the church to watch"
"Ah, right..."
"You did comb your hair didn't you?"
"Yes mum"
"And you didn't bite your nails with all those TV cameras around?"
"No"
"And no picking your nose?"
"No mum"
"Of course, sorry Sammy, I know you wouldn't embarrass me on the telly"
"Erm, there was just one thing..."

03 August 2017

GUEST BLOG! James Masters: "At our lowest ebb, we were there together"

Orient lost every single game journalist and lifelong fan James Masters attended last season. Here he writes about how close we came to losing much more than football matches – and the renewed hope he has for the club's future... 

By the end, I was numb.

Try as hard as I might, I could not feel a thing.

What I longed for was some sense of anger, of frustration. What I got was silence.

What I yearned for was the rage of burning injustice to ignite and spark off a reaction inside the empty chasm which I had become.

But there was nothing. What I had held so dear for so long had been taken from me.


In a world where there is so much horror and tragedy, it seems trivial to lose oneself over one man's unerring quest to decimate a football club and raze it to the ground.

Perhaps it is churlish, when you consider the brutality of the world in which we live, to consider the desperate plight of one's football club in such grandiose terms.

And yet, perhaps it is precisely because we live in a world where there is such a constant source of upheaval and doubt, that the opportunity to escape from the toil of daily life, is so important.

For some that solace comes through prayer or meditation. For others it may be exercise, reading, or travel.

I make no secret of the fact that for many years now, Orient has been the source of my escapism

Orient allowed me to forget. It washed over my fears of social awkwardness, my own foibles, and provided the opportunity to cast my worries aside and instead focus on the most important of the world’s trivialities, Orient.

And yet, for the past three years, that has been so very difficult both in terms of results, and in terms of losing that one place where you can lose yourself. I lost my happy place.

Even now, some 30 years on from my first ever visit, I can still remember the spark of excitement in the pit of my stomach which rose upon the sight of Brisbane Road. Never did I imagine a time where that spark would be extinguished.

But I do not want to dwell on the past few years. We’ve spoken about it, dissected every minute detail and replayed it over and over in our minds. There is little we can do to change it now. 


Instead, it is time to look forward, gathering the lessons of the disastrous era and ensuring they are never forgotten. For while the past may be painful to look back upon, to commit the same mistakes once again would be folly. Now, there is only way to look and that is forward.

What this season will bring is beyond any of our wisdom. From a logical point of view, it would take something remarkable for a team full of new players with barely a few weeks of pre-season under their belt to achieve promotion this year. 

I do not doubt the quality or spirit of the squad, nor the expertise of the management, but factors such as continuity and time are crucial to long-term success, two luxuries we have not been able to enjoy. Let us not run before we can walk.

That aside, a season of stability bordering on the boring dare I say, would be rather welcome. For all the unrest and upheaval of the past three years, an opportunity to start again, to gather ourselves and re-establish the club should not be dismissed lightly. 

Of course, promotion and an instant return to the Football League would be wonderful, a dream, something all of us are working towards. But there must also be a level of realisation of the situation we find ourselves in. 

The new owners have already pledged they are here for the long term, the return of Martin Ling and Matthew Porter are two pieces of business which although simple, underline their understanding of this club.


Over 3,500 season tickets have been sold, a remarkable number given Orient’s dreadful past few years and the fact this will be their first season in non-league football for 112 years. But the drop into non-league football was never likely to deter those who hold Orient so dear for it has never been about the football, has it?

It’s about having our club back. It’s about looking forward to your weekends again, making new memories, sharing laughs with friends, travelling around the country in hope rather than resignation. 

It’s about the singing, the last minute winners, the grotesque burger vans which have you checking your armpits as the smell wafts through the air. It’s about being where you want to be, reclaiming your pride and valuing that sense of belonging.

Now, more than ever, that sense of belonging is crucial. It is crucial because we lost it. It was taken from us, right in front of our very noses and at the time it seemed there was little that we could do about it. And yet, at our lowest ebb, we were there, together. The small club with a big heart – the heart which belongs to all of us – the fans – got going once again.


I will never be able to express my gratitude to LOFT for all the work they have done. To those who organised the protests, the fundraising, the social media campaigns and the constant television and radio interviews, this is because of you. 

To the football fans from hundreds of other clubs across the world who gave us their support in our time of need to the journalists who helped spread our story, this is all because of you. 

It is because of those staff members who stayed even when they were not being paid because they believed that something good would come of all this. Even when some staff members were forced to leave their homes because they couldn’t afford the rent, they left only out of desperation and with a sadness in their stomachs. 

The staff and the supporters refused to give in to a man who was so hell bent on destruction, he could not see what was right in front of him – a group who never gives up.

Forget the team from 2013 – it’s our slogan now. We’re the group who never gives up. Every single supporter knows how close we came to losing our club, we will not let a day go by where we do not appreciate what we have.

And so if you take anything from the past few years, take this thought. For however chastening the past few years have been, however many times you have felt helpless, bewildered and disenfranchised, we won out. 

It was not the way we wanted it. Nobody would have wanted relegation from the Football League unless it meant the end of Becchetti. That the two coincided was more his doing than ours. But we’re still here, and he’s not.


It’s our club. It will always be our club. It belongs to every single one of us who were ever fortunate enough to be introduced to Leyton Orient. We may never be as big as Arsenal or Tottenham, nor as successful as Manchester United, but being a Leyton Orient fan has never been about the football alone. It’s about belonging, having a club we can each call our own.

When we return to Brisbane Road on Tuesday night for our first home game in the National League, we will come back together at the start of the next chapter. It’s in our hands now and the future is what we make of it. It is ours to shape. 

So, when you take your seat, say hello to the person who sits next to you, take your time to soak in the atmosphere and the new season feel. And then, take a breath, and perhaps allow yourself to realise just how lucky we are to have our Orient back, or any Orient at all.

06 July 2017

Interview: Kent Teague "I have a history with Beyonce that's difficult to overcome"

Throughout the summer Orient fans had little better to do than to stare endlessly at the Twitter profile of a mysterious Texan investor, hoping beyond hope that his background photo of a London tube sign would become in focus enough to reveal the name "Leyton". 

This, as we now know, was the precursor to Kent Teague becoming the principal shareholder and new vice-chairman of the Orient. God bless America, y'all!

So why did he do it? Where's he going to take us? And what's his beef with Beyonce? I made up some faintly ridiculous questions to try to find out...


You said you’ve wanted to own a football club for 30 years. Did you ever imagine you’d end up with an east London team in the fifth tier of English football?
No! Not in my wildest dreams. I've tried very diligently to own an American soccer club which hasn't worked out yet. So there's no way I thought the first club would be in the UK. But I think it is desirable to own a club in London so that part of it has worked out really, really well. 

Why football as opposed to proper American sports like basketball, baseball or cheerleading?
I have looked at American Football, basketball, baseball, hockey... But I have three daughters and all of them play soccer. I've been either their coach or assistant coach so I understand the rules of the game and have loved it for a very long time. I'm talking 20 years. 

Before Leyton Orient, who did you support? 
Brazil. I happened to go to Rio de Janiero for my 40th birthday party about 15 years ago and at that time Brazil were world class. And I think I came home from that trip with three different versions of the jersey. I had a Ronaldo jersey, a Ronaldinho jersey and there was another one. And I wore them every other day of my life. 

Is there anything Leyton Orient can learn from American sports?
Maybe there are things commercially that English football could learn from American-style business. But technically from a football perspective – coaching, style of play – no, I don't think there are specifics that are going to make Leyton Orient better because we're American. 

Is there anything Leyton Orient can learn from Texan rodeos?
I hope not! Can you guys learn a lot from wearing a cowboy hat? Probably not. These are cultural differences. Things that are valuable in Texas don't necessarily translate to anywhere else.   



You’re the principal shareholder and vice-chairman of Leyton Orient: what are you personally going to bring to the party?
I have a very strong analytical capacity. I don't fear making a decision, or making a decision quickly. And the third thing that I do really well – I hope – is build rapport with people. 

Your name sounds like a superhero: What’s your superpower going to be when it comes to Orient?
Cryptic Kent, huh? I absolutely love that by the way. Honestly I've taken it on as an alter-ego. I hope that my superpower is that I help everyone else have a fantastic experience of being a Leyton Orient fan. 

Great, although that's not technically a superpower. What about being invisible so you can spy in the opposition dressing room? 
I will say something about that. Even if we knew the tactics of the opposition team, I do think that the creativity that's required to be a footballer is extremely important. And I know that with creativity sometimes comes mistakes. So I expect that our players are going to make mistakes on the field, and I hope that our fans are going to be extremely encouraging of our players to go ahead and make mistakes because I think out of them will come the magic that we want. 

When Barry Hearn first took over the club he introduced weddings at half-time on the pitch. Do you have any similar ideas to liven up our Saturday afternoons? 
I do have ideas that float through my head, but I think the fans and staff are going to generate the best ideas. I read every tweet, I read everything on Facebook and I'm reading the forums. We're looking for the best ideas. We want the fan experience to be phenomenal. If they want weddings, we can do weddings! 

What have learnt about Leyton Orient fans so far? Are we mental? 
Yes! Yes! Yes! And I'm excited about that because I share the same level of being a nutter. But I'll tell you what I've learned about the fans. The emails that I get, the Linked In notes, the tweets, the things I see on the forums, on Facebook, the passion, the love, the devotion, the identity that the fans have with Leyton Orient is phenomenal, fantastic, amazing... It's hard for me to describe the emotion I feel when I think about how brilliant the fans are of Leyton Orient. It's the reason I'm involved in the club. 

You said you’ve read a couple of history books about the club. Was one of them the crtically-acclaimed Leyton Orient Greats by Matt Simpson? 
Ha ha... No it wasn't. But my friend Damon [Goduto] has bought your book and so I'll be reading it on my way to London. 

What stood out for you about the history of our club in the books you have read? 
One of the books I read was about the effect World War I had on the club – about the three fallen heroes. It was very moving. 


Fast forward 10 years: What will be different about Leyton Orient to where it is now?
Not much. East London will probably change dramatically over the next 10 years, but Leyton Orient will remain a significant part of its social fabric. Hopefully we will have won and drawn more than we've lost. Hopefully we're graced by fantastic performances by our players that we all remember together and raise a pint to in the pub. Hopefully we'll have phenomenal coaches and players that go on to greatness with other clubs. 

Do you see us returning to being a club that alternates between League One and League Two, or can we take it further? 
In the short term, six or eight years, it's League Two or League One. Given where we are today it'll take us two, three, four years to go up a particular division. Where we go beyond that I just don't know. I think it's possible to be a Championship side but I hesitate to say that as it takes a little bit of luck and a different way of thinking, and honestly I don't know yet what that means. What I am committed to is making sure that from a financial, staff and coaching perspective that we have a great deal of stability over the next 10 or 20 years. I hope that translates to success on the pitch, but we'll have to wait and see. We're very realistic about how hard this is. 
  
It's going to be tough for a Texan to assimilate into east London culture. Let's see how you're getting on: 

Jellied eels or chicken fried steak?
Now, am I in east London or am I Texas? Chicken fried steak is what I have every Sunday with my family. But I'm probably not going to choose chicken fried steak if I'm in London. 

I wouldn't if I were you. Next: Chas & Dave or Beyonce?
See now this is not fair because Beyonce is from Houston, Texas, and I know some people who drove her around to gigs when she was a teenager. So I have a history with Beyonce that's a little difficult to overcome. So it has to be Beyonce. 

Well London's finest singalong-a-Cockney scallywags are going to pretty upset by that... 
They can take it up with Jay-Z and the twins! 

Last one: Bob Hoskins or Tommy Lee Jones? 
See this is not fair because Tommy Lee Jones is a Texan. You keep giving me Texan problems! 

I never said these questions would be easy, Kent
I've been to London 25 or 30 times, but I've spent 55 years in Texas so it's impossible for me to choose things in London over Texas. Unless I'm in London. 

Kent, you've been an absolute gentleman. Thanks for saving our club.
You're welcome. 

30 June 2017

The heroes and villains of the Becchetti era 2014-2017

In news that has brought joy to the hearts of every Orient fan, new chairman Nigel Travis has promised to get the club back to where it belongs. And where it belongs is in a League One relegation battle. 

It's a long road back to those glory days, so before we embark on the journey, let me take one final glance at the absolute carnage behind us with a selection of the heroes and the villains from Francesco Becchetti's catastrophic tenure of the club... 

HERO: Phillip Othen  
I think we've all come to love matchday announcer Phillip Othen for his brazen disregard for the conventions of colour matching in his choice of clothing; his Geordie-hen-night-esque refusal to wear a coat; and the fact that despite not being paid he carried on banging out the announcements almost as if he actually enjoyed it. That, and some subversive choices of pre-match songs over the aural torture instrument that doubles up as the Brisbane Road tannoy: Taxman by The Beatles; Charmless Man by Blur; Frankie by Sister Sledge... You didn't quite have the balls to play I Fucking Hate You by Godsmack though, did you Phil?



VILLAIN: Alessandro Angelieri 
To be fair, the former CEO of Leyton Orient is only a villain in the sense that an actor playing Captain Hook in a production of Peter Pan at a decrepit end-of-the-pier theatre is a villain. And really the analogy only stands up if that actor repeatedly forgets his lines, knocks over scenery and then inadvertently burns the whole theatre to the ground. Oh Alessandro. I mean, if anything a man who exists with no apparent sign of a brain should be lauded as a miracle of science, rather than lambasted for his stratospheric incompetence.



HERO: Linda Hendon
Were it not for the intervention of Linda, the prevailing memory of the Ian Hendon era would be the spectacle of Sean Clohessy hitting the nearest defender with an attempted cross, repeating on an endless loop like an infinite version of Chinese water torture. Luckily, however, the manager's wife-to-be was not going to let the fact that her husband was inexplicably aggressive towards fans and media stop her dishing out her own form of social media justice. Highlights included labelling mild-mannered fan Elliot Byrne as the "least intelligent person on Twitter" and flipping her lid when – post-sacking – she and Ian were apparently denied a free ticket to watch a game. A woman scorned...



VILLAIN: The Plymouth Herald  
Orient's stunning last-gasp 3-2 victory away at high-fliers Plymouth in February gave fans a glimmer of hope that perhaps relegation wasn't inevitable. Until, that is, the Plymouth Herald mounted a campaign against Liam Kelly for mildly shoving a six foot, 17-year-old ball boy. "KELLY SHOULD BE TORTURED TO DEATH FOR HIS BLOODTHIRSTY MURDER ATTEMPT ON A CHILD" ran their headlines for days and days, almost as if there is no news at all in Plymouth ever. A grown man, who is also a journalist, literally wrote some words calling for the FA to "impose a significant punishment" on Kelly and called the incident "shocking". The ball boy himself has now become the most famous person ever to hail from Plymouth, and is sometimes almost recognised as far and wide as nearby Saltash and Botusfleming. Kelly, of course, got a six-game ban...



HERO: Michael Collins 
It's hard to single out just one player from the last three seasons because every single player was absolute dog shit. JOKE! Plaudits of course to the entire youth team, Dean Cox, Jay Simpson and... yep, that's about it apart from Michael Collins. Pop into Brisbane Road right now and you're still likely to see him storming around the pitch, fighting the lost cause with every last breath – all without actually being paid. A king among men.



VILLAIN: Rob Gagliardi 
Early in Becchetti's tenure, Ryman Rob had the hardest job in the world: namely translating Fabio Liverani's demented ramblings into English. Luckily for the handsome Italian – via a stint as goalkeeping coach – he was then bumped upstairs to be head of recruitment. And who can blame him for accepting the role? After all, if I was entirely unqualified to do anything at all I'd probably take a well-paid job as a brain surgeon if someone was lunatic enough to offer it to me. And if I did, I would still probably cause far less horror with my scalpel than Gagliardi's signings of Jens Janse, Teddy Mezague and Ulrich N'Nomo inflicted on the football pitch.



HERO: Frederico Morais  
By 2017 an increasingly unhinged Francesco Becchetti was getting through coaching staff quicker than his pre-match bottles of Valpolicella. On April Fools' Day, Stone Island model Omar Riza made his debut in the manager's hot seat for a clash with Wycombe Wanderers, only to get sent off at half-time. That led to the bizarre spectacle of previously unknown 13-year-old boy Frederico Morais fulfilling the second-half coaching duties on the touchline, yelling instructions such as "STOP GOAL-HANGING!", "SCRAMBLE GOALKEEPERS!" and "IF YOU DON'T PASS TO US WE'RE TAKING THE BALL HOME!" And fair play to the young lad, he prevented the opposition scoring any goals during his 45-minute stint.



VILLAIN: Francesco Becchetti 
In reality we all know there's only one villain in all of this. I've called Francesco Becchetti many things over the years – a lot of it libellous. Spiteful, incompetent, psychopathic, vain... no doubt he's all of those things. What became apparent during his final couple of months as owner of Leyton Orient was that he is also a rank coward. A coward for not having the guts to offer even a single word of explanation to fans or media as to how things had gone quite so badly. No apology for putting families in jeopardy by not paying wages. No justification for buying a leather jacket with a canary-yellow collar. His parting shot: an evidently-ghostwritten quote that even so provided a final insight into his deluded mind-state: "I have, unfortunately, not been able to dedicate myself to following the club as closely as I would have wanted." As if the reason for the whole catastrophe was his lack of involvement rather than the diametric opposite. Thankfully it's been proved that Leyton Orient is sturdy enough to withstand the attacks of a lunatic owner hellbent on destroying it. We survived, and now the only way is up. Metaphorically, that is. Technically we could end up in a National League relegation battle. But as long as Francesco Becchetti is nowhere near it, that's just fine by me...



Not massively bored or offended by any of this? Here's a selection of other posts I've written during the Becchetti era: 

Orient v Colchester and the pitch invasion 29/4/17 

An open letter to Francesco Becchetti 17/3/17 

The 10 good things about the 2014/15 season 14/5/2015

How to relegate a football club in 11 easy steps 9/5/2015

How has it come to this? 19/4/15

Our proud history: An open letter to Francesco Becchetti 1/10/14



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