07 September 2013

The top five Leyton Orient beards

In honour of World Beard Day - and in lieu of Orient actually playing a match on a Saturday afternoon - here's my line up of five players who brought formidable facial fuzz to Brisbane Road...

5. Geoff Pike 

The man: Ex-West Ham midfielder whose bristling energy helped Orient achieve virtually nothing in his one full season in 1990/91. 

The beard: A closely-cropped and somewhat apologetic effort that gives Pike the air of a well-meaning geography teacher who remains relentlessly breezy despite the savage bullying he experiences at the hands of his 11-year-old pupils on a daily basis. 

4. Kevin Godfrey

The man: Youth team graduate whose dazzling wing play helped Orient plummet from Division Two to Division Four during his 11 seasons at the club from 1977 to 1988.  

The beard: This isn't a beard, it's a cry for help - a wispy and mournful effort that screams "If only I'd kept up those disco-dancing lessons when I was 12 I could have been an extra in Saturday Night Fever instead of playing for this shit football club."

3. Romain Vincelot

The man: Archetypal socks-round-the-ankles midfielder currently helping Orient actually be good. 

The beard: This is a beard constructed entirely from 100 per cent pure Gallic testosterone - a stirring, stubbly statement of intent that suggests to opposition players that not only will Romain vanquish them on the playing field, he'll also make love to their wives and kill their pet dogs. 

2. Tony Grealish

The man: Potty-mouthed Republic of Ireland international and cog in the midfield that took Orient to the 1978 FA Cup semi-final.   

The beard: Grealish's beard is that of an intrepid Danish explorer lost in the Arctic who, despite having to eat his own arm to stay alive, nonetheless maintains an intensive facial grooming routine. Either that or an immaculately-coiffured cat has fallen asleep on that enormous jutting chin. 

1. Barrie Fairbrother

The man: Classy midfielder and scorer of Orient's winning goal in the famous victory over Chelsea in the fifth round of the 1972 FA Cup.   

The beard: This is not just a beard, this is a live audition for the role of "randy vicar" in the infamous 1970s porn flick Deep Throat; a facial fuzz that bristled with raw sexuality and quite possibly slipped off to a local strip joint whenever Fairbrother was sleeping. 

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