01 December 2018

Leyton Orient 2 Gateshead 0, 1/12/18

A game which... began with Orient's 11 players suffering collectively from the extreme chronic fatigue caused by playing 90 minutes of football once or occasionally twice a week. As such, it looked very much like the game might be heading the way of the 0-0 draw with Aldershot, or worse, until Justin Edinburgh presumably bawled at half-time "DON'T YOU IDIOTS KNOW THAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PROVIDING A SERVICE THAT OFFERS A DEGREE OF EXCLUSIVITY TO SUPPORTERS WHO PAY A PREMIUM?"

That seemed to do the trick. Well, that and another moment of magic from Josh Koroma and a juggernauting assist from James Alabi. Top of the league? Yep, we're having a laugh.

Praise be... Occasionally a young player comes through the ranks at Orient and lights up Brisbane Road with mercurial talent. The next day we sell that player to Norwich or Barnsley. No doubt Josh Koroma will go on to bigger and better things, but let's enjoy him while it lasts. Today's goal was yet another twisty-turny treasure, and if it wasn't for the extreme chronic fatigue I suspect he would have celebrated by running all the way to Bromley to laugh in George Porter's face.

Taxi for... With another table-topping victory under our belts, it would be unnecessarily cruel of me to single out a low-performing player from today's game. So that's exactly what I'll do: Sam Ling. Rubbish. What's that – he wasn't match fit? Yeah, tell that to the supporters who pay a premium.

In the dug out... "I hold my hands up and admit that I majorly fucked up the team selection," said Justin Edinburgh after Tuesday's draw with Aldershot, officially the worst result ever in the history of the club. Did he, though? Or is it probably acceptable that we don't win every single game? Personally if I was the manager of a team that had amassed 50 points in 23 games I'd select the same players over and over again until they bled through their eyes. Which, coincidentally, is what happened to me when I tried my first bottle of vino from the new Orient Wine Club last night.

Are we going to get promoted? Well, frankly if you're blessed with a striker who'll probably score 30-odd goals if he doesn't get injured, one of the league's brightest young attacking talents, a rock solid defence and, weirdly, Craig Clay then probably even Fabio Liverani could get us up to League Two. I jest, naturally, because a lot of the credit has to go to Justin Edinburgh for instilling the spirit and getting the team to play as it does – and Liverani would of course still be playing Bradley Pritchard on the right wing.

Meanwhile... And so to the Legends Lounge debacle. Quick summary: If you drink a pint of your own piss, or run naked across the pitch, or watch Orient's 2002/03 season review DVD, you become an "Orient Legend" and are allowed to drink in the Legends Lounge in the West Stand, which is modelled on the waiting lounge of a regional airport in the 1970s. Non-legend fans are also allowed in the bar after matches and mix with the legends and possibly some celebrity ex-players like Marc Laird or Billy Beall.

This week the club hierarchy decided to end the practice of allowing the plebs to mix with the aristocracy on the basis that legends should expect some sort of exclusivity and to have a post-match pint without some fucking peasant from the South Stand asking for a selfie. Then literally three or four people mildly questioned whether this was a good idea and the club immediately did an about turn and reversed the decision.

Anyway, I think I have a solution. The club should absolutely "provide a service that offers a degree of exclusivity to supporters who pay a premium" so perhaps everyone else should be forced to leave each game after 85 minutes to ensure the "legends" can enjoy the final moments in relative peace? You're welcome.

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.
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