05 August 2019

Leyton Orient 1 Cheltenham Town 0, 3/8/19

A game which... was always going to be a difficult one for players and fans, imbued as it was with the tragedy of Justin Edinburgh's death in the summer. The club is still reeling from the loss of not just a great manager, but a great man.

We can take some solace in the legacy he leaves behind, not least the fact he built a squad that knows how to win football matches – or at least not lose them that often. So despite the high emotions, the opening game pressure and a resolute Cheltenham side, win they did. And the fact we had to endure a nervy final 10 minutes clinging on to a one-goal lead against nine men was evidence that despite everything, Orient will always still be Orient. I mean for fuck's sake...

Moment of magic... The pre-game tribute in which Cheltenham fans revealed the banner they'd created in honour of Justin Edinburgh and donated a collection to the Justin Edinburgh Foundation. Absolute respect for that: Edinburgh had no particular connection with the Robins – this was just a moving example of the football family coming together. That said, I'll still never forgive them for selling us JJ Melligan.

Praise be... There are many things to admire about Josh Wright: for example, his tousled hair, chiselled jaw, strong cheekbones and dreamy eyes. But he's not only in the team for his boy band good looks, he's also there to scrappily put away bobbling loose balls in the area, as he duly did for Orient's winning goal. And as a close friend of the Edinburgh family and Justin's last signing it was only fitting that he did so. Near brought a tear to my eye. Did I mention the boy band good looks?

Are we any good? Let's reserve judgement on that, for it was inevitable that this would be a jittery start to the campaign. Some promising signs, but the Os need a bit more time to gel – not unlike Jordan Maguire-Drew, whose floppy fringe could have done with more attention to its shape and body.

In the dugout... Ross Embleton looked to stamp his authority on the squad early doors by dropping Joe Widdowson on account of him having his hair cut. "I've read chapter 16 of Book of Judges in the Old Testament," the gaffer explained after checking Wikipedia. "Samson was never quite the force at left back once he'd lost his locks." Yes, yes, I know he was injured. Don't write in. Aside from that it was pretty much business as usual, with the Os lining up in the familiar 5-3-2 (or 3-5-2 depending on whether James Brophy is bothering to do any defending).

Meanwhile in the club pressroom: 


Press officer: Right James, as you know we make a gif of every player doing a celebration and post it on Twitter when they score
James Alabi: Great, so you won't need me for a bit then?
PO: We like to cover all eventualities. We've done one for Arthur Janata too.
JA: Then count me in!
PO: Great: one, two, three, four...
PO: James?
JA: Sorry, I meant count me in as in "Let's do this!"
PO: Right. Are you ready now?
JA: LET'S DO THIS! [rips shirt off]
PO: You have to pay for the shirt.
JA: Do I have to pay if I do it in a match too?
PO: Let's not worry about that for the moment James...
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