10 November 2019

FA Cup: Leyton Orient 1 Maldon & Tiptree 2, 10/11/19

A game which... answered the question as to whether it was possible for there to be a worse Orient manager than Alberto Cavasin. "Hold my beer" said Carl Fletcher as he somehow contrived to ensure his team lost to opponents four tiers beneath them in the pyramid – statistically the worst result in the club's history.

Except he didn't say "Hold my beer" did he? He said: "I've been working on passing my beer to someone all week, though if we knew why no one held it we'd all be millionaires wouldn't we?"

And it's not just that we lost. Shit happens. It's the fact that in the space of five games Fletcher appears to have rabbit-in-the-headlighted us from a team that seemed to be establishing themselves and holding their own in League Two to one catastrophically lacking in morale, motivation, organisation, tactics and ability. So to speak.

Moment of magic... All the moments of magic came from Maldon & Tiptree, who were superb and fully deserved their victory. And good luck to the Salty Jam Lads (I'm guessing that's their nickname, right?) in round two. Back to Orient, and curiously we did actually score a goal courtesy of substitute James Dayton who will now be fined his entire match fee for ignoring Fletcher's instruction to "stay in your own half Dayts, we've got Matty Harrold up front, he doesn't need any support".

Taxi for... Ooh, tough one this week. I'm going to go for... Carl Fletcher. It is possible that the new manager's first weeks at the club could have gone worse, but only if he inadvertently poisoned the entire squad with his welcome gift of homemade flapjacks; accidentally burnt the entire Breyer Group Stadium to the ground while frying an egg in the club kitchen; and re-signed Connor Essam.

Now, if I sift through all the clichés and nebulous blandisms in Fletcher's car-crash interviews I think what he's trying to say is that he wants to the team to play in a certain way and that'll take time to work. That certain way appears to be lumping the ball to an isolated lone striker and hoping for the best. That could indeed take time to work. All of time.

No one wants to return to the managerial merry-go-round of the Becchetti era, and I do hope that the Fletchmeister, as no one will ever call him, turns it round. But I'll say this: so far it appears the manager is so far out of his depth that there are as-yet-undiscovered species of marine life swimming past him wondering how he hasn't exploded under the 16,000 psi of pressure typically found in the Hadalpelagic Zone of the oceans. (Thanks Wikipedia.)

In the director's box... "Every time I looked at what we was looking for he ticked every box," said Martin Ling of his decision to hire Carl Fletcher. Which begs the question: what were the boxes? Was this perhaps the result of a catastrophic mix up of forms and in fact the former Bournemouth man was simply applying for a free ticket to the Plymouth game to scout Marvin Ekpiteta? Or perhaps an enthusiastic local teenager named Carl Flitcher had applied to be a ball boy and wires got crossed? Or perhaps the other 39 applicants were just really bad at ticking boxes and kept smudging the ink and stuff?

Meanwhile in the press room...

Media officer: Right Fletch, you ready for your post-match interview?
Fletch: Like I said, I've put in 110%.
Media officer: You didn't say that, but fine - you're ready?
Fletch: I take each interview as it comes. So to speak.
Media officer: Fletch, you know it might be better if you used fewer clichés...
Fletch: Like I said, a stitch in time saves nine.
Media officer: Ok. Just try answering the questions honestly Fletch...
Fletch: If we knew how to answer questions we'd all be millionaires and wouldn't be here.
Media officer: You're thinking of the TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Fletch, rather than a post-match interview.
Fletch: Depends how you look at it. So to speak.
Media officer: Just get out there and try not to embarrass us too much.
Fletch: Like I said, I'm just focused on the next interview.
Media officer: No Fletch, you haven't done this one yet...
Fletch: A good interview is better than a bad one, but a bad one is worse than an ok one.
Media officer: 😐
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