NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU….

Posted: October 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

So he we are, at the top of the National league table and loving it.  We have, arguably, hit the high water mark of the past five years although some would point to the five straight wins the club that took the summit of the league two table under Ian Hendon three years ago as a comparable achievement. Not many though.

With Orient’s resurgence has come the plaudits and  even comparisons with the near miss team of 2013/4 season. One punter on twitter ventured  as far as to say the 2018 O’S side that were are currently watching is better than the one that Included Cox, Baudry, Lisbie and co. When I first saw that I wondered if the poster had partaken in one too many in the supporters club bar, but it did get me thinking and maybe he wasn’t wrong or at the least not far off the mark. Lets have a session of compare and contrast then.

 

Goalkeepers: Dean Brill vs Jamie Jones, Eldin Jakupović, Shwan Jalal and many more…

This time last season Dean Brill was in semi-retirement, overseeing the development of young goalkeepers Charlie Grainger and Sam Sergeant. He now finds himself number one pick  for the first team and has been since Justin Edinburgh walked through the door here last November. Quite simply it’s an incredible turnaround in the goalkeeping situation that had been an issue since Cisak was dropped by Danny Webb during Becchetti’s reign of terror in February 2017.  Even after our relegation from the league it was decided to give two relatively green goalkeepers the job of being the last line of an ever porous defence for the new campaign. In fact Grainger and Sergeant were persisted with while our back line became evermore sieve-like as the season progressed and it was obvious that we needed experience when it came to organising the back four instead of plain decent shot stopping.  With that in mind Edinburgh brought Brill back for his first game in charge at Solihull and -despite losing – Brill did save a penalty and became one of the very few goalkeepers here that I have seen talk to and boss his defenders in front of him.

I think Dean Brill is another who has benefited from a decent pre season. He looks fitter and more confident with it. He also has some very decent performances to his name already, especially at Halifax and at home to Solihull Moors when he kept us in the game at 1-0 with three excellent stops. Looking back five years to his counterparts you have to say that Brill is only bettered by the on loan Eldin Jacupovic on performance. Jones was inconsistent and many still blame him for the O’s losing the play-off final while Shwan Jalal was simply a clown. How Macclesfield managed to become promoted with him in the side will forever remain a mystery.

So I’ll go for;2018 O’s 7 and 2014  O’s 8Only because of the form of Jacupovic in between the sticks.

So let’s move on to the players in front…

Defenders: Myles Judd, Joe Widdowson, Marvin Ekpiteta and Josh Coulson v Scott Cuthbert, Elliot Omozusi, Mathieu Baudry and Nathan Clarke.

Tricky. I think Judd and Marvin have come on leaps and bounds so far this season. One person from within the club reckons that Ekpiteta could go on to play championship football if he keeps this level of progression going. That’s phenomenal considering he was playing in the national league south eight months ago and if he can iron a few flaws in his game (players getting behind him on the blind side being one) that prediction could well come to fruition at some point. Widdowson has put in some solid if unspectacular performances and has started to win the doubters over after a previous season that left many of us thinking that we could do with a new left back to start this one. His form is not too dissimilar to  Omozusi’s in the 2013/14 after he came back to the club after a spell in prison with much to do in regards to winning people over. But win us over he did and Elliot became a solid member of that defensive unit that was led by Clarke and given a touch of class by Baudry. Scott Cuthbert found himself playing at left back when he was a far better performer at centre half, although when you have the young legs of Moses Odubajo in front of you to help cover it helps immensely.

This time around we have Josh Coulson’s experience and Ekpiteta’s strength and pace holding it together in central defence allied with the willing running of Myles Judd. I think Judd is far from the finished article, but he’s a battler and that’s what we need right now along with his ability to get forwards and help the attack. Orient are now playing with an intensity not seen here for a good five years and it’s starting from the back and paying dividends for us. Coulson’s experience is complimented by Ekpiteta’s pace and strength. They are not too dissimilar in relation to John Mackie and Gab Zakuani’s partnership of the 2006 promotion season which became the bedrock of our success that campaign.

Judging this one is tough, but I’m doing this as a unit not as individuals. I’m going for; 2018 O’s 7 and 2014 O’s 7.   I can’t split them. Sorry Marvin.

Next stop it’s the engine room of the midfield…

Step forward, Craig Clay, Charlie Lee, Jobi McAnuff and James Dayton. Lining up against Dean Cox, Romain Vincelot, Moses Odubajo and Lloyd James.

Where the hell do we start.? If we posed the question ‘Who do you rate higher?’  at the start of this season regarding these two quartets there would simply have been no contest. Quite frankly, a complete mismatch with Deano and co walking away with it. I suppose it speaks volumes for the improvements made by Clay, Lee, Dayton and to a lesser extent McAnuff over the past three months that this going to be closer than it should be. Quite simply Cox is possibly the most influential player we have had at the club this century in terms of goals and assists. Vincelot was a  box to box warrior for us and Moses, but for a terrible injury would have been a premier league player with his pace and all round ability. Even Lloyd James had a very solid season after not impressing earlier in his O’s career, not too dis-similar to Craig Clay who is putting the sort of grafting performances in on a regular basis that James did that season.

Creatively we have to look no further than Jobi McAnuff when making the case for the side that is representing the O’s 2018. Jobi’s all round contribution has been galvanised by Justin Edinburgh’s arrival here at E10. In the past he’d struggled to live up to his billing after he arrived here in 2014 and I always thought his legs had gone when his performances just didn’t stand up during our fall as a club. Being shabbily treated by a power crazed owner and over complicit head coaches didn’t help either. From a player that was involved in an unsavoury argument with a section of our support up regarding a lack of effort at Solihull less than a year ago to becoming our most influential player and  team captain is some turn around in fortunes. The effect  Jobi has on some of the younger players shouldn’t be underestimated either. Koroma and Bonne are having the rough edges taken off of them and the bloke pulling the strings behind them can take a lot of credit for that alone.  As for Lee and Clay, they have quite simply stunned many of us with the way they have played this season. They are providing the platform for players such as Dayton and McAnuff to express themselves and do a lot of the dirty work in defending our half of the pitch when in counts.  I’ll be honest and say Vincelot would have probably kept both of them out of the side but it is a much closer call now than it would have been a year back. Dayton is another player who has started to win me over. I thought that he’d flattered to deceive for much of the time last season with his end product being nowhere hear what it should be. Two stunning strikes so far versus Chesterfield and Barnet plus an assist v Dover are beginning to change that view. Again, I’d take Moses Odubajo over him but it would be a closer call than a year earlier.

Individually, the 2014 midfield has more going for it. If nothing else the one weakness the 2018 side has is that we are a bit impotent from free kicks on the edge of the box and you get the feeling that if we had a couple of players capable of delivering a direct strike into the top corner of the goal (such as Dean Cox could provide) on a consistent basis then we would have the extra quality that would guarantee the league title being brought here for everyone to savour in May. With that in mind I’m giving my vote to the 2014 midfield on this one; 2018 O’s 7  and 2014 O’s 8.

Finally the forwards…

Macaulay Bonne and Josh Koroma  pairing up against Kevin Lisbie and David Mooney.

As forward partnerships go I can’t recall one as good as Mooney and Lisbie’s at Orient since the days of Peter Kitchen and Joe Mayo forty years ago. It just simply worked  for us in a glorious fashion. It’s ironic then that five years on from that prolific season that David Mooney has been given a free transfer by Justin Edinburgh as he feels that we have enough strikers at the club to see us through this season. What prompted this is anyone’s guess, but maybe Edinburgh felt that Mooney wasn’t quite cut out for the physical challenges that this division presents.  Going back to 2014 Kevin Lisbie was a seasoned campaigner that could work a defence with intelligent running and holding the ball up in dangerous areas. He could also produce a finish when required. The thirty five league goals they produced that 2013-2014 season as a pairing was a great return in anyone’s book and if Bonne and Koroma get anywhere near that this season then the O’s will be there or thereabouts in the promotion shake up. Anyone that has viewed the you tube clip of Orient’s 3-1 at Peterborough in  November 2013 will agree just how exceptionally that front two could perform for us on any given Saturday.

Moving forward five years to Bonne and Koroma it’s worth remembering that at in terms of playing regular league football they are relative newcomers. Bonne has surprised many of us with the sheer work rate he puts in with his non stop running. That he has bagged over thirty league goals in 60 odd games is a phenomenal strike rate. The fact that he has also missed some absolute sitters in that time also tells us that there is room to improve. The same can be said of Josh Koroma in that respect. Josh is another who has knuckled down under Edinburgh’s stewardship and it has been mutually beneficial for both player and team alike. From being marooned on the fringe of the first team squad  under Steve Davis to becoming a second striker is testament to the transformation the club has gone through in less than a year. What I like about Koroma is that he’ll take a shot and try to poach a goal when others might hesitate and look for a pass instead. It doesn’t always come off and he needs to learn just when and where to  make a goal attempt or hold the ball up, but his main asset is pace and that is one thing that the team has sorely lacked over the past three or for seasons.  You can tell that Josh’s all round game is starting to improve, though, and the longer he can keep playing regular football in a good side the quicker he will develop. This time around I’d say that the threat of our forwards using their pace at defences is Orient’s main asset, coupled with our  improved fitness as the amount of goals we are scoring in the last fifteen minutes  in matches  demonstrates. As an out and out pairing I don’t think that Bonne and Koroma are on a par with Lisbie and Mooney. I think their game is based on running in behind  and beyond defenders where as the forward pairing  of 2014 relied on the hold up play of Lisbie to work chances from . They also had a the luxury of Dean Cox and Moses Odubajo to provide a lot of the opportunities to rack up their goal tally. So, again, I’ll go with the near miss side of five years previous; 2014 O’s 8 2018 O’s 6.

Summing up…

 It’s always interesting to compare teams from different eras, but of course there are also other parameters to consider when doing so such as the management set up and all round health of the club itself. The main one being in this respect that the Leyton Orient of 2013-2014 had a vastly superior level of opposition to contend with such as Wolves, Brentford, Sheffield United, Preston North End , MK Dons and Bradford City and looking back almost half a decade on it’s disturbing that we have replaced those fixtures with the likes (and with respect to those clubs) of Solihull Moors, Braintree, Dover and Barrow. However, we are where we are and if this current team can deliver a return to the football league for this club and its long suffering support they will cement their place in O’s history as true winners, a tag not granted to many O’s teams over the past 137 years.

 

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Coates

Mention the name Ralph Coates to O’s (and Spurs) supporters of a certain age and the phrase ‘He had Bobby Charlton’s combover’ would in all probability be thrown back at you. Even so, there was a lot more to Ralph than just his hair  blowing in the breeze as he ghosted down the wing at Brisbane Road during the back end of the 1970’s.

It’s quite easy to forget that Ralph Coates had a pretty decent career even before the walked through the door at E.10 around forty years ago. He played top flight football at Burnley in the 1960’s and earned two England caps along the way before Ralph made the transition to Tottenham for a cool £190,000 following the clarets relegation to the old second division in 1971. Coates played a big role in spurs’s successful team of the early part of that decade (when they used to win silverware) and could boast UEFA and league cup winner medals, scoring the winner in the 1973 final V Norwich City. There were also two other international caps for England, against Wales and Malta, to go alongside those honours.

Five years later Ralph found himself signing for the O’s and fitting into a side with the likes of fellow ex- Spurs team mate Ian Moores. Those days were part of  my early O’s supporting ‘career’, but one thing my hazy memory can recall are that the goals he scored tended to be a bit on the spectacular side. Two televised crackers, one in the classic 3-3 home encounter v Brighton in March 1979 and away at Sunderland in 1980 stand out, along with a belter v Cambridge United in front of the south terrace on the 1st of March 1980 that crashed in off of the cross bar in a 2-0 win.

Following the close of the 1979/80 season Ralph lost his place in the side and eventually joined the coaching staff at the O’s before retiring and drifting away from the professional game. He continued to play non-league football for Hertford Heath, Ware and Nazing and also ran a local sports centre after a stint as a travel agent.

In 2010 Ralph Coates was inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur ‘Hall of Fame’ but tragically suffered a stroke in December that year and passed away shortly afterwards. His O’s legacy will always be one of a talented, popular player who could conjure up a goal out of nothing. I’ve reproduced an article produced for the club magazine from a fixture V Oldham Athletic from 10 January 1981 which featured Ralph and added a you tube clip  featuring his goal for the O’s v Brighton from 1979.

ralph coats

 

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With the O’s boasting an unbeaten start to the new season There are a few long suffering supporters thinking that the club is finally on it’s way back to better times. After a chance find in a Suffolk junk shop we can take a look back 48 years to 1970, just as Orient were beginning to turn some pretty desperate recent history around back then…

Back from the brink_1

The Scott McGliesh interview

Posted: August 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

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With three separate spells at East London’s finest spanning fifteen years you could say that Scott McGliesh had seen it all at the O’s. ‘Kid Sampson’ grabbed a fantastic interview with Scotty for the ‘Ear  back in 2010.

click on link to access the interview

Scott McGleish

One night in Millwall…

Posted: August 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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On a chilly February evening in 2007 the O’s took part in a bit of a classic encounter south of the river Thames at the ‘Den’, home of the infamous Millwall F.C. 

That game was notable for the hat-trick produced by on loan forward, Ryan Jarvis, one that etched his name into Orient folklore and sealed a memorable 5-2 victory. It was also a night that one O’s fan received death threats from his fellow supporters for declaring that the points were in the bag when Orient were 3-0 up after twenty minutes. Joe Durston takes up the story…

Millwall 2 Leyton Orient 5

 

 

 

 

The Big Lee Steele interview

Posted: August 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

SOCCER Oxford

When it comes to cult heroes the name Lee Steele is pretty high up on the list of many long suffering O’s supporters. Joe Durston (who became quite adept at tracking down and grabbing a few words with former O’s players) comes up with another cracking interview that graced issue 190 of the ‘Ear back in August 2008.

Click on link below to access the interview

The Big Lee Steele interview

 

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Lee Harvey has the dubious honour of being interviewed by the Leyton Orientear not once, but twice. Joe Durston took him for a walk down memory lane for a second time in Issue 192 back in October 2008.

Click on link to access the interview

Lee Harvey interview 2