If you are unfortunate to be the manager of Leyton Orient the one fixture you must perennially live in fear over must be a home game versus Exeter City. Twice within the space of ten months the Grecians have rolled up at Brisbane road and helped themselves not only to all the points but left the bloke who used to direct matters in the Orient dug out looking for work soon afterwards.
And so it came to pass that Alberto Cavasin is just the latest casualty in in the increasing line of managers to be hired and fired at the hands of Francesco Becchetti during his 27 month stewardship/reign of terror at the club. The appointment of ‘Uncle fester’ (as Cavasin had been labelled) was definitely the low water mark in the bizarre thought patterns that Orient’s president produces whenever the managerial vacancy inevitably crops up at the O’s. I have to confess to actually laughing out loud when AC was announced as the new Orient boss in early October, seeing as Cavasin sounded like a hemorrhoid ointment but this was an act of sheer folly as it turns out, seeing that I almost fell off of the loft ladder when my son broke the news that fateful afternoon.
Six weeks later and with 5 out of seven league games ending in defeat (all at home) the final straw came with the insipid display served up against the team propping up the entire league pyramid. Exeter offered a minimal threat in attack the whole match, but the O’s-dear reader- actually produced, and I’m being generous with that description, a whole lot less. Despite Cavasin’s total unsuitability for a job at this club you’d be foolish to abdicate the players from any responsibility for what is taking place here. Some are just inadequate, others simply inconsistent but a few are just plain and simple wage thieves who have the audacity to react when told so by the people who regularly endure the garbage that this team and set up at the club consistently produce in home matches. It is no coincidence that Orient’s stand out player last night was debutante defender, Myles Judd. His performance had the look of one of a player that has played in a decent side of late, which just happens to be Orient’s youth team and a group of lads that are winning games ‘for fun’ to use the words of John Sitton. It speaks volumes that experienced players such as Weir and Atangana failed to deliver passes to our young full back when he’d made space or a forward run that actually threatened to take the attack to the visitors. The boo’s and invective that came their way told it’s own sorry tale at the end of that tepid first half performance.
News that Cavasin had been relived of his duties broke late Wednesday afternoon. A sacking that would have come sooner but for people still recovering from Alberto’s post match call for the players to turn up at Doncaster next Saturday armed with ‘helmets, knives and teeth’. Well at least you left ’em laughing mate. Ciao, baby. The upshot of all this being that Andy Edwards has been put in charge of the first team (again) until the end of the season with Danny Webb assistant. To be honest this was the only sensible option left open to the people who loosely claim to be running the club and in a way it was miraculous that Edwards ended up in charge of the team rather than a fugitive from a seira ‘A’ panini sticker album circa 1982. But it wasn’t only the club’s rank and file support that were pushing for Edwards to become team boss. In an unprecedented move a local journalist who covers the club, George sessions, virtually called on the clubs support to crank up the booing against Cavasin just to get Becchetti to change manager now and not let this slump go any further. We are indeed living in turbulent times.
As it stands I think that the new set up will get the players back on board, at least in the short term. Number one, they will be able to understand what they are being told by the coach – which is pretty helpful – and morale will improve at a stroke. It was also interesting that our bench for Tuesday was made up of four other youth players plus Sandro Samedo and this points to some of the youngsters that are producing at youth level possibly getting a crack at a first team spot if the regular first team continually fail to deliver. My only reservation about that would be if the team is still struggling this would be no time to throw them into a relegation dogfight with our 112 year place in the football league at stake.
After Edwards and Webb took charge for two games earlier in the season the word was that they were disappointed not to get the gig for longer. Well now they have finally grabbed the sort of poison chalice that wouldn’t look out of place in the Macbeth drinks cabinet this is going to turn into examination of not only their coaching credentials but their ability to deal with the now infamous ‘circus upstairs and at the training ground’ of Becchetti, Gagliardi, Miceli and the apparently poorly CEO, Angelieri. The one thing that Edwards had got on his side that virtually the whole fans base is behind him and that Becchetti is rumoured to be staying well away from the club while the supporters protests gather momentum. This could actually give our new head coach a bit of leverage when it comes to doing things his way because if there is any sort of unwanted interference/’suggestions’ coming from the top gantry seats in the main stand it’s easier to fight them off with the owner keeping in the background and a bunch of angry supporters ready to back the coach over the idiots who have brought us to where we are now at as a club.
Listening to the excellent orient outlook podcast on Monday, it was put forward that all this unrest at the O’s would be put to bed by one solid managerial appointment that moved the club on and that Becchetti was only one decision away from it. I’d totally agree with that, but it’s also ironic that the president’s last one bordered on suicidal and Andy Edwards appointment as 1st team coach has the appearance of the last throw of the dice for Becchetti. If this doesn’t work out – for whatever reason – where the hell does it leave both him and the club? A team on the verge of relegation with a massive debt hanging over it isn’t what I’d describe as a saleable asset and would our owner really hang around if the unthinkable happened at the O’s dropped out of the the football league?
As for Edwards it’s a massive gamble career wise. His work at this club is one of the bright spots -probably the only one- here over the past three years and now he’s wading into the minefield otherwise known as ‘running the Orient 1st team’ he is risking all that for a punt at management. The last youth team boss to arrive in the post in similar circumstances was a certain John Sitton, who later confessed that it was an opportunity that he’d wished he’d given a swerve to at the time with hindsight.
Nevertheless, I’ll wish Andy Edwards and Danny Webb every success because they have the credentials and deserve a run at the job at a time when the stakes here couldn’t be higher and club morale couldn’t be lower.