Meet the managers

Posted: November 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

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The Orientear has ran interviews with most of the managers that have had the misfortune to be involved at the club over the past 30 years. That was until recently when no sooner than they had been appointed the men ‘in charge’ (they wish) have moved on before they have even broken in the leather upholstery covering their chairs. However, over that time we did get to speak to the likes of Tommy Taylor, Russel Slade, Pat Holland Martin Ling and even Paul Brush so here is a quick selection from the past…russell-slade-2010martin-ling-jan-2004paul-brush-dec-2001pat-chat-1996sitton-and-turner-94tommy-taylor-live

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The eagle has landed

Posted: November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

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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.

 

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The picture that you can see at the top of this article was taken after the  home game involving Leyton Orient and Luton Town last Saturday afternoon. As ever, this sort of protest has divided opinion amongst the Orient support. I’m sure the people behind it will explain that it’s borne out of a genuine concern as to where the owner is taking the club, while others will argue that it’s not helping the current situation and we should be backing the team over 90 minutes come what may.

No matter what your stance or view on the protest or indeed the running of the O’s we have seen an ever growing rise of discontent  from supporters with their club owners all over the football league. Clubs such Charlton, Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers and Coventry city have all witnessed massive protests at their respected stadiums at various times during the past two years regarding how their respective clubs are being managed. In  Coventry City’s case a hedge fund who are on the brink of having the club kicked out of their home for a second time in four years and are negotiating to sell its training facility for housing in a cool £12 million pounds deal.

Despite this, though, unpopular regimes are still in place and the upshot of all this being that supporters groups are still pretty powerless to influence club policy unless they possess a serious financial backer or amount of  cash currency, no matter how many plastic pigs get thrown onto the pitch during a game.Which I suppose brings us back to the title of this missive.

There has been a lot of debate on Orient forum about what financial shape Orient owner Francesco Becchetti will eventually leave the club when he finally calls it a day as owner at Brisbane Road. Now at this point let me say that there is no indication that he is looking to walk away or sell the club anytime soon, which makes this as good a time as any to talk about making some plans for when or if he does.

Now I think it’s fair to say that I am not a fan of our esteemed president and I’d offer the opinion that his reign has been a lesson in how not to run a football club straight from the off going back to September 2014. However, on a strictly football on the pitch basis, you can’t entirely rule out that at some point something could turn positively and we’ll head in the right direction with all the unrest over that time becoming a distant memory. This happened even under Barry Hearn, although it took the best part of two decades and a lot of mediocrity along the way.  The x factor is what the scenario will be financially as the club debt racks up. Becchetti has had a sporting dalliance once before – in Italy – with a handball side that became successful under his ownership only to collapse after he left soon afterwards and maybe therein lies the lesson for us. Orient are in the same boat with Franco as we were with Hearn in that if they either walked off or dropped down dead tomorrow what the hell would happen then?

It’s been 21 years from ‘Club from a fiver season’ and what has changed or have we learned anything?  Are Leyton Orient any better prepared now than we were to at least buy the club some time in relation to carrying on in a financial crisis?  I think the honest and probably obvious answer is; ‘No’. Mainly because there appears to be this assumption that ‘somebody will always ride to the rescue’. In my book that view is based on what happened in 1995 and what people are forgetting are two things.

1.The club has no assets at all, it doesn’t even own it’s own ground and we are now mere tenants in regard to the stadium we now play our football.

2. Whatever debts we had back in 1995 when the famous ‘we couldn’t even pay our milk bill’ quote was aired  by Barry Hearn it won’t be a million pounds, they will run into the £10’s of millions. There seems to be a fanciful notion that Becchetti will just take a financial ‘hit’ and walk away but this just appears on the doubtful side of wishful thinking or if we are being a little more blunt, breathtakingly naive.

In the event of the financial shit hitting the fan (pre or mid season) what can be done to at least keep the club going in the short term? Going by what happened in 1995 the PFA would pay some of the wages of the players but Orient would need to find money just to host  matches at the ground and fulfil our league fixtures. One thing that has come out of the recent unrest at football clubs appears to be the complete apathy shown by the football league to the situation although they seem more visible when it comes to punitive measures such as points deductions for it’s members when they enter administration or fines for clubs such as Blackpool over the match v Huddersfield that had to be abandoned at half time. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much in the way of help or support from the EPL if it came down to it quite frankly.

So I suppose that our main hope in the short term would be to mobilise various supporters groups at the club. Have the official supporters club or LOFT (supporters trust) put any money away for an emergency? All I am saying is at this point is that if there was 50-100k saved since 1995 we could at least say that orient could fulfil some fixtures (ground rent/ stewarding ,paying for away coaches for the players,etc) while a fight to save the club was ongoing. Even now, some money put in a high (well, what passes for high in the 21st century) interest account could raise a decent wedge in two years if it was planned and supported in the right way.

LOFT appear to have some sort of contingency plan and people with decent financial knowledge should that happen but not much in the way of cash to facilitate it. We as supporters have had time to raise funds but appear not to have done so even though the  club almost collapsed twenty years ago and the warning  signs have been around for a long time since then. Maybe it’s time for a joint fund raising effort from both LOFT and the supporters club to at least give us a platform to keep Orient alive whoever the owner is or whatever the scenario regarding Leyton Orient’s future appears to be. I know that the supporters club have always took a neutral stance in club affairs -and that’s fair enough – and LOFT are looked upon as a talking shop and not much else, which is more than a tad unfair. What needs to be looked at is the the future of clubs at our level and how we can continue without a major financial backer if it came down to it. There is an AGM being held by LOFT on the 10th of November and I think that this proposal should at least be seriously discussed. It would also give them a lot more credibility, in my view anyway.

What is clear is that after our experience of 21 years ago we haven’t really thought about what happens next time this scenario rears it’s head and most people connected with the O’s have taken the Wilkins Micawber line of ‘Something will turn up’. But that’s is sort of the point. When trouble hits then it’s usually a race against time to raise funds which invariably mean that we are starting off from a weak position when it comes to affecting a positive outcome – I’m not advocating buying the club or even making a 999 call to Andrew Lloyd-Webber (he’s gone ex-directory after the last time) here but at least having some way  of keeping the club going even as a Ryman league side if it came down to it.

The bottom line is doing nothing as a collective support isn’t an option anymore if you want the O’s to have a future. It’s time to mobilise.

 

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So Andy Hessenthaler has gone the same way as the previous six head coaches to have worked under the Becchetti regime. Not much of a reward for having your arse kicked twice by your employer (once metaphorically and once in actuality) and losing a lot of your own credibility along the way to the eventual sack.

To be honest I’m not shedding many tears over this. I think the standard and style of play that he has brought to the team was no better than the one we endured under Ian Hendon and certainly the defending from set play’s has,if anything, gotten worse. Even allowing for the undoubted interference coming from the owner regarding who is signed, given a first team start or even ostracised from the squad I think Hessenthaler was a poor choice who took the job on the basis of getting a pay rise at the expense of playing the stooge for his boss. Andy knew the way things worked here and had eventually (maybe naively) become part of the wider problem at this club – in that a total and utter disregard for the employees who work at Leyton Orient F.C (which has festered from the moment Becchetti and his henchmen walked through the door here) has permeated through to the playing staff and eventually into the stands. Hessenthaler going into post game interviews and coming out with utter tosh in regard to players ‘being unavailable for selection’ just legitimises the crackpot way Bechhetti has tried to run the playing side of the club’s operation when in effect his coaching qualifications run to six empty Peroni bottles on a matchday afternoon.

Now it has to be admitted that what we have witnessed over the last three weeks regarding Cox being controversially given a free transfer, the announcement of three unknown foreign signings and the crowd turning on the owner (at the end of the horrendous home defeat to Yeovil Town) have all occurred at some stage under the last owner, Barry Hearn, in the past. However, if the owner is now,in effect, ‘director of football’ then we have indeed arrived at another level in the circus that has engulfed this club since July 2014. Becchetti and to a lesser extent  Miceli and Gagliardi seem to believe that their decision making is above question when two out of that trio don’t have any sort of background in league football in any country. More pertinently, the team and club haven’t moved forward one inch during all the upheaval that they have instigated here since they arrived.

I would dearly love to see our  operations manager and head of recruitment go online or take out three of four pages in the club program to outline Orient’s recruitment strategy and how they intend to work with any head coach at this football club. At least we could all see what they are trying to achieve here and maybe more supporters who are now seriously questioning what is going on at this club could be a little more understanding  to what their reasoning and rationale behind the decisions they have taken to bolster the playing squad are. Because if they don’t or are too frightened to make some sort of disclosure without Becchetti’s rubber stamp then we can only assume that they are making club policy up as they go along, or actually agreeing with whatever their boss dreams up this week. Which appears to be the case as it stands.

Unfortunately, Mr.Becchetti’s answer to to any sort of problem appears to be ‘Fuck you, I’m in charge’ an attitude that  has brought us to where we are now and resulted in the unsavory scenes of ten days ago in the main stand. I should think that his display on the balcony underlined his true attitude to the followers of  this club and those unfortunate to work for him. It is a projection of utter disdain and one that would put any half decent manager off of working for him or the club. Luckily for Franseco, this is football we are talking about and by the time you get to read this I should think that 50 C.V’s  from prospective candidates for the managerial vacancy here would have arrived in Angelieri’s in tray (only to be ignored for two weeks going by his reputation) already. Why? Because there are always people out there who will do the job under any circumstances knowing that the club pays well and they will get a payday either way. Hopefully, somebody who knows what they are doing will come forward and get something like some consistency from what still is a very decent looking squad here. My Choice would be  former Wolves and Millwall boss, Kenny Jackett. He’d still be a fool to take it, though.

 

 

Orient’s comic book hero

Posted: September 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Some of you may have come across a book entitled ‘Football’s comic book heroes’, which takes a nostalgic wander through the pages of British comics from the past 60 years and the characters that were brought vividly to life within their pages. Many of us are familiar with the likes of ‘Roy of the Rovers’, ‘Hot shot Hamish’ and, of course, ‘Billy’s Boots’.

However, thanks to a chance find at a boot sale it seems that Orient- or to be more accurate ‘Clenton Orient’ had their own star player in the shape of a Tibetan monk by the name of Sulo. Who could well have been brought here by virtue of Gagliardi’s contacts in the Himalayas and would be just the sort of character that Mr. Becchetti would like to see in our squad. That is until he becomes ‘Not available for selection’ for some reason or other I should think.

So it’s back to the pages of  ‘The Victor and Hotspur’ from February the 28th 1981 and the story of ‘The team of the dragon’. Click on the link below and enjoy

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Lofc v Mauro Milanese

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Former O’s director of football Mauro Milanese brought an unsuccessful court case against his former employers last spring. We’ve reproduced the minutes of the case here. It’s pretty lengthy but stick with it, some of the details are pretty eye popping-even for the O’s. Click on the link for the judgement.

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Third Time lucky

Posted: August 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

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This missive is scheduled to appear in the Leyton orientear#249

  • This article was penned before the impending transfer of Jay Simpson. Just getting my excuses in early, there.

Third time lucky?…

And so we enter the third season in the reign of Francesco Beccehetti at Leyton Orient F.C and the way things have been shaping up over the summer possibly the one that gets the O’s moving in a positive direction at long last.

From where the club found itself at the beginning of May (no manager, hardly any experienced players and an unsightly bust up between players and supporters at the star man awards thrown in) it’s been good news all the way in regards to the signings we have made. Solid , experienced performers at league one and two level with promotions on their C.V’s along with arguably the best crop of youth players in 25 years which, in theory, makes the club a formidable prospect in league two this time around. Even Becchetti scored a win of his own with his court case versus the Albanian government finally being kicked into touch so for once we appear to have a strong vibe right across the club to kick the season off.

Andy Hessenthaler’s appointment as head coach came as a slight surprise seeing as he was making some pretty undiplomatic comments regarding the way the club was being run towards the back end of last season after Nolan’s demotion and Harrison’s exit following the Barnet disaster last April.

There was apparently a meeting at the presidents house a few days after the season ended with Hess, Edwards and the President with the upshot being that Andy was given a one year deal and maybe an extension if all goes well. This looks a bit precarious to me, but AH probably wangled a decent pay rise for his trouble and Becchetti is happy with it as at least everyone involved knows how this club operates and are not under any illusions regarding what the president wants. Again, and we seem to end up saying this every 6 months, Becchetti’s reputation as chairman who’s appreciation of your competence in your role at the club can flip on a single performance means any on field success will be as reliant on the president holding his nerve if the team hit a rough patch as the performance of the players on the pitch.

For my money I’d say that we have a great chance this season. A squad with strength in depth and the sort of quality to go with with it should mean a top 6 finish this time out, no problem.

EUROTRASH…

Those of us who managed to get over to France will probably recall the tournament more fondly than those who stayed at home to watch it on the telly or in the pub. My abiding memory is getting caught up in a 3-day drinking session with about 25,000 northern Irish supporters in Lyon as they partied long into the night after beating Ukraine 2-0 and the city virtually running out of booze by Friday.

Meanwhile, the actual football dished up at the tournament never lived up to the entertainment served up in Brazil during the last world cup. I can only think of three or four decent games that really hit the mark, with Wales V Belgium being the pick of a very small bunch. Maybe the actual format worked for the smaller nations who took their chance to shine and enjoy the sort of footballing party that has been denied to them for almost 30-60 years while the big guns never really got going or imposed themselves throughout.

Meanwhile England continued to revel in their usual role of stinking the place out and gradually getting worse as the competition wore on. The Iceland disaster had been coming for years and it duly arrived with one of the most insipid capitulations ever witnessed from the national side. Of course the fall out that followed was predictable and the finger pointing/scapegoating of individuals that followed was just as depressing.

The bottom line is that I think that the whole set up regarding the national side can be described in one word-weak. encompassing the set up at the F.A, the tactics, the management and physically and mentally fragile players. The fact that the new manager for the national side game down to a toss up between Steve Bruce and Sam Allardyce says it all, although at least big Sam wants the job and appears to give a toss, which is more than can be said for some of the players who just show up and are frankly not good enough to be anywhere near a shirt.

Some of the fall out from this is already filtering through to this level. The farce that the FL trophy has descended into under the guise of ‘getting young players valuable game time and experience’ has only resulted in almost everyone of the big sides in the premier league saying ‘no thanks’ and a lot more meaningless fixtures clogging up the schedule. Leyton Orient actually voted for this, probably due to the million quid chucked into the prize fund by the premier league and the deluded idea that we could make some extra cash from potential games at Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea. Miceli reckons it will also be good for the O’s for footballing reasons but if he can think of any I’d only be too happy to read his thoughts in the programme or club website when he rejoins us back on planet Earth.