3 October 2014

It's A Circus

It’s a circus, and it doesn’t matter if you sit in the audience or stand with the performers. That’s what it looks like for anyone lifting the tent flap and looking in from the outside.

Let’s make this clear from the beginning. I’m in the stands with the fans. Looking into the circus ring. I can understand why some may want to side with the owners in this case, because admit it, who hasn’t at one time or another wanted to run away with the circus? Well you sure are standing with the clowns this time.
Becchetti rules!
Before you run up to me and try to give me a piece of your mind, remember - your pants are huge, your shoes enormous and you have silly face paint.

But here are my reasons for thinking as I am.

* The press conference at the take-over. There was talk about getting the new management to blend it with those already at the club. Everybody wanted success but there was no definite time-limit.
* The interview with Milanese the same week as the Colchester game where he stresses, the pressure to win promotion is on other clubs. He says his relationship with Slade is very good. When it comes to Becchetti they speak regularly about club matters.
* In his programme notes at the Sheffield U game Becchetti admitted things were said after the Colchester game. Even if he was misunderstood, why do something like that right after the game? Emotions run high on all sides. Better to wait until the next day when you have had time to reflect on events.
* When Cardiff asked about Slade, why turn them down if you just days earlier have expressed doubts about him doing his job properly.
* Matt Porter leaving the board. If it was true that his tenure was temporary in nature. Why would he have accepted a place at the Football League board in June? Why if his involvement in Orient only had at most six months left.

I agree that when you try to express your opinion in a second language you always risk coming across differently than what you wished for. If it’s in a new field, something you haven’t been involved in before, then it’s even more important to ask for assistance from people around you with more experience. If you look at the programme notes, the club statements it’s pretty obvious this hasn’t been done.

If you’re the circus manager and you want the crowd to cheer at you and your show. A few things really matter. One, do what you say on the posters. Don’t advertise the greatest show on earth and give us amateur night. Two, trust your performers. Introduce them and then watch them perform. Don’t stay and shout criticism at them during the show. It won’t help things.

For the benefit of Leyton Orient FC it’s time for Francesco to step away from the clowns and pull on the emcee suit and be the guy he said he was when he bought the circus at Brisbane Road. There is no better time than now!

6 September 2014

Retrospective: Daggers 2 - 0 Orient

It's back to Victoria Road for Orient with the JPT draw turning up an away game against Daggers. To get some perspective I hastily translated my match report from Svenska Fans the last time Orient played Daggers away, back in 2010. My how things change!

Daggers 2 - 0 Orient

Wonderful. Fantastic. Enjoyable. Three superlatives that didn’t fit Orient in yesterday’s derby against Daggers. To be honest it was poor. Really poor actually.

With five matches played in League One, Orient’s points average says relegation battle - again. If they play like they did against Dagenham it’s what they deserve. Fair enough, injuries did weaken the back four who were terrible. Especially in the first half. Sure Orient should have had a penalty in the second. But this doesn’t hide the fact that crap like this, against teams like Daggers, mean you end up around teams like Daggers in the table, i.e. near the bottom.

Two headed goals from one of King Arthur’s failed knights, Sir Romain Vincelot. One in each half. This gave Daggers their first ever win in League One. The home team dominated the first half totally, and after their 2-0 early in the second their main objective seemed to be advanced time wasting. Despite this, they were closer to a third by hitting the crossbar, than Orient were pulling a goal back.

Russell Slade choose to not start with Mike Cestor in the absence of Charlie Daniels. Instead he opted for Jimmy Smith since it seemed to work against Brighton. Against Daggers it didn’t work at all. Slade made Smith and Elliot Omozusi switch sides after the interval. This helped somewhat. For those who wonder were Michael Liddle is, I can inform you that he was injured in his first game for Orient against Yeovil and is back at Sunderland for rehab. Without Daniels the problem at left back scream out for a solution. Play Cestor I say. He may be inexperienced but he’s a natural left back. Smith is a midfielder and it shows.

Orient were poor. As a man really poor. Alex Revell showed some good intentions but came off injured late in the game. His replacement, surprisingly enough, Adrian Patulea who got a place on the bench instead of the injured Jonathan Téhoué. The Count didn’t get much time on the pitch but he was about as poor as the rest of the team.

Next week Orient entertain top team Huddersfield at Brisbane Road. Orient logic say that we will probably perform well against them. Hope! The last thing to leave an Orient supporter.

Dagenham & Redbridge - Leyton Orient 2 - 0 (1 - 0)
League One, week 5, september 4, 2010
Victoria Road, attendance 4.195

Goal scorers: Vincelot 8, 50
Yellow cards: none

Orient: Jones; Smith, Forbes, Chorley, Omozusi; Chambers (Jarvis 72); Cox, Dawson, Spring; McGleish, Revell (Patulea 89)
Bench: Brown, Butcher, Porter, Cestor, Beautyman

28 June 2014

Where is Our Lagom?

With a new owner at the doorstep of Brisbane Road, the question is; How well do we want Orient to do?

I paid a fair amount of money to watch Dagnall miss that penalty at Wembley back in May. But being there, and knowing that some of that cash ended up with the club, made it well worth it. When the disappointment had worn off I expected a pre-season a little bit different than the one before. Success on field meaning that, instead of speculating about who would replace that half a squad of released players, it was more a case of which players are going to be picked up by bigger clubs. Boy was I wrong!

Someone with money wants to buy Orient. Words like investing in the squad, taking the club forward, are flying about. Question is how far do we, as fans, want to go?

I would have loved seeing Orient in the Championship even though a season like Yeovil’s was the most probable outcome. With a rich Italian throwing money at the problem of having a small ground and a limited fan base, staying up after promotion should be much less of a problem. But the things that drew me to Orient in the first place could actually be in danger of going away.

Even though I love English football, the Premiership never did it for me. I wanted another experience and found it with Orient. Great atmosphere, jaded fans that knew the reality of their club and therefore appreciated success when it happened. Firmly at home in the community with players and staff still regular people that you could interact with. Not some far off spaceship of a club with everyone involved believing they are somehow larger than life.

I know I’m not alone in looking for this. Hell, Adam Michie even wrote a great book about his search for that elusive feeling. That buzz you get watching football surrounded by other fans that get it! It’s not about world-class players showing of great skills. It’s about regular players who at rare moments produce a world-class move.

So I’m not really afraid of a new owner coming in, making a mess of things and then walk away. I believe Orient would survive that. What scares me is a Chairman that achieves all the goals he made for himself when he bought the club. When the first fixture of the upcoming season is a London derby against Arsenal. That’s frightening because I’m not sure my Orient would survive that.

There is a great Swedish word, lagom. It’s hard to translate but in one word it sums up something that is just right. Not too much, not too little, not too awful, not too successful. It’s lagom.

With possibly big changes at the horizon I think every Orient fans needs to think about where in the League pyramid Orient’s lagom is. Your answer to this question should give a clear indication about how you feel about Hearn leaving and Becchetti coming in. Do you like being called Little Leyton Orient or is your aspirations larger than that?

And, if anyone’s answer to the question of lagom is League Three, I will personally seek you out and slap you.