The O Zone: Lads now have one eye on Vegas as we hit six on the spin

Behind the Scenes at Leyton Orient:

It was like déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said, on Saturday as we made it six wins out of six in League One, this time with a 3-2 victory at home over Port Vale. As you can imagine, the club is on a real high at the moment and it was nice to leave the ground on Saturday and hear the fans spilling out of the Supporters’ Club bar singing: “We’re Leyton Orient, we’re top of the league.”

Nobody is getting too carried away, though, as there are 40 games to go, but the chairman, Barry Hearn, did commission me last week to make a poster for the changing rooms with a map plotting a line from London to Las Vegas. It has an aeroplane on it for captain Nathan Clarke to move along the route as we accumulate points, as Barry has promised to take the players to Vegas if they can make it to the play-offs.

We had a special celebrity guest visit the training ground this week in the form of Larry Lamb as the BBC programme The One Show came down for some filming for a feature on the club’s involvement in the First World War. It was a good experience for the lads and quite humbling as many of them were unaware that 41 of the club’s players and staff signed up to fight. Inevitably, some did not come back, and some of those who did weren’t in great shape. I’ve never seen the lads so quiet as they were when they were shown the footage of the players’ farewell parade in 1915. They were a bit star-struck too, as I was passed phone after phone to take photos of them with Larry.

The atmosphere was more chipper at Wednesday’s golf day as we all hacked our way around 18 holes in teams assembled from staff, players, fans and sponsors. I went in a players’ group with Scott Cuthbert, Lloyd James and Mathieu Baudry, who spent most of the time mocking my golf shoes (shock) and trying to get me to fall out of the buggy, which happened twice. The chairman’s group, including darts star Wayne Mardle, came top of the pile. 

We also had a behind-closed-doors reserve-team game against Portsmouth. With smaller squads and tighter budgets nowadays, it’s difficult to justify regular reserve-team football, so these training matches happen on ad hoc basis with the team made up of Under-18s, trialists and first-teamers who haven’t played much.

They are good experience for the youngsters, and help them integrate ready for the step up to being a pro. I’ve been to other clubs where the youth team live a completely separate existence from the pros and sometimes even have a different training ground. At our place space is at a premium and everyone piles in together for lunch. Having a small squad means some of the youth-team players get the chance to join in with the first team.

As a result the pros all know the scholars by name and often look out for the youngsters. The day after the reserves’ friendly, Kevin Lisbie was questioning the academy manager, Andy Edwards, as to how one of the Under-18s forwards had got on, as Kevin keeps an eye on some of the young players at the club and is a role model to many.

I often help Andy with some work on the computer (as he struggles a bit) in return for a lift home and this week we printed out his set-plays and the academy players’ chores rota. Every morning they are first in to get on with jobs such as getting the balls out for training or getting the breakfast things ready – like a lot of clubs at this level, we don’t have a dining area as such, just part of the training ground building which has to be set up every meal-time, then cleared away.

After a quiet period during the international break, we are busy again with another home game tonight against Notts County. There was still plenty going on when I popped in on Sunday to finish a few bits for the programme. Ada, the kit man, was doing some washing, while Lindsey – his wife and our secretary – was working in her office. Then the gaffer (Russell Slade) popped in. His family home is up north, but he lives in one of the flats in the corner of the ground for much of the season and was moving an air-conditioning unit from there to his office. He spends so much time in the office it is a toss-up as to where the unit is needed most.

Follow me on Twitter @JonnyDavies123

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style