The O Zone: Sky game went well apart from a broken lift and a home defeat

Behind the scenes at Leyton Orient: Several hundred of a large away following arrived by boat

You will often hear fans say “Orient don’t do things the easy way” and, with nine games to go, the route to automatic promotion is looking formidable – though far from impossible.

Ordinarily the changing room is awash with noise after a game but you could hear a pin drop on Saturday following the 1-0 defeat to Brentford. It was an unwelcome task having to pop in to fetch Scott Cuthbert and Kevin Lisbie to talk to the press as Ada, the kit man, swept up the discarded sock tape and mud.

The defeat hurt everyone at the club as there had been so much anticipation and build-up to the game. The last time before Saturday we had had a sellout crowd was against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 2011 and accommodating both a full house and the TV cameras takes a lot of preparation.

The game was live on Sky and the trucks rolled in on Thursday morning to begin constructing a makeshift studio and gantries, plus carefully laying mile after mile of cabling. The cameras were also at the training ground filming preview interviews with the gaffer, Russell Slade, and striker David Mooney.

Despite the media attention, the training ground was relaxed as usual and the players were in good spirits as they had received their voting forms for the PFA divisional team of the year. The voting can get quite political, with a few shouts of “Nah, don’t vote for him”, or “Stick him down, he’s a good lad”. In reality, though, the voting is a serious matter for the lads, as was the case when they were picking their World XIs, which produced one of my favourite moments of the season. “Did you see his goal in the Coppa Italia last night?” one of the boys asked Jamie Jones, our goalkeeper, as they were filling out their forms. Jamie responded: “Nah, I don’t watch Spanish football.”

The bigger games require careful planning and the ticket office staff were working hard all week, as were the hospitality team. Steve, the stadium manager, was busy keeping an eye on Sky and meeting the senior police officers on duty at the game to make sure plans were in place for everything to go safely. There was a lot to consider, given the scale of the game and the fact it was a London derby with a large away following – several hundred of whom would be arriving by boat along the Thames.

In the end the only police matter was a 15-year-old Bees fan who had to be picked up by his mum after he was cautioned for stealing, having decided to take home a bit of one of our seats.

The day itself went largely to plan off the field. The press areas were bulging, but organised, the 240 hospitality guests were all fed and watered on time, and the near 8,500 supporters safely shown to their seats for a feisty derby that, on reflection, we can feel aggrieved to have come away from empty-handed.

I felt about two stone lighter afterwards, as the only technical hitch was that the lift decided to pack up midway through the day. That meant too many trips to and from the fifth-floor press gantry by stairs for my liking, though it was the Sky staff who suffered most as they lugged their cameras and equipment down five flights of stairs after the game.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'