The O Zone: We at Leyton Orient are loving life in the fast lane... just do not ask me to drive
The O Zone: Behind the scenes at Leyton Orient
Wednesday 25 September 2013
Eight wins from eight games, our incredible start continues. It is a monumental effort. The latest win, 2-0 over Brentford on Monday night, was one of the most satisfying as not only was it a live match on Sky, it was our first victory at Griffin Park in 20 years.
I get nervous watching the lads play, but this time I was more nervous on the way to the match. The players travelled to and from the game by coach, but this wasn't ideal for Nathan Clarke, our captain, as he wanted to head off immediately afterwards to join his family up north so we arranged that I would drive his car to the ground.
In order to keep the skipper at ease I decided not to tell him I had barely driven for three years and had never driven an automatic car before. It didn't help when I lost the team coach at the Old Street roundabout but fortunately Ada, our kitman, was on hand with some directions and managed to guide me to the team hotel safely.
Obviously, the players don't need to stay in a hotel when we are only travelling across London, but instead will check in for a couple of hours and have a pre-match meal before going for a team walk for 10 minutes to stretch their legs and focus. We booked a couple of conference rooms and one was used as a makeshift treatment room while the other was set up more like a classroom where the gaffer, Russell Slade, and his coaching team go through the final preparations for the players and reiterate key points on the video.
Sky came down to interview the gaffer, as part of their pre-match build-up. As his family live in Yorkshire he stays in one of the flats at the corner of the Matchroom Stadium and Sky wanted to interview him there. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a view of the pitch from his flat but luckily a couple of players live in the block too, including Johnny Gorman. I went round and knocked on his door and he suddenly found himself entertaining the gaffer and a camera crew. His has a balcony overlooking the pitch so Sky could get the shots they wanted.
The media spotlight is well and truly on us at the moment and I've had more calls about interviews in the last two weeks than in the previous six months. We do our best to accommodate but a couple had to get knocked back this week, including the suggestion that the gaffer and six of the players dressed up in cowboy costumes for a "Magnificent Seven" photo shoot. I knew this was probably a step too far.
It was a busy week as on Tuesday we hosted Notts County. The lads were ruthless in a 5-1 demolition and the mood was superb afterwards. Chairman Barry Hearn stuck to his promise of bringing down his new map, "London to Las Vegas". He gave a short speech saying how proud he was of the players and asked the captain to pin a miniature airplane on the 21 points mark, which is somewhere near the middle of the Atlantic. When he'd done that the players presented the match ball from the previous game to Kevin Lisbie to commemorate him reaching 100 career goals.
As you'd expect the training ground is very lively at the moment, and it was a particularly happy place on Thursday. As in many offices, if it is your birthday you are expected to bring in cakes (though only on a day agreed with Lee, the Head of Sports Science). Andy Edwards the youth-team manager got plaudits for his doughnuts but loanee Jayden Stockley got some stick as the lads thought his cream cakes were below par.
The players were also busy filling in their Fifa World Player of the Year nominations. I didn't realise that even at our level the lads are asked to select their 11 best players. They took it very seriously too, perhaps because Lloyd James revealed that when he was at Colchester a team-mate nominated the XI correctly and was flown out as a guest to the ceremony.
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