Jonny Davies: A top-two place has gone, now for the play-offs – and trying to get our player trophies back
The O Zone: Behind the scenes at Leyton Orient
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Easter is a busy time at a football club, though for us it was not so much a Good Friday as a bad one with our automatic promotion hopes finally extinguished when we lost 2-1 at Crawley.
Our defeat, and Brentford's victory over Preston, meant we could no longer catch the Bees. It was always going to be a big ask to pip them but there was still disappointment from the lads as they traipsed out with their protein shakes and huddled around my phone to see the results before warming down after the game.
Fortunately we have long secured a place in the play-offs and now our fate is set in stone we have time to prepare. The gaffer was wasting no time: my phone went off at 8:30am the following morning as he set me some work to do along with Matt, our analyst, in preparing some presentations etc on our play-off opponents. Those sides are most likely to be Preston, Rotherham and Peterborough, and Matt has been busy watching DVDs of past matches involving those sides, compiling stats and looking for any chinks in their armour.
That's not been the only preparation going on though as we are getting ready for our Player of the Year awards dinner at the Dorchester in Park Lane on Monday. The black-tie function has been something Barry Hearn, the chairman, has been keen on all season and there's a lot to prepare with the table plans and menu designs, though arguably the most unenviable task has fallen to Kevin Nugent, our assistant manager.
Nuge was tasked with getting the trophies back from the previous winners so they can be engraved for this year. It sounds simple but the reality has been far from it. The lads have brought in the wrong trophies time after time; Moses Odubajo misplaced the young player of the year trophy – which funnily enough had Nuge's name on from his playing days at the club – and it later turned up in our secretary Lindsey's office; and Howard, our community liaison officer, has been trying to track down Leon McSweeney to retrieve the community player of the year prize. Sweens, who is now at Northampton, has already had it remade after he dropped it in the car park at last year's event. If you're reading this Sweens, can you drop it off?
You might have seen us on Sky on Monday as we took on Wolves. A 3-1 defeat was harsh on us against the Champions-elect as we rattled the woodwork twice, had a goal disallowed and a stonewall penalty not given. Credit to the Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme who produced a stunning display. It was good to see our fans stay to clap Wolves off at the end, who deserve to be champions.
League One is a melting pot of clubs as demonstrated in the disparity between our Easter opponents Crawley – a side not long out of non-League – and Wolves, who were in the Premier League two years ago. Often the bigger clubs will have a whiff of "big time" about them but Wolves have been classy all season. They brought over 2,500 fans here and there were worries pre-match about a pitch invasion as winning meant they would have all but secured the title. However, but for a smoke bomb that led to three fans being ejected, they were well-behaved. Perhaps a sign in the away end toilets put up by Rob, our marketing manager, congratulating them on promotion and wishing them well next season helped.
Despite the defeat the character of our performance lifted everyone and resurrected hope of joining Wolves in the Championship, albeit a few weeks later than we hoped.
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