Jonny Davies: Bonding pays off as chickens come home to roost against Gillingham

The O Zone: Behind the scenes at Orient

There was something in the air at the training ground last week. The sprinklers were on for the first time following a very wet winter, as the spring sun beat down on Chigwell. Despite no win in our last five, the mood was good and the intensity of training was striking. It felt like the start of the season again.

We have lost a bit of momentum recently and the gaffer, Russell Slade, has been focused on keeping spirits up by providing reminders of just what we’ve achieved this season. His message has been clear and based on three key points: what we were – rank outsiders; what we are – guaranteed at least the play-offs; and what we can be – a Championship side in August.

He has also put an emphasis on togetherness and there have been a few team-building activities in the last couple of weeks, from laser clay shooting to watching the Champions League together. One such activity came last week when the lads took over the running of Nando’s restaurant in Brentwood in aid of charity.

The premise was simple: supporters buy tickets and get served their food by the lads, with proceeds going to our charity partners Haven House and St Joseph’s Hospice.

I think the players were expecting to hand out a few plates and pose for a few photos but I don’t think they realised how fully involved they needed to be, as they were assigned roles from cleaning to hosting, manning the tills and grilling the chicken.

Sometimes it can be tough to get the players to buy in to stuff like that but what was amazing was how into it they all were, as David Mooney was whizzing around wiping tables clean and showing customers to their tables, while the likes of Lloyd James got stuck into grilling the chicken and Moses Odubajo swept up.

It was a funny role reversal as the players served the staff too and I felt a bit awkward having to summon our striker Kevin Lisbie over and tell him: “Excuse me, Kev, I ordered halloumi and it hasn’t arrived yet.”

They all deserve a huge amount of credit and the only difficult thing was telling them that it was time to call it a night.

It was still the talk of the training ground on Thursday, though they weren’t quite as forthcoming when it came to clearing plates, reverting to “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who would clear the decks.

Thursdays normally mean the start of shape work, where the predicted opposition line-up will be laid out in mannequins and the lads go through wave after wave of passages of play. Following that, they went into an 11-a-side game, with one team given instructions to play in the style of Gillingham, our opponents on the Saturday, based on scouting reports. As I mentioned, there seemed to be something in the air, as the lads looked sharp with goals galore.

Unfortunately for the Gills, the lads carried on in the same manner on Saturday as we returned to form with a 5-1 thumping of our opponents, serving up some wonderful football. Maybe there was something in the chicken.

@JonnyDavies123

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones