The O Zone: The gaffer was too ill to take charge but still sneaked out to watch

Life behind the scenes at Leyton Orient

This week illness hit the Os camp. It's that time of year and unfortunately in football clubs infection can spread quickly with people training, showering and eating together. The training ground was a quieter place than usual when I popped in on Thursday as half the youth team had been sent home and a couple of the first-team lads were struggling.

Given the ease of a bug spreading and the need to keep everyone in a small squad fit, every precaution is taken, right down to not allowing goalkeepers to room together on away trips in case one gets ill then infects the other.

In addition Lee Southernwood, our head of sports science, gave a presentation to all the players and staff about keeping healthy in winter. It included all the basic things, such as the importance of washing your hands and eating plenty of fruit and veg, through to different vitamin supplements the players should consider taking.

Unfortunately by the time Saturday's FA Cup tie with Walsall came around, our defender Scott Cuthbert had gone down with a virus so he missed out. Dean Cox was also struggling but managed to play and ended up scoring the winner.

One key man was missing though: the gaffer, Russell Slade. I'd spoken to him on the phone on Friday evening and he hadn't sounded himself. Then on Saturday I arrived at the ground and was told by our assistant manager Kevin Nugent that he'd be taking the match as the gaffer was ill.

However, just as we were getting ready for kick-off, Matt, our analyst, said to me: "Have a look over there," and pointed towards the flats in the corner of our ground. As I've mentioned before, the gaffer lives in one of them. His flat doesn't have a view of the pitch, but on the top floor is one occupied by our midfielder Johnny Gorman that does. The gaffer had borrowed his keys and you could see him, sitting on a chair, silhouetted in the gap made by opening the patio doors. He was even wearing his lucky baseball cap.

Nobody really clocked him until Dean scored and all of a sudden the patio doors flew open and the gaffer came careering out on to the balcony to celebrate!

Elsewhere this week it was good to see the age-old tradition of players singing to their new team-mates as an initiation is alive and well. On Tuesday we had a curry evening for charity organised by one of our commercial partners, the Star of India in Leytonstone. The restaurant put on a singer for the night who belted out the hits, but he didn't top the bill.

Normally the players' initiation song will take place on the first overnight away trip after they've joined the club. On Tuesday, though, Dean Cox decided it was as good a time as any to nick the microphone off the singer and get Robbie Simpson up to sing.

Simmo was probably the first player ever to do his song in front of a fully booked Indian restaurant, but got a standing ovation for his recital of MC Vapor. His MC-ing was something to behold and is well worth a watch on youtube.com/OrientOfficial.

twitter.com/@JonnyDavies123

Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
UK Border Control
i100
Arts and Entertainment
TV
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn