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

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
and  

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

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk