Leyton Orient’s stadium announcer Phillip Othen discusses the O’s recent form in his regular monthly football column for the Echo
For all the rollercoaster-esque ups and downs experienced by Orient supporters since losing the League One play-off final back in 2014 (for downs read relegation, five managers and a series of increasingly bizarre incidents featuring owner Francesco Becchetti; the ups are to
be concluded), a sense of calm has pervaded the club in the past month.
Not least, the appointment of player-manager Kevin Nolan, while a risk for his lack of managerial experience, is a definite statement of ambition from the owners. At 33, the former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham midfielder possesses genuine talent at this level and, thus far, the players appear settled in the latest arrangement.
That is not to say this marks a return to the happiness enjoyed at Brisbane Road in 2013-14.
Finishing third and being a penalty kick away from reaching the Championship represented
the zenith of recent history in the East End.
But certainly the general feeling is that of optimism, albeit tempered by that world-weary
reality of being a lower-league football supporter. So, to the action on the pitch.
At home, Nolan followed up his inaugural win at Wycombe with a hard-fought, narrow victory when Newport visited on a Tuesday night. However, two more home fixtures brought two embarrassing League Two reverses (1-3 to Cambridge United, 0-4 to the leaders Northampton Town).
Nolan, playing himself from the start these days, found more joy on the road with an impressive win at high-flyers Portsmouth and repeating this feat (without the impressive part) at Notts County.
It is a case of two steps forward to every one taken back, but compared to last season,
that is comparatively smooth progress. Crowds are up despite playing in the basement division and match day is becoming a genuinely enjoyable experience.
And we all await Nolan’s 100th ever league goal for that icing on the cake.