End of the road

Orient stadium announcer Phillip Othen looks back at a disappointing season for the O’s

Phillip Othen

Phillip Othen dons the Orient goalkeeper kit before an end-of-season staff match

Another season ticked off; with 69 points Orient finished a place outside the League 2 play-offs.

Now the season review is out of the way, it is time to focus on the highlight of my Orient-announcing career!

The Saturday following the season end (a dull 1-0 victory at Yeovil, which followed a meek 1-0 loss away to AFC Wimbledon and a gloomy 1-0 win against Mansfield) saw the annual staff game take place at Brisbane Road.

Alongside several of the professionals – leading-scorer Jay Simpson, defender-sometime-midfielder Sean Clohessy, long-term injury absentee Paul McCallum and youngsters Josh Koroma and Aron Pollock – were the management, press, fitness and training teams. And me.

That’s right, me, the Orient PA announcer, adorned in the traditional robes of the full Leyton Orient reserve goalkeeping kit, walked out on to the hallowed turf following 45 minutes of unbridled laughter as the professionals picked apart the amateurs – including a rather portly president Francesco Becchetti – to keep goal for the second half.

Although conceding three goals did dent my pride slightly (two came from the professional players in my non-existent defence), the aforementioned highlight occurred as a looping ball into the box found the boot of the man who netted 25 times this season – Simpson – and my cat-like reactions convinced my body to leap to the right and palm his volley around the post.

In other news, Orient are yet to announce their next full-time manger, which will be the eighth time Becchetti has gone through this process in just two years. But the club did find time to release eight players, with captain Lloyd James and former captain Mathieu Baudry being the headline-grabbers.

Summer is approaching, which means all our remaining players will be watching Euro 2016 before revisiting the drudgery of pre-season games as Orient make their second attempt to claw themselves out of the basement division.

Join me in August to see just how that goes, although I think we can all make an educated guess.

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