The U's start to the season has been woeful. 2 points from 18, Manager already sacked. So it was some trepidation that Team Wak set off down the M11 to London Thaan. East London to be more precise. The Matchroom Stadium is set right in amongst the terraced houses in their yellow London Brick. What's your endz? E10. Bustling London streetage, red buses, plastic bowls of fruit, more fried chicken (side breast) than you can suck your teet at and a nod to Prague and Balamory.
It's a neat little stadium, with housing in the in-fills and the usual corporate stuff in the main stand., It has a nice park outside and the least attractive part is, you guessed it, the away stand.
We passed up the away pub redolent with cheap LIDL Lynx and moronic bursts of "Essex, Essex" for an equally depressing generic burger in an equally depressing generic in town multi-store. Just how much sports wear can you sell/buy in a day? Back through said park. Much nicer these days mingling with the other team support. Footie in the seventies,eighties and even nineties was a truly frightening experience.
Just time for a pit stop in the bowels of the stand. No plastic bottle top goon squad at these turnstiles. An over zealous goon at Col U once tried to confiscate my Idris Fiery Jack as he actually thought it was beer.
Away days are generally a bit noisier than at home, The occasion, the fact that many will not have driven given the rail links and most would have been in that bear pit away pub saw to that. In this case the 771 travellers had precisely 7 "singing" Orient supporters who were definitely going "back to school on Monday"as a feeble competition and pretty much contested the one sided shoutathon for the whole afternoon. Nothing more depressing as a library atmosphere where you can hear all the players, all the time.
I don't think I have ever seen a "homer" ref at any home game I've ever been to but plenty seeming to relish being the 12th man for the away team. Today however saw a string of strange, inconsistent decisions that did nothing to inspire confidence from us one eyed lot. Just before kick off ther eager eyed officious ref spotted at least one player (Moncur) having broken a cardinal rule of having strapping that did not match the colour of his socks. (Black, Worn on yellow socks with this season's ridiculous black hoops.) After much hopping about Moncur was ordered off whilst several other players sheepishly tried to hide their offending strapping by appearing intent on hiding behind a blade of grass. The ref then started the game with Col U down to 10 men... which as you could imagine invoked the wrath of the barrack room lawyers amongst us.
Have you noticed especially in the lower tiers that a dropkick or a goal kick sees all 20 outfield players head in a sheep like Exodus to the near wing channel... Why not let the far side back/wing quietly head to the opposite wing and as Gary Neville would say "Bingo time down the ....wing, bingo time" .
Did I say 10 men prophetically? A lunge near the touchline on one time Col U striker Mooney by "The Beast" Okuanghae drew an instant red card and the predictable, blood boiling lick spittle rage you would expect from the discerning 771 despite the fact that we could all plainly hear the impact form the stands...and the usual dispute pitch side
Now, this was not the red mist challenge but was one of Magnus "The Beast"'s trademark hoofs a bit earlier. Man is a "lege". Or as the (old ) Barside sing, "Magnus is our leader, he is solid as a rock. He plays in front of Walker, and has a massive.......etc."
Standard celebrate at corner flag, trudge back slowly to centre past dejected keeper and stoney faced home end...
Another tired and worn cliche is "2 nil is the most dangerous score in football" and Orient pushed on to get back in the game and only a gravity defying (right side leap and somehow leftward flung huge white glove to left to close of what was a gaping open goal by Sam Walker. When he came to Col U from Chelsae on loan we sang he was Chelsea's number 49. He now is " Seven feet tall, Seven feet tall. The boy Sam Walker is 7 feet tall." With gloves and feet that big probably would give Magnus a close call in the shower.....
The officials last throw at a spoiler (The 4th official has indicated a minimum of 5 minutes.." led to the usual howls of disbelief but in seemingly no time at all it was the final whistle and the obligatory thank the travelling fans time.
In amongst this flash mob is a somewhat ashen faced yoot being comforted by his mates after it seems being asked to "leave the game" early by the local plod and will have some explaining to do to Mater and Pater when he eventually gets back home to Essex. My boy Tom Tom remarked that the fans had "mosh pitted the Po Po".. Did seem quite good natured joshing though.
5 points out of 21. Could have been worse.Orient were odds on to go up to the Champo for most of last year and the 2nd half saw us play gutsy, good football. Pass and move, they don't mean us? They surely do!