Leyton Orient F.C.
Learn more about Leyton Orient F.C.
|Full name||Leyton Orient Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The O's, The Far East(Enders), The Cockneys.
|Ground||The Matchroom Stadium|
|Capacity||7,920 (One stand under reconstruction)|
|Chairman||Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg Barry Hearn|
|2005-06||League Two, 3rd (promoted)|
Leyton Orient's home stadium is the Matchroom Stadium on Brisbane Road, in Leyton, Waltham Forest, in Greater London. Matchroom is the name of chairman Barry Hearn's sports promotion company. The stadium was recently refurbished. Barry Hearn became chairman in 1995 after the club was famously put on sale for five pounds by the then-chairman, the late Tony Wood OBE, after his coffee-growing business in Rwanda was destroyed by that country's civil war. The period of the club's near-closure was covered by the Channel Four television documentary Orient: Club for a Fiver. The documentary is commonly but incorrectly known as Yours for a Fiver.
Historic rivals include neighbours Leyton FC, Leytonstone FC, Walthamstow Avenue and The Wanderers FC; however these rivalries dissolved decades ago due to these rivals still being in the non-league pyramid. The O's nearest 'League' rival are West Ham United. However, this 'Eastend' derby rarely takes place as most of their history has been spent in different divisions.
Leyton Orient spent one season in top-flight football in in 1962-3. Though the O's were relegated, they had three memorable victories within the space of twelve days against rivals West Ham, eventual champions Everton, and Manchester United. In August 1974, they were Manchester United's first opposition in their only postwar Second Division campaign. In 1978, Orient reached the semi-finals of the F.A Cup for the first and only time in their history, under the management of Jimmy Bloomfield. Between October 1993 and September 1995, Orient did not win a single away game in the league. This terrible run of form saw them finish bottom of Division Two in 1994-95.
Famous players to have worn the Orient shirt include Laurie Cunningham, Chris Turner (who was also joint manager in the 1994-95 season), Alvin Martin, Les Sealey and Peter Shilton. During the 1996-97 season, the 47-year-old Shilton kept goal for Orient in nine Division Three games which were to be the last of his 1005-game, 30-year league career. On 22nd December 1996 he played his 1,000th league game in Orient's home win over Brighton. Some of the great goal scorers have included Tommy Johnston, David Dunmore and Peter Kitchen and more recently Carl Griffiths, Gary Alexander and Matthew Lockwood.
The club's current manager is Martin Ling, who took over from Paul Brush in 2003. Notable former managers include Frank Clark, Pat Holland and Tommy Taylor.
Leyton Orient was originally formed by members of the Glyn Cricket Club in 1881. The team has had several name changes since, first as Eagle Football Club in 1886 then as Orient Football Club in 1888. History books written on the Club by its Historian Neilson N Kaufman suggest that the choice of the name Orient came about at the behest of a player who was an employee of the Orient Shipping Company (later to be taken over by P&O). The club's name was changed again to Clapton Orient in 1898 to represent the area of London in which they played. However, some historians think the name Orient was simply chosen due to its oddity and has no connections to them being an East-end club.
The name Leyton Orient was adopted following the conclusion of the Second World War. The club had moved to Leyton in 1937. A further rename back to simply Orient took place in 1966 after the Borough of Leyton was absorbed into the London Borough of Waltham Forest. That renaming followed a financial crisis (one of several to hit the club, and by no means the first or last) and restructuring of the company behind the club; this is remembered for a "pass the bucket" collection that took place at a special meeting of supporters in the East Stand, when complete closure was claimed to be a definite possibility.
The club finally reverted back to Leyton Orient in 1987, shortly after Tony Wood took over as chairman and at a time when a supporters campaign was taking place in the Leyton Orientear fanzine to reinstate the Leyton part of the club's name.
The O’s are the second oldest Football League club in London and the south-east of England behind Fulham. They played in the 2nd Division of the Southern League in 1904 and they joined the Football League in 1905 and are the 24th oldest club currently playing in the Football League.
The 1914-15 season was the last football season before the football league was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War. 40 members of the Clapton Orient team and staff joined the army the highest of any football team in the country. At the final game of the season, 20,000 people came out to support the team. A farewell parade was also hosted.
During the Battle of the Somme, three players lost their lives: Richard McFadden, George Scott and William Jonas. Though they were the only Orient staff to have died during the First World War, it was the highest casualty figures of any football team in Britain. The story of the club's involvement in the First World War has been told in a 2005 book entitled 'They Took The Lead', by Stephen Jenkins (the deputy chairman of the O's Supporters Club).
 Club crest
Orient's symbol is made up of two wyverns facing each other over a football. The wyvern symbol was introduced in 1976 and is believed to incorporate Orient's links with the City of London (the wyvern is the symbol of the City) and with the sea (through the old Orient Shipping Company).
Previous club crests have included a version of the Borough of Leyton's coat of arms and a single red dragon.
 Best seasons
Orient's golden years were in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1961/62 season Orient were promoted to the top tier of English football, the First Division (now the FA Premier League), for the only time in their history, after finishing second in Division Two under the management of Johnny Carey. The team struggled in the top flight and were relegated from the top division the following season. They spent the whole of the 1970s in Division Two. In 1978 Orient were defeated in the semi final of the FA Cup, the furthest they have progressed in that competition.
Leyton Orient were Division Three South champions in the 1955/56 season and Division Three champions in the 1969/70 season. They were also the Anglo-Scottish Cup Runners up 1976/77.
Leyton Orient were promoted in the 1988/89 season, when under manager Frank Clark they were promoted in the Division Four Play-Off Final after a 2-1 aggregate victory over Wrexham F.C.. More recently, under manager Tommy Taylor, Orient were defeated in the 1999 and 2001 Third Division Play-Off Finals, played at Wembley Stadium and the Millennium Stadium respectively. The latter final saw the fastest ever club goal scored to date at the Millennium Stadium, as Orient's Chris Tate scored after just 27 seconds.
Leyton Orient's last promotion was in the 2005/06 season finishing 3rd place and gaining automatic promotion to the Coca-Cola League 1 under the direction of manager Martin Ling. This ended a period of 11 years in the English league's bottom division. This promotion season also saw an excellent FA cup run with Leyton Orient getting to the 4th round after beating Premiership side Fulham F.C..
There have been 9 books written on the club and its players. These are:
1974: A Pictorial History by Neilson N Kaufman and Alan Ravenhill (out of print)
1981: The Centenary Handbook - 100 years of the O's by Neilson N Kaufman (out of print)
1990: The Complete Record of Leyton Orient FC by Neilson N Kaufman and Alan Ravenhill, published by Breedon Book Publishing (out of print)
2001: Images of Leyton Orient FC - History through photographs by Neilson N Kaufman, published by Tempus Publishing
2002: The Men Who Made Leyton Orient FC - Profiles on all the players 1904 to 2002 by Neilson N Kaufman, published by Tempus Publishing
2004: Biography of the club's greatest player Tommy Johnston by Neilson N Kaufman, published by Breedon Book Publishing
2005: They Took The Lead: Clapton Orient in World War One by Stephen Jenkins
July 2006: Biography - The Goal Gourmet - The Peter Kitchen Story by Neilson N Kaufman, published by Derwent Press
August 2006: The Complete Record 1881 - 2006 by Neilson N Kaufman and Alan Ravenhill, published by Breedon Book Publishing.
Leyton Orient's initial ground was at Glyn Road between 1884 and 1896 when the club moved to Whittle's Athletic Ground and played there until 1900. The O's left Whittle's Athletic Ground for Millfields Road soon after. A further ground change in 1930 to Lea Bridge Road occurred, but a complaint over perimeter fencing in 1930 meant that Orient were forced to play home games at another ground while urgent alterations took place. They chose to play the first at Wembley Stadium, and even though Lea Bridge was ready again, chose Highbury and Wembley once again; an attendance of 2500 ensured a move back to Lea Bridge. Finally, the club moved to their current Brisbane Road home in 1937.
Brisbane Road has undergone many changes since Orient's arrival. Previously the home of an amateur team, it initially had only one stand (known as "the orange box") on the east side that held 475 people, and cover on the west side for standing. All of the standing comprised of cinder banks. The East Stand (also known as the Main Stand) was bought from Mitcham Greyhound Stadium in 1956, and eventually extended to cover the whole east side. The terraced enclosures at the front of the East Stand were replaced by seating in the late 1990s. Over the decades, the west side became a covered terrace and finally a seated-stand, while uncovered terracing was built at the north and south sides. As the ground's capacity was being progressively reduced through changes to ground safety regulations, Orient looked to redevelop Brisbane Road as an all-seater stadium to secure its future there.
The initial plans, dubbed Orient 2000 by the club, were revealed in the mid-1990s. The plans were ambitious, as they involved rotating the pitch and developing all four sides. However, the club's near-bankruptcy and subsequent buy-out by Barry Hearn meant that a more realistic redevelopment plan was instigated. The first phase involved demolition of the South Terrace in the late 1990s, and after delays while National Lottery funding was unsuccessfully sought, the new South Stand was opened at the start of the 1999/2000 season.
The next phase of redevelopment (replacement of the North Terrace and West Stand) ran into financial problems. Notwithstanding that finance for the redevelopment had already been raised by selling off the four corners of the stadium for residential blocks of flats, an increase in costs meant that an emergency general meeting of the company was needed in April 2005. It was agreed that the club should sell a c.999-year lease on the West Stand for £1.5 million to a consortium led by Barry Hearn (under the company name Samuel Beadie (Leyton) Ltd, or SBLL), with SBLL leasing back to the club on a same-length lease all of the stand except the office space for an annual rent of £1. The additional funds generated by this complicated arrangement were used to complete the building of the West Stand. External completion of the West Stand was achieved in mid 2005. The stand has a single lower tier of seating, while further up the structure are directors' and corporate hospitality boxes, club offices and player facilities (the latter have yet to be fitted out, and the players continue to use the facilities in the East Stand).
A second EGM was held in May 2006, where it was agreed to sell further land behind the North and South Stands to SBLL for £1.25 million, the proceeds to be used to fund the building of the North Stand. The current plan is for building of the North Stand to commence in July 2006 and for the stand to be open by Christmas 2006, giving the O's a four sided ground once more with a capacity approaching 10,000. The modernisation of the East Stand is a more distant prospect.
It is unknown what effect London gaining the 2012 Olympics will have on Leyton Orient's long-term stadium development, given the amount of sports stadia construction that will take place in East London.
Orient are currently managed by Martin Ling, a former Youth Team Manager and Leyton Orient player. Martin Ling also played in the Premiership for Swindon Town. The First Team Coach is Dean Smith, another former player who captained the side. He has returned to the club after a season and a half absence playing for Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale. The Youth Team Manager is former O's midfielder Andy Scott, who was forced to give up playing football in 2005 after being diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a rare heart disorder which has claimed the lives of several famous people, including Manchester City footballer Marc-Vivien Foé.
Most league goals in total - 121 Tommy Johnston 1956-58, 1959-61
League position most frequently attained: 19th
 Current squad
 Former players
- Peter Allen
- Sid Bishop
- Ian Bowyer
- Steve Castle
- Stan Charlton
- John Chiedozie
- Alan Comfort
- Laurie Cunningham
- Ray Goddard
- Tony Grealish
- Carl Griffiths
- Phil Hoadley
- Terry Howard
- John Jackson
- Tom Johnston
- Peter Kitchen
- Terry Mancini
- Glenn Roeder
- Dennis Rofe
- Tommy Taylor
 External links
- Leyton Orient F.C. on BBC Sport:
- Leyton Orient 100% Unofficial fanzine
- Leyton Orient FC Official Site
- Leyton Orient Fans' Trust
- Brisbane Road - Independent Leyton Orient Website
|Football League One, 2006-2007|
Blackpool | Bournemouth | Bradford City | Brentford | Brighton & Hove Albion | Bristol City | Carlisle United | Cheltenham Town | Chesterfield | Crewe Alexandra | Doncaster Rovers | Gillingham | Huddersfield Town | Leyton Orient | Millwall | Northampton Town | Nottingham Forest | Oldham Athletic | Port Vale | Rotherham United | Scunthorpe United | Swansea City | Tranmere Rovers | Yeovil Town edit