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The Young Americans [Leyton Orient]

Leyton Orient QuarterbackStyle
Started on 11 October 2013 by Northwood
Latest Reply on 13 May 2014 by Northwood
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Unlucky about the Villa result, I can understand your frustration. Nice update and month, otherwise.
Walter : Unlucky about the Villa result, I can understand your frustration. Nice update and month, otherwise.

Thanks Walter

I’m normally not game planning specifically for every opponent but with Aston Villa being possible the best team in the league I did for this game.
The loss was expected but it was hard to watch us loss in the exact way we had tried to prevent.

November 2014

We failed to win a game at home in November and consequently fell from 1st to 4th place in the standing.

The positiv were that we were still picking points on the road and stayed in touch with the other top teams.

The new chairman Matthew Porter and the board had asked me to adjust my goals for the season. The increase in transfer and salary budget was so small that it didn't really had any effect what I decided to tell the board. I agreed with the board to change the season goal to a “Mid table finish” from the previous “Avoid relegation” I had set before the season started.

But for the players in the locker room i had a different goal now.

We needed to get to 75 points.

That was the cut-line the teams former owner Barry Hearn had set as a “minimum points necessary” to reach the playoffs two years before when in the Sky Bet League 1. I had a feeling that the same number of points could make us a top-six team this year as well and give us a shot at the Barclays Premier League playoffs.

Dean Cox was still struggling. The confident player that had won “Sky Bet League 1 player of the year” just a few months ago, now looked like a shadow of himself. The year before he had scored 9 goals but more importantly he had been the man with the last pass before the goal twenty-two times.
This year he were not even close.

The new baby-face owner Matthew Porter were also smart enough to ask me to sign a new contract.
Barry Hearn had originally hired me on a one year deal when i arrived from Las Vegas and a few month after I arrived the contract was extended for another year.
Now the board wanted me to sign a new two year contract with a £3.500 weekly salary.
Northwood's avatar Group Northwood
10 yearsEdited

”The Batt” gets hot

We were looking at a busy December with no less than seven games on the calendar.

Shaun Batt helped us getting back on the winning track with his two goals in the win against fallen giant Leeds United.

The next game was a lot tougher. Wolws who had moved up together with us from the Sky Bet League 1 were still hanging on in the top just behind us in 4th place.

We got off to a great start with a penalty after just 3 minutes. Tom Lawrence made no mistakes and we took the early lead. Even with the lead and playing a bit more defensive than normal we managed to hang on to the ball and controlled the game. In the end we gave the Wolws a few chances but we held tight and got another important win.

The schedule did not become easier when we had to travel to play 5th place Reading FC just three days later.
The game was a complete disaster. We not only lost 0-2 but we also committed a penalty and had two players sent off with direct red cards. It was the first time in my Leyton Orient career that I had two men sent off in the same game.

Shaun “The Batt 6.0” Batt just kept on scoring and he was now up to 15 goals in 20 games.
The amazing thing was that almost every goal was scored in exactly the same way.
David Mooney drops deep down into the midfield to pick up the ball and draw one of the central defenders with him. David Mooney gets the ball in his feet and turns up field and makes the deep pass inn behind the defends. Shaun “The Batt 6.0” Batt then simply outsprints the remaining defenders and alone with the keepers he has been deadly all season.
It looks so easy and still they manage to do it time and time again.

With the starting XI playing so well as they did we ran into another problem. The players that had joined us on loan before the season had not gotten much playing time and now they would not extend the loan for the second half of the season. Players like Lee Lucas, Chuks Aneke and João Teixeira were all leaving. That made us very exposed in the midfield and we would have to find a new midfielder before the transfer window closed.

In the US the MLS Cup was decided. Real Salt Lake brought home their second win overall and first since 2009. They had no problems blowing aside the New York Red Bulls in the final with the finals big player being GFOP Kyle Beckerman.

And dont forget to listen to this weeks Men in Blazers Podcast with Oakland As manager Billy Beane.
Nice update, you're doing very well yet again.
Walter : Nice update, you're doing very well yet again.

Thanks Walter.

That was a surprisingly good month against strong opponents.

The future is bright

Leyton Orient started the new year with a 2-1 FA Cup win over Crewe.
We got lucky in the draw for the 4th round when we got Oldham from the Sky Bet League 2.

Our backup keeper Jamie Jones wanted to move away from Leyton Orient to pursue first team football. We decided to sell him to Crewe A for £55K.
Instead we replaced him with Dejan Stojanovic who had played for Bologna and had already been part of the Macedonian national team. He of cause arrived Brisbane Road for free.
Dejan was a bit young for a first team keeper but I was building a team for the future that would hopefully reach its maximum potential in another 3-4 years and then Dejan Stojanovic would be ready.

It didn't help our midfield trouble that our regular starter Davide Bottone went down with a twisted ankle in the win over Burnley FC. He was ruled out for 5-6 weeks and that just highlighted the importance of finding an additional MC to add to the team.

The FA Cup game against Oldham was special. It was not just against the teams old coach Russell Slade but it was also a look into the future.
In an attempt to rest some of the starters who started to looked tired after a long season and to avoid more injuries I decided to start several of the clubs promising youngsters.

We gave debut to the new keeper, 21-year old Stojanovic. We also played with 16-year old Horace Ifill in the center defends and 19 year old De`reece Vanderhyde on the right side. It was very much a Leyton Orient team of the future.
And the future looked bright. Horace Ifill scored the late equalizer and became the youngest Leyton Orient player ever to score in a first team game.
We won the game on a late own goal by the Oldham keeper after a corner.

We were once again lucky with the draw for the 5th round and we pitched against Sheff United from the Sky Bet League 1

Disaster struck in the game against Doncaster. We were cruising to a 3-0 victory in the second half when Shaun “The Batt 6.0” Batt was taken down with a vicious tackle. He had already scored his 24th goal in 32 starts when it happened but now he had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
All 8.400 in the stands were holding their breath.
After the game it was confirmed that it was only a minor knock and that he would be back in 8-10 days. But he would miss the game against second place team Brighton later in the week.

I was more than happy to get away from Brighton with a 2-2 draw (two goals from David Mooney). That was the only points we dropped in an all around spectacular month of January.

1 free, 1 loan, and 1 buy

The silly-season finished two days into February. Real Madrid were the big spenders this year even if they were already 14 points !! clear of FC Barcelona on top of the LIGA BBVA. That didn't stop Los Blancos from using another £26M on new players bringing inn Ricardo van Rhijn from Ajax and Hugo Mallo from Celta.

With most of the loan players going back home to their teams due to lack of playing time Leyton Orient needed to add firepower in the midfield and we signing up three new players.

The first was new loan player from Bolton. Stephen Dawson was a veteran backup with several seasons in the Sky Bet Championship behind him. He would be with Leyton Orient until the end of the season.

Secondly we signed free agent Henry Jones to a two year deal. The 21-year old player had a future with Swansea and was and up and coming player, still considered at hot prospect. He was a deep lying playmaker with an excellent passing foot and more a signing for the future.

And finally we actually bought a player. The first player to arrive on Brisbane Road on a paid transfer was George Baldock from MK Dons. We paid £120K for the player who could both play as the central ball winning midfielder and on the right flank.

On the field Leyton Orient started the moth by playing a tired Huddersfield team. The Terriers had just beaten Barclays Premier League team Newcastle in the FA Cup 5th round three days earlier.
With two of our newly acquired players in the starting lineup we got an easy victory in a game where Mathieu Baudry not only won PoM but also played his game #100 for Leyton Orient.

Before the FA Cup game against Sheffield United I had to make a decision.Leyton Orient was now 9 points clear in the top of the division with 13 games left to play and we had a real chance for making a run for direct qualification to the Barclays Premier League.
But could we afford to also “waste” time and energy on the FA Cup with a team looking more and more tired bye the day due to injuries and lack of depth?
With only 16 teams left in the FA Cup we also had a real shot at making it to Wembley but that would mean that we would have to tire out our best 11 in midweek games down the stretch.

Before the game I decided to go with the backups.
I went well for one hour. We were up by a goal when youngster De`reece Vanderhyde managed to get himself sent off due to a somewhat unnecessary professional foul. To add insult to injury, Sheffield United scored on the ensuing free kick and two minutes later they scored the game winner.

In the last game of the month we picked up a hugely important point at Villa Park in front of the biggest crowd we had ever played for (35.419 people).
We finished the month 7 points ahead of Brighton in second place but more importantly 13 points in front of Aston Villa in 3rd with just 11 games left to play.

And finally don't forget to listen to this weeks Men in Blazers podcast.
Wow, seven points clear - you've done remarkably well in your first year!
Northwood's avatar Group Northwood
10 yearsEdited

The two first game of the month were against teams from the bottom half of the league and games we very much needed to win to keep our momentum going. I was worrying about complacency and that the team would start to look ahead and the still increasing injury list.

We got extremely lucky at The Den in the game against 4th placed team Millwall FC. Millwall were clearly the better team on the day and we were lucky to score the equalizer a minute into extra time of the squeaky bum time. The late goal not just gave us the draw but also extended our 16 games unbeaten run in the Sky Bet Championship and secured us at least a playoff spot.

The long season was finally getting to us as players started to drop left and right due to injuries.
Worst it looked for our backup Brazilian keeper Luciano.
Luciano had been sitting on the bench behind Dejan Stojanovic for the last couple of weeks and now he hurt his knee in practice and was ruled out for 6-7 months.
That’s a long time for any player and a VERY long time for a 35-year old backup player.

The loss finally came to Nottingham Forest. They scored three goals in a first half where we struggled to get hold of the ball.
The week after we bounced back with the help from Shaun Batt who again scored twice in the win against Bournemouth. That was his goals # 29 and 30 of the season.
That was also the last game of the month and we got a much needed break to try to reorganize and get some tired players back to full health.

In the first game of April we lost our only backup striker Ettore Mendicino for the remainder of the season due to injury. We were now down to just two strikers in The Batt 6.0 and David Mooney for the remaining five games. We could not afford any more injuries at this point.

The week after we were to play a huge game at home against QPR. both fans and players were aware that a win would guarantee us Barclays Premier League football next season. We still struggled to field a competitive team due to injuries and not even the sellout crowd could lift us to victory. We failed to get the point we needed but with two goals from Sheff Wed striker Emil Hesky against Millwall FC it didn't matter.

Leyton Orient had won promotion to the Barclays Premier League for the first time in team history.

Played Leeds just three days later and we could simply not field a team with first team players in game shape. We had four players from the U18 and U21 in the starting lineup and another three on the bench. We managed to come away with a 1-1 draw

That meant that we had a completely rested team the week after when we played the Wolves. We won the game 3-0 and took home the second title in two years.

In perhaps the best game since I took over as manager the team won 7-3 against Birmingham on the road in a game where Moses Odubajo scored a hattrick and Shaun Batt added another two goals to his scoring account.

We finished the season in front of a full packed home stadium and for the second year in a row managed the magical 100 points for the season. The only thing that made our back-to-back promotions a little less impressive was that Wolves did the same. They had moved up together with us the year before from the League 1 and now managed to secure a place in the Barclays Premier League next season after finishing “just” 5th in the league, 24 points behind us.
Wow, just wow. An incredible rise to the top.
Northwood's avatar Group Northwood
10 yearsEdited
Walter : Wow, just wow. An incredible rise to the top.

Thanks again Walter

This was a bit of a surprise. I knew that I had a good team that could fight for promotion from the Sky Bet League 1 the first season, but that almost the identical team was also good enough to make it to the EPL in their first attempt was a bit of a was a shocker.

But I am afraid the coming season will get real ugly (not in the face ugly) and the only positive is that we will be paid handsomely for being beaten up on a weekly basis.

While the team was still dancing and drinking champagne in the locker room after the final game of the season, I was called in to the office of baby-face President Matthew Porter. He was sitting at his desk, feet’s up with and a beer in his hand.

Congratulation” he said when I walked inn.

You have just costed me £32M” he continued with a big grin on his face while I sat down.

What are you talking about” I asked “I have just taken your team to the EPL and next year we will be making more money than ever before

That might be true” the baby face said before taking another sip of his beer “but I have just bought us a new stadium” he said and threw the clipboard with the press release in my direction.

The papers were already signed and our new home field would be ready in just over a year. This was a big deal. It would almost double our home game capacity (from 9.300 to 16.000) and guarantees Leyton Orient a huge increase in gate income from home games. But on the other hand it would also put the club in a lot of debt that would have to be paid off monthly (£155K per month) over a long time. That would not be a problem if we managed to stay in the EPL in the years to come but if we were to move straight down next year the club could easily end up in serious financial trouble that could threaten the clubs entire existence.
The stakes had just been raised.

With that much money going toward a new stadium I suddenly saw my transfer budget disappearing in thin air even before I had a chance to buy a single player. I tried to get Chairman Baby-face to tell me what I would have to work with in the upcoming season but the only thing I could get out of him was a guarantee that I would have an eight digit amount at my disposal. My brain immediately started to try to figure out just how many EPL players I could get for £10.000.000.

After the meeting I went back to my office and fell down in my office chair overlooking Brisbane Road after a long and eventful day.

The journey was finally over
or was it just getting started?

Whatever it was, the start or the beginning, it would have to wait until tomorrow. I got ready to get up of the chair and go home.

That’s when I saw it.

The big white envelope.

It was left causal under some papers on the desk but still in plain site where I was sure to notice it.
I was sure it had not been there in the morning and nobody had been in my office during the day.

I used what felt like my last powers to tear open the envelop and pull out what was inside. Inside was nothing but a single piece of paper with a single sentence written on it.


Little did I know how much I would come to hate those words in the next twelve months.
A nice update again, and it will be a good deal getting that new stadium in. But the financial side can't be too great as I'd imagine you'd need to reinvest in the squad.
Walter : A nice update again, and it will be a good deal getting that new stadium in. But the financial side can't be too great as I'd imagine you'd need to reinvest in the squad.

Actually the finances are not bad at all.

The club has used very little money the last few years. When I bought George Baldock earlier this season he became the only player on the team we had paid to bring inn. Everyone else had arrived on a free. And I have always been very strict with controlling my salary.
We also have very low cost in scouting and have not done any improvements to stadium, facilities or academy.

We don’t have a big stadium but is has been sold out for every single game this season and we will get close to £50M in TV money alone for playing in the EPL.
We will now have to take on a lot of extra costs (scouting, stadium loans, new players, salaries) but we will do fine if we manage to stay in the top division. The problem will come if we move back down and is not able to cut the costs again.

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