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Emile Heskey: Rebuilding The Reputation

Started on 3 December 2017 by Feliks
Latest Reply on 3 December 2017 by Feliks
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Embattled Leyton Appoint Heskey

Vanarama National side Leyton Orient FC have turned to former England international Emile Heskey as their new manager after the dismissal of Omer Riza.

Heskey will be the club's 12th manager in just three years but the first under new chairman Nigel Travis, who has bought the club from previous boss Francesco Becchetti. Leyton Orient were one of the strongest sides in League One in 2014/15 but have since plummeted, and last season finished last in League Two to be relegated out of the Football League for the first time since 1905.

This will be Emile Heskey's first ever role in management, after retiring as a player in 2016 and spending a year out of the game. Heskey played 62 times for the English national team and scored over 100 goals in the Premier League for Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Aston Villa. The 39 year old is thought to favour an attacking style of play and brings a wealth of experience at the highest level to the side.

Heskey in action for Bolton in 2016

Fans of the O's are sceptical of Heskey's lack of managerial experience, but chairman Nigel Travis has defended the move, saying that Heskey showed 'exemplary suitability for the role'. Experienced managers have been the status quo for Leyton Orient in the last 3 years, but with such a rapid changeover in managers, perhaps a refreshed approach will be what Orient have sorely needed for some time.

Heskey will inherit a squad that, on paper, appears to be one of the strongest in the Vanarama National, but recent times have shown us that Orient's problem does not lie on the pitch, but in the dressing room. Heskey will have a matter of months to address these issues, and line up for day one at Sutton United for Orient's first game outside the Football League in 112 years.
Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
2 yearsEdited

Story Hub

The Manager

Emile William Ivanhoe Heskey

Date of Birth: 11th November 1978 (age 39)
Nationality: English, Antiguan
Place of Birth: Leicester, United Kingdom

Coaching Qualifications: UEFA B License
Media Handling Style: Reserved
Personality: Fairly Professional

Managerial History
2017/18 Leyton Orient Vanarama National, TBD
The Club

Leyton Orient Football Club

Founded: 1881
Nickname: Orient, The O's
Rivals: West Ham, Southend, Brentford, Dag & Red
Legends: Tommy Johnstone

Manager: Emile Heskey
Captain: Charlie Lee
Vice Captain: Jobi McAnuff

Stadium: Brisbane Road (capacity 9,311)
The Story
2017/18 | Leyton Orient | Vanarama National

#0. Embattled Leyton Appoint Heskey
#1. Leyton Orient: Rock Bottom
#2. LIVE: Emile Heskey's First Press Conference
#3. Leyton Loan Edun
#4. Youthful Approach at Leyton Orient

Leyton Orient: Rock Bottom

Just three years ago, Leyton Orient had finished 3rd in the English third division, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion and failing to win their playoff. The future looked bright for a side well-equipped to push further in 2014/15 and perhaps reach the Championship for the first time since 1982. There was a sense of stability at the club; Russell Slade had been manager since 2011 and Barry Hearn chairman since 1995.

Then, Hearn sold the club to Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti,

In 2014/15, the Orient side that was tipped for promotion finished 23rd and crashed out of League One automatically, with Russell Slade, Kevin Nugent and Fabio Liverani losing their jobs throughout the season. An 8th placed finish in League Two looked to be a stabilising position, but instead, the 2016/17 season chewed through 5 different managers and saw the O's finish 24th, dropping out of the Football League for the first time since 1905. So what went so wrong?

Although not all of the blame can be applied to the top, the former chairman Francesco Becchetti must be held accountable for the club's spectacular demise. Previous chairman Barry Hearn had built the London club into a strong third division side after buying it for £5 in 1995, whilst Becchetti has left it a struggling fifth division outfit on the brink of administration. He had a trigger finger for managers, sacking nine in three years, and spent unnecessary money on failed and overpaid players. Outside of football, Albania are trying to extradite him after a failed hydroelectic program left them millions of pounds in debt.

Becchetti has not been spotted at a Leyton game since fan protests began in November 2016

It's also reported that Becchetti even interfered in team selection, forcing former player-manager Kevin Nolan to select certain players and even freezing out players, including Scott Kashket, who was once ready to come on as a substitute before the manager was told to put on 'anyone but him'. Some more bizarre antics from Becchetti included kicking manager Andy Hessenthaler, forcing his players into a week-long hotel stay after a losing streak and dressing down striker Darius Henderson over the PA system for arriving late to a game. More pertinently, there's been very little communication with the fans, who well and truly lost faith in Becchetti by the time he sold the club last month.

New owner Nigel Travis will be looking to mend this deep mistrust between the boardroom and the fans, and after appointing the inexperienced Emile Heskey, appears to be taking a refreshing new approach to club leadership. It's thought that Travis effectively wiped the club's debt but will be less hesitant to pump money into the club in the same way Becchetti did, meaning shrewd decision making will need to be the goal. Leyton Orient, just three years ago, were a club knocking on the door of the Championship. Now, they'll start their revival by knocking on the door of the Football League itself.

LIVE: Emile Heskey's First Press Conference

Emile Heskey
Nigel Travis

First question for Nigel; it's safe to say that Emile Heskey is a completely inexperienced manager, with this being his first role in football outside of playing. Considering the position of the club at this time, why wasn't your first appointment an experienced manager?

First of all, I want to assure the fans that the club undertook an extensive recruitment process and we interviewed a wide range of candidates. At the end of this process, it was Emile that we were most impressed with.

What made you so impressed with Emile's application?

Emile showed a burning passion for the game. He has a lot of experience at the highest level of football with some of the world's biggest clubs,
and that knowledge is invaluable for a club with aspirations such as ours. His tactical understanding of the game is very impressive as well, and I think you'll find Emile is one of the best young managers in the game.

A question for Emile now. In the short term, what are some of the measures you will take to ensure success for a side that has been struggling for a number of years now?

Good question thankyou, basically we need to start restoring trust, whether it be between the club management and the players, the management and the fans, the players and the fans - we can all agree it's been a tough few seasons for Orient fans and at the end of the day, we play for them. I'm also going to be putting faith into my players, and I won't be selling anyone.

Is promotion the immediate goal this season?

Absolutely, 100 percent. The club, right now, is in a position to take itself straight back into the Football League and that is the main goal without a doubt. I firmly believe we have the players, the staff and the passion to go up this season.

Nigel, Leyton Orient managers have been some of the most threatened in the game, with no less than twelve in just three seasons. Just how lenient will you be on your managers, and will Emile's job rest on that goal of promotion?

Absolutely not. I believe one of the biggest downfalls of the club has been the rapid turnover of managers since Barry Hearn sold the club. There are reasonable expectations in place for Emile, but the board has full faith in his abilities and intend on him being our manager for the full 2017/18 season and beyond.

Emile, have you identified any potential transfer targets at this stage?

At this stage, I'm going to be putting faith in my contracted players. I think we definitely have a strong enough side to win the league, and if I was to move in the transfer market, it would more than likely be through loan deals to solidify the squad in the short term. I'd also like to pick up some youngsters that can form the nucleus of our squad for many years to come.

Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
2 yearsEdited

Leyton Loan Edun

Leyton Orient have added Fulham midfielder Tayo Edun in a bid to bolster it's 2017/18 promotion campaign.

The 19 year old made his professional debut against the O's in a League Cup game in 2016 but is yet to make his league debut with the Cottagers. Edun has drawn comparisons with his younger teammate Ryan Sessegnon, and will hope experience at the lower level can continue to aid in his development.

Edun is considered an intelligent and versatile player, able to play across midfield and the left side of the pitch, with his decision-making considered his best trait. It is thought that new manager Emile Heskey will utilise him as a left back, rotating with current option Joe Widdowson, but the youngster can also provide cover in central midfield. Edun will be unavailable for a number of weeks in pre-season, representing England Under-19s at the Under-19 European Championships.

Leyton Orient are thought to be pursuing a number of loan deals, including Sheffield Wednesday's Cameron Dawson, Reading's Josh Barrett and MK Don's Giorgio Rasulo.

Youthful Approach At Leyton Orient

The recent past might have been bleak for Leyton Orient, but the future looks far more secure with the announcement that 5 Under-23 players have been promoted to the first team squad on a full-time basis. Many of the players had extended stays in the squad during last season, including Sam Dalby and Myles Judd, but will now form an integral part of the Orient squad.

Josh Koroma looms as the most likely to make a big impact this season for Leyton Orient after playing 22 games for the O's last year. The left winger can also play up front and scored his first goals for the club with a hat trick against Newport County in March. Koroma possesses great pace and good dribbling, and exhibits good composure for a player of his age. Championship side Barnsley are rumoured to be interested in the 18 year old.

Another player with illustrious suitors is striker Sam Dalby, who will compete and work closely with experienced forward David Mooney. The 17 year old is thought to be on the radar of a number of Championship sides, and for good reason after emerging with 16 games for Orient last season. At 191 cm, Dalby is already a great size for his age and possesses a good leap which makes him a formidable target man.

Myles Judd played 20 times for the O's last season, and impressed with his speed as a right back as well as his decision-making. Judd made his debut at the age of 16 and has worked his way into the first team squad since then. Currently, he looks set to be Jake Caprice's backup and still has a way to go with the technical aspect of his game. However, his physicality and work rate set him apart as a young defender.

Henry Ochieng and Freddy Moncur played just 15 games between them last season but both loom as central midfield options for the future. Both are avid passers of the ball, with good vision and decision-making, but will need to work on their strength and endurance to become first-team players. However, they should get experience in cup games and continue to grow as footballers,

Youth Players Join Orient Ranks

Youth players Aron Thompson and Matt Frohawk have joined the ranks of Leyton Orient after successfully completing trials with the London-based club. Both players have travelled some way to sign professional deals, and have been lauded as stars of the future.

Matt Frohawk is an English midfielder, who graduated from the Yorkshire Elite Football Academy. Born in Bradford, the 16 year old travelled to London for a trial with the O's and impressed coaches with his tackling, decision-making and strength. Frohawk will work closely with first team midfielder Alex Lawless to develop his game and is likely to feature heavily for the Under-23 squad.

Aron Thompson is an interesting case; born in Wales, he has played in the youth academies of The New Saints and Swansea but in both cases was expelled for disciplinary reasons. At 193cm, he is extremely tall for his age but also has excellent technical ability. Heskey will be hoping he can 'tame the beast' because Thompson looms as an outstanding attacking midfielder for the future. Like Frohawk, he will play Under-23 football this season.

Two More Loan Signings For Leyton

Leyton Orient have acquired the services of Norwich goalkeeper Aston Oxborough and MK Dons forward Giorgio Rasulo for the 2017/18 season.

The deals add even more depth to the O's squad for minimum transfer outlay, with both believed to have 100% of their wages paid by their parent club.

Aston Oxborough is a 19 year-old goalkeeper from Norwich, yet to make his professional debut. However, he has played 4 times for England's Under-21 squad, and at 196 centimetres tall, is an imposing figure in the box. He also has terrific acceleration from his line and, coupled with good composure and passing, should prove to be an effective sweeper keeper.

Giorgio Rasulo, meanwhile has steadily progressed through the MK Dons youth ranks, making his debut as long ago as 2013, but has struggled to find form at League One level. Last season, he made just 3 league appearances for the Dons and has joined Leyton Orient in search of regular, first team football. Rasulo possesses exemplary technical ability as well as flair, but his workrate can sometimes be suspect.

Disappointing Pre-Season For Leyton

It was a disappointing set of results for Leyton Orient in their pre-season friendlies, winning just one out of five matches. The O's side look unprepared and unfit heading into the matches, and will be hoping they can improve in the season ahead.

An away trip to League 2 side Yeovil ended in a 1-1 draw, with Josh Koroma scoring and Joe Widdowson starring at left back. Another League 2 opponent in Mansfield comfortably dispatched the O's 3-1, with Macauley Bonne scoring. The worst performance of the pre-season by far was against Southern Division One West side Didcot, losing 3-0, before giving up an early lead to draw 1-1 with Swindon. Orient rounded off the pre-season with a 1-0 win over Southern Premier side Hitchin.

Heskey Confident Ahead Of Opening Day

Leyton Orient will begin their Vanarama National campaign on the road to Sutton United, but new manager Emile Heskey is confident his players can get off to a winning start.

Emile Heskey:
"We're very confident for sure, there's no reason not to be. I think the players have worked really hard on the training ground and I expect their efforts to be rewarded. We need to respect Sutton but realistically we have the better side, so it's up to us to make the scoreboard reflect that."

The relegated side go in as 4-3 favourites for the clash, which will likely see the debut of a number of new signings, although captain Charlie Lee will more than likely miss out.

Leyton Triumph In Thrilling Shootout

Leyton Orient have won their first Vanarama National match, defeating Sutton United 5-4 in a thrilling encounter at Gander Green Lane.

Sutton striker Moses Emmanuel scored first in the 25th minute, before Leyton responded in double with goals from Giorgio Rasulo and Macauley Bonne. A second goal to Emmanuel made the score 2-2 at half time.

After a slower period, James Dayton scored a tap-in in the 74th minute, followed by Rasulo's brace in the 77th. Dayton's second in the 91st minute had the score at 5-2, but Leyton were in for a scare, conceding 92nd and 95th minute goals to hold on at 5-4. Emmanuel finished with the match ball for his hat trick.

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