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Leyton Orient F.C.
The Leyton Orient Crest
Full name Leyton Orient Football Club
Nickname(s) The O's
Founded 1881 (as Eagle Cricket Club)
Ground Brisbane Road
(Capacity: 9271)
Chairman Barry Hearn
Manager Geraint Williams
League Football League One
2008–09 League One, 14th
Home colours
Away colours

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Leyton Orient F.C. (pronounced /ˈleɪtn ˈɔriənt/) are an English professional football club based in east London. They currently play in League One of the Football League. The team is often known to its fans simply as the O's.

Leyton Orient have spent only one season in the top flight of English football, in 1962–63. Though they were immediately relegated, they had three memorable victories within the space of twelve days against local rivals West Ham, eventual champions Everton, and Manchester United. In August 1974, they were Manchester United's first opposition in the latter's only post-war Second Division campaign. In 1978, Orient reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the 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.

Geraint Williams was appointed manager on 5 February 2009, taking over from Kevin Nugent who was in temporary charge after the sacking of Martin Ling on 18 January 2009.[1]




Formation and name

Leyton Orient was originally formed by members of the Glyn Cricket Club in 1881, many of whom were former students of Homerton College. The team has had several name changes since, first as Eagle Cricket Club in 1886 then as Orient Football Club in 1888.

The Os are the second oldest Football League club in London behind Fulham. They played in the 2nd Division of the Southern League in 1904, joined the Football League in 1905 and are the 24th oldest club currently playing in the Football League.

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 (Jack R Dearing) 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 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.

World War 1

The 1914–15 season was the last football season before the League was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War. 41 members of the Clapton Orient team and staff joined up into the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (the Footballers' Battalion) the highest of any football team in the country and the first to join up en masse.[2] At the final game of the season – Clapton Orient vs Leicester Fosse, 20,000 people came out to support the team. A farewell parade was also hosted, but not before the O's had won 2–0. The British Film Institute hold a brief recording of this historic match and parade in their archives.

During the Battle of the Somme, three players gave their lives for King and Country: Richard McFadden, George Scott and William Jonas. Though they were the only Orient staff to have died during the First World War, many others sustained wounds, some more than once and were not able to resume their football careers after the war. Prior to the First World War, Os striker Richard McFadden had saved the life of a boy who was drowning in the River Lea as well as rescuing a man from a burning building. History was made on Saturday 30 April 1921 when the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward Vlll, visited Millfields Road to see the O's play Notts County. The Orient won 3 – 0 and this was the first time a member of royalty had attended a Football League match. The royal visit was to show gratitude for Clapton Orient's patriotic example during the Great War and there is now a plaque erected on the site of the Millfields Road Stadium to commemorate this historic event.[3]

The story of the club's major 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 Leyton Orient Supporters' Club). In July 2006 Steve Jenkins, assisted by Les Bailey, took a party of 150 Leyton Orient supporters and members of the Leyton and Manor Park Royal British Legion over to the Somme region of northern France, to visit the World War I war graves and in particular to pay their respects at the resting places of Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott. This was the first official visit to the Os war graves for 90 years. The trip was so successful that a second visit to the Somme took place the weekend of 12/13 July 2008, this time 183 Os supporters and members of the RBL made the historic pilgrimage. Media interest is growing concerning this amazing and proud period of the Orient's history. Chris Slegg, a BBC London reporter travelled with the party and footage of the Somme trip was shown on every local news bulletin throughout the day on the Monday following the trip.

It is hoped that a documentary or film will one day be made on Clapton Orient's proud service during the Great War. In August 2009 Steve Jenkins, along with fellow Os supporter Theresa Burns and Orient legend Peter Kitchen launched the 'Os Somme Memorial Fund' with the objective of erecting a permanent memorial in northern France in honour of the Clapton Orient side that answered the call of King and Country.

Later 20th century

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. Nonetheless, they did defeat West Ham United in a famous 'double' victory (home and away wins). 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.

In 1978 the club was indirectly responsible for the album Variations composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for his brother, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. This reached No.2 in the pop album charts. Variations came about as the result of a bet between the two brothers on the outcome of Orient's final game of the 1976/77 season against Hull City.

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.

The new millennium

Leyton Orient's most recent promotion was in the 2005/06 season, finishing in third place and gaining automatic promotion to the Football League One under the direction of manager Martin Ling. This was the club's first automatic promotion in 36 years, and 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 progressing to the fourth round after beating Premiership side Fulham F.C.. Promotion was only secured in the final minutes of the final game of the season, away at Oxford United; with the score tied at 2–2 and Orient seemingly destined to miss out yet again on promotion, news came through of a late goal scored against promotion rivals Grimsby Town F.C. that would potentially promote Orient, and the Orient fans were still celebrating this when just 14 seconds later, Lee Steele scored to confirm Orient's promotion. The result also relegated Oxford to the Football Conference.

In 2006–07, Orient endured a difficult season in the third tier, having spent most of the season in or around the relegation zone, and were bottom of the table at times in the first half of the season. An improvement in fortunes after Christmas – including memorable wins against Millwall, Tranmere Rovers and a vital win at eventually-relegated Bradford City near the end of the season – helped them finish in 20th place, one spot above the relegation zone. Most of the promotion-winning side left at the end of the season, through a combination of players released and some rejecting new contracts, and while the club's longest-serving player Matthew Lockwood did sign a new contract, he moved to Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed sum later in pre-season.

Since 2007

2007–08 was better, as Orient finished 14th with 60 points.[4] The O's began the season in fine form, not dropping out of the top 7 until after Christmas. But due to the size of the squad when injuries became apparent the team began to struggle because they had nothing in reserve so started to slowly fall down league and only recording 3 wins from the last 12 games ending the season in respective 14th place.

Leyton Orient kicked off the 2008–2009 season with a 2–1 win over Hereford United at home. Dean Beckwith put Hereford ahead before JJ Melligan and Adam Boyd gave Orient the win. Orient then continued the season with multiple poor results and performances throughout September and October and their only wins were away matches against Walsall and Southend United in the Football League Trophy first round. However Orient were knocked out of the football league trophy in the following round in an away match at Brighton & Hove Albion. They were in 22nd position in the Football League One table. Orient booked a place in the second round of the FA Cup after beating Colchester United 1–0. Two Goals from Jason Demetriou and Danny Granville in a 1–2 away victory against Bradford City put Orient through to the third round of the FA Cup where they played Sheffield United at home. The lost 4–1 and so left the tournament. Orient parted company with manager Martin Ling and assistant Dean Smith. Youth Team Manager Kevin Nugent was named caretaker manager overseeing three games. On 5 February 2009 Geraint Williams was announced as Manager until the end of the season. He has enjoyed a very positive start, winning seven of his first nine matches and moving Orient up to 15th. After Geraint Williams' positive influence on the team they secured their League One status on the 13th April with a 1–0 win over Swindon Town at the County Ground.

Orient had a proud day when they beat former Premier league runners-up Newcastle United 6–1 in a pre season friendly match on 25 July 2009. By beating Colchester United away, in the 1st round of the Football League Cup Competition, they earned a home 2nd round fixture against Premier League Club, Stoke City F.C.

Notable former players

Notable players to have worn the Orient shirt include Tommy Johnston, Jimmy Bloomfield, 'Big' David Dunmore, Laurie Cunningham, John Chiedozie, Mark Lazarus, Peter Brabrook, Cliff Holton, David Webb, Tommy Taylor, Ray Wilkins, Glenn Roeder, Stan Bowles 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 22 December 1996 he played his 1,000th league game in Orient's 2–0 home win over Brighton, the first (and so far only) player to reach this milestone. A player among the highest all time scorers in UK football history, Dave Halliday, scored 33 goals for Orient among his overall senior tally of 376 first class goals. Some of the great goal scorers have included Richard McFadden, Tommy Johnston, David Dunmore, Peter Kitchen and more recently Carl Griffiths.

Club crest

Orient's crest 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 Thames, it is believed to be the defender of the Thames) and with the sea, through the old Orient Shipping Company. The wyvern on the badge provided the inspiration for the club mascot Theo who got his name from a shortening of the club nickname, The O's. Theo first appeared in the 2000–01 season.

Previous club crests have included a version of the Borough of Leyton's coat of arms, and a single red dragon.


Historic rivals included neighbours Leyton, and the now disbanded/merged clubs Leytonstone, and Walthamstow Avenue. The Leyton F.C. rivalry dissolved decades ago due to Leyton F.C. being of a lower status and not a full-time professional football club. The O's geographically closest professional club rival is West Ham United. This local derby rarely takes place as the clubs have spent most of their history in different divisions. Orient's biggest rivals at the moment are Southend United after a long history of being each other's closest rivals.. The other main local professional rivals are now Millwall who play in Bermondsey South East London and Tottenham Hotspur, although they only play in friendlies of late. [Brighton & Hove Albion]] is another rival that Orient have. A recent rival of the east London club is fellow east London team Dagenham & Redbridge F.C.


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 also played pre-season friendlies at Leyton Cricket Ground for several seasons. The Wyverns 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 only 2,500 at the final game 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 known as Osborne Road and having been the home of Leyton F.C., 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 was 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, and the stand was opened for the 2005/06 season. 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 were fitted out in summer 2007, prior to which the players continued 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 plan was to commence building the North Stand in July 2006 and for it to be open by Christmas 2006, however Waltham Forest council initially rejected the revised planning application for the stand and its adjoining additional flats. A revised application was submitted, and passed in early 2007, and construction began towards the end of the 2006/07 season. The stand – which has become the Family Stand – was completed before the 2007/08 season, giving the O's a four sided ground once more with a capacity just under 9,300. 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 has lodged an interest in moving into the main Stratford Olympic Stadium, which would have a capacity of about 25,000 after the Games. Leyton Orient remains the most likely football club to move into the stadium now that other clubs – in particular West Ham – bidding to move in have dropped out of the running.[5] Also, there are concerns among supporters about the presence of a running track around the pitch, not to mention the financial implication of moving in.

During the 2008-09 season, Leyton Orient changed the name of their South Stand in honour of the late Orient top scorer, Tommy Johnston. The stand is known simply as the Tommy Johnston Stand.

Shirt Sponsors

The club shirt sponsorship deals have included tie-ups with Independent Transport, Matchroom Sport,, and at the start of the 2008/09 season entered into a three year deal with to present, and on the front of players and replica kits.


Players / staff

Current staff

Position Name
Manager Wales Geraint Williams
Assistant Manager England Kevin Nugent
Youth Team Manager England Andy Edwards
Goalkeeping Coach / Chief Scout England Kevin Dearden
Physiotherapist Australia Dave Appanah
Kit Manager England Adrian Martin

Current squad

As of 22 February 2010.[7][8][9]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Glenn Morris
2 England DF Stephen Purches (captain)
4 England DF Ben Chorley
5 England DF Tamika Mkandawire
6 England DF Luke Ashworth
7 Republic of Ireland MF Aaron Doran (on loan from Blackburn Rovers)
8 England MF Adam Chambers
9 England FW Scott McGleish
10 Republic of Ireland MF Sean Thornton
11 Cyprus MF Jason Demetriou
12 England GK Jamie Jones
13 England MF Charlie Daniels
No. Position Player
14 England FW Ryan Jarvis
15 France FW Jonathan Téhoué
16 Scotland DF Andrew Cave-Brown
17 England MF Loick Pires
18 England MF Harry Baker
20 England MF Jimmy Smith
21 France DF Cestor Mike
22 England FW James Scowcroft
23 Romania FW Adrian Pătulea
26 England GK Jack Giddens
27 England MF Harry Beautyman

Notable fans

Notable fans include Bob Mills,[10] Julian Lloyd Webber,[11] and Julian's brother Andrew.[12]

Popular Culture

In Singaporean writer Neil Humphrey's first novel "match fixer", the main character Chris Osbourne goes on trial with Leyton Orient at the end of the book.


To date, there have been eleven books written on the club and its players. These are:

  • 1974: "Orient FC – 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 Publishing (out of print)
  • 2001: "Images of Leyton Orient FC" – History through photographs by Neilson N. Kaufman, published by The History Press and available From The History Press. www.the
  • 2002: "The Men Who Made Leyton Orient FC" – Profiles on all the players 1904 to 2002 by Neilson N. Kaufman, published by The History Press available from
  • 2004: Biography on the club's greatest player Tommy Johnston by Neilson N Kaufman and Alan Ravenhill, published by Breedon Book Publishing and available from DB Publishing in Derby direct.Or go to:
  • December 2005: "They Took The Lead" – the story of Clapton Orient's major contribution to the Footballers' Battalion in the Great War by Stephen Jenkins, published by DDP One Stop UK Ltd
  • July 2006: Biography – "The Goal Gourmet" – The Peter Kitchen Story by Neilson N. Kaufman, published by Derwent Press from Club Shop or from direct from Derwent Press
  • August 2006: "The Complete Record 1881 – 2006" by Neilson N Kaufman and Alan Ravenhill, published by DB Publishing in Derby. From Club Shop or direct from DB Publishing
  • November 2006: "Leyton Orient – The Untold Story of the O’s Best Ever Team" by Tony McDonald. published by FootballWorld (covers 1961–62, 1962–63)
  • September 2008: "The Eddie Lewis Story: ' From Manchester to Soweto'" – The official biography of the former Manchester United, Preston North End, West Ham United and Leyton Orient player was published by Derwent Press in August 2008 by Neilson N. Kaufman. Refer to the Derwent Press website for ordering.
  • The club historian Neilson N. Kaufman is currently working on a new book in celebration of the 125th history of the Football League 1888 – 2013, due out in August 2013, he is also working on a brand new website covering the history of Leyton Orient FC and all the first team, reserve, youth and loan players to have worn its colours in some way or other, it's managers, coaches, physio's, directors and back-room staff with over 3000 profiles, including many other interesting facts and stories on the O's. He can contacted via the club's Press officer Leo Tyrie.


  1. ^ "O's Appoint Williams As Boss". Leyton Orient. 05-02-2009.,,10439~1545785,00.html. 
  2. ^ Slegg, Chris (2008-07-15). "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leyton Orient | Day to remember for Orient fans". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  3. ^ "Leyton Orient Supporters of Scandinavia – The history of Leyton Orient FC". 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  4. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | L | Leyton Orient". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  5. ^ "Hammers' Olympic move ruled out". The BBC. 07-02-2007. 
  6. ^ a b Twydell, Dave (1991). Football League Grounds For A Change. p. 178. ISBN 0-9513321-4-7. 
  7. ^ "Squad Reshaping (4th May, 8 released)". Leyton Orient F.C.. 2008-02-17.,,10439~1647927,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  8. ^ "Numbers Up!". Leyton Orient F.C.. 2008-02-17.,,10439,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  9. ^ "Pro Deals for O's Duo". Leyton Orient F.C.. 2009-05-01.,,10439~1645465,00.html. 
  10. ^ Bob Mills at [1]
  11. ^ Julian Lloyd-Webber Official Website [2]
  12. ^ Lesser-known Andrew Lloyd-Webber facts [3]

External links


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