Orient Nerd Weekly Ramblings- The Final Awayday (for now???) featuring the “Easy Lovers”

Leyton Orient away form 2021/22- Played:23 Won:5 Drawn:11 Lost:7 For:26 Against:25 Diff: +1 Points: 26

The 2-0 win away at Crawley last Saturday concluded Orient’s campaign on the road for this season. The final points total is good enough for 13th place in the “away matches” table, with the slight caveat that if Sutton and/or Colchester win their final games of the season, away at Harrogate and Hartlepool respectively, that could knock us a couple of places further down the standings.

In many ways that seems a fair reflection of how we have fared on our travels this season, given the fact that we currently sit 13th in the League 2 table proper. Rather intriguingly, the 8 games away from E10 under Richie’s stewardship have seen us gain a rather impressive 14 points in just over half as many matches as had gone before. Positive food for thought going into 2022/23? Let’s hope so!

Of course, for Mrs Football Nerd and I the trip to Crawley was the final instalment of our madcap season-long journey of following Orient to as many away games as we possibly could, and what an adventure it has been. From starting out on a Friday evening on Canal Street in Manchester ahead of the Salford game, it has been a tale of: added time defeats, frustrating draws, postponements through Covid and of course the snow in Harrogate, discovering new pubs, towns and cities and many grounds that we haven’t visited before, and of course many many different pies and even a pastie in the West Country.

Beyond all that though it has given us a real focus to our lives, to know that at the end of at least every other week (and often on a Tuesday night this season!), we would be heading off to wherever the fixture list dictated. In many ways a big part of the fun has been in finding out how to get to where we are going and the train journeys themselves, but above all meeting the travelling Orient family especially those that have been doing this for many more years than we have.

It has been about camaraderie, a sense of shared commitment to the cause and a spirit of togetherness and adventure that I am not sure either of us have ever felt so strongly on our football obsessive travels before. Over the years we have visited many of the most revered cathedrals of world football but given how much we have enjoyed this season I am not sure we would ever swap a drizzly grey Saturday afternoon in Stoke or a Tuesday night in Scunthorpe, Exeter or Oldham for another trip to the Maracanã, La Bombenera, Camp Nou or anywhere else for that matter.  

It felt quite fitting that we managed to meet up with the “Easy Lovers” in Crawley: Paul, Harry Kane (no not that one although he does look like him!) and Phil Bailey (no not that one although that is his real name!) who we had first met on the way back from Port Vale in early October ( Orient Nerd Weekly Ramblings – Heartbreak in the Potteries, time for the O’s to bounce back.), which despite the gutting nature of the result and timing of their goals ranks amongst our favourite trips of the season.

In many ways Leyton Orient stole our hearts that fateful day at the end of April 2017 when, with relegation from the Football League already confirmed, the fans took to the pitch at Brisbane Road in protest at you-know-who’s (wilful?) destruction of the club that they love. It was a bond that grew stronger through the Justin Edinburgh days and the return to the League, however this season’s awaydays have elevated that feeling to a whole new level.

The end of the season is always a little bit melancholic for us football obsessives who only truly feel comfortable following the rhythm of the fixture list, as we start to realise that the games are running out and with no summer tournament this year to submerse ourselves in, a very real fear starts to kick in about what we are going to do to fill in the time between now and the start of the next campaign. There is of course the final home game of the season still to come against a team who, as a born and bred Wirralonian, always carry a fond place in my heart Tranmere Rovers, however that is likely to be as much about bidding a temporary farewell to the Orient family for a full 12 weeks before the Football League rolls into action once again at the end of July.  

Between now and the start of the next campaign of course there is something of a decision to be made by yours truly with regard to what I am going to do now that my Arsenal season ticket holiday is coming to an end. The club have very kindly informed me that my stupidly expensive seat is still available and waiting for me for 2022/23, with the even better news that with Arsenal now guaranteed qualification for one of the European competitions next season, as well as the increase in price there will be an additional supplement of between £95 and £470 depending on which tournament they end up in.

That incredible “value for money”(sic) offer needs to be weighed up against all the fun that we have had throughout the season and the promise of new potential away trips to the likes of Gillingham, Doncaster, Wimbledon, Crewe and whichever two teams escape the National League and wanting to go back to the vast majority (ok all!) of the ones that we have enjoyed this time around.  If for some very strange reason you want to find out where we end up you will just have to wait for the book at the end of this summer and/or next season’s blog!

Up the O’s

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