Russell Slade was appointed O’s manager on April 5 2010 after the O’s had been defeated 2-1 at Southampton to leave them above the relegation zone on goal difference with 41 points and six games to go.
The appointment proved to be inspired as the O’s went on to pick up seven points from their next three games including a memorable 2-1 home win over top of the table Norwich thanks to a brace from Sean Thornton.
The O’s effectively secured their League One status with one game to spare after defeating Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 meaning they sat three points clear of the drop zone with a far superior goal difference.
The following 2010-11 season was one that will live long in the memory as the club secured their highest league finish for 18 years as they finished seventh and missed out on the play-offs by a point. Equally Slade’s side enjoyed a rollercoaster FA Cup journey that saw them take Arsenal to a fifth round replay after Jonathan Tehoue’s late equaliser saw Brisbane Road erupt, whilst Norwich and Swansea City were also put to the sword during the run, two sides who won promotion to the Premier League that season.
The season also included a remarkable 17 game unbeaten run between January 3 and March 19 2011 but the O’s lost their way at the business end of the season as they narrowly missed out on the play-offs.
The 2011-12 season was a less memorable one as a number of key players from the previous season departed for pastures new, and the O’s got off to a poor start and failed to pick up three points in the league until October 1.
The win against Preston that day in 2011 sparked a nine game unbeaten run to help revive the O’s and around the turn of the year, there was hope that the side could mount a challenge for at least a top half finish.
Injuries took their toll as the side struggled to get any momentum, typified by the stat that the club used seven different goalkeepers throughout the season including defender Scott Cuthbert who donned the gloves for part of a game against Scunthorpe in February after Lee Butcher left the pitch injured.
The O’s form plummeted at a crucial time as they failed to win during April, however thanks to other results, the O’s secured their League One status after the 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool in the penultimate game of the season.
The current season – Slade’s third full season with the club – certainly has more parallels with the 2010-11 one than previously. The O’s again started the campaign in sluggish fashion as they lost their first four league games but a 1-0 win away at Swindon in September got the season going as Orient enjoyed a strong autumn that culminated in an eight game winning streak in November and December.
Like two years before, the New Year brought cup runs and unbeaten spells though it remains to be seen whether they O’s can go one further than the class of 2010-11 and sneak a spot in the play-off places.
O’s Under Slade