Although the O’s play-off final against Rotherham may be remembered for the wrong reasons, there was certainly cause for celebration earlier in the day when Chase Lane primary school from Chingford defeated Nottingham primary in the final of the prestigious Football League Kids Cup.
Over 2000 schools had entered the competition representing every league club across the country and after successfully overcoming the Club and Regional stages, the ultimate dream prize of playing the final on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium became reality.
A single goal scored by Demaray Anaydike midway through the second half was enough for the team representing the O’s to win the match and allow the team the privilage of making the long walk up the famous stadium stairs to receive the Kids Cup trophy on Wembley’s Royal balcony.
Demaray’s dad Tony said afterwards, “It’s an amazing occasion and it’s a dream for a child of 10 or 11 to play at Wembley. I’m so proud”.
And team coach Tyrone Hercules commented, “The whole atmosphere and support was fantastic. It was emotional for me. To say that you are the best Year 6 team in the country is incredible. Just getting to Wembley would have been good enough but I always knew we had a good chance of winning”.
And now, the whole thing starts again for schools across the country, each league club hosting its Club competition to find the school who will be representing them this season.
Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer, said, “The Wembley experience was unbelievable. A stadium tour was included included in the prize and we were in the adjacent changing room to the O’s first team, so all a bit surreal. The whole journey was incredible. I remember the buzz around the teams when I announced at the initial first stage Club tournament that the winners would go on to represent Leyton Orient with a chance of playing at Wembley but to go on and win the whole thing – I was so proud of them!”
This season’s Club round takes place at 12pm on the Score Leisure Centre’s 3G pitch opposite the Matchroom Stadium prior to the home game with Swindon Town on Saturday, October 4th.
“Sixteen teams from across the local boroughs and beyond have made it to compete to see who will be the O’s representatives this year and they know they have the ultimate challenge. The football is a good standard with quite a few of the player’s already at academies so it should be an exciting tournament. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully another Wembley appearance.”