Old boys from Homerton College at 75 Homerton High Street, a theological teacher training college for the Puritans and Non-Conformists form themselves into Glyn Cricket Club and play on a piece of waste ground in Glyn Road.
New players join the Club, including Harry Lavender and R.P. “Pomp” Haines, but the next four years continued in an unremarkable fashion.
Club changes its name to Eagle C.C.
The Club enjoys a successful cricket season.
On March 3 at 86 Dunlace Road, Hackney, committee member and team player Jack Dearing suggests the club name be changed to ORIENT, and they start up a football section. Dearing, lived at 144 Clifden Road, Hackney and worked for the Orient Steamship & Navigation Company. They had launched their new ship, The S.S.ORIENT in 1879. The new name was adopted. Also in attendance were committee members: Rene Gronland, Edward Alfred Wiggins, Charles James Lovelock, Arthur Unwin, John East Westrop, Augustus H. Lehmann and other former scholars from Homerton College.
O’s play friendlies games including against local club Saracens with centre forward Harry Edgar scoring many goals.
The Club joins the Clapton and District League, finishing in third spot. The colours of the team were red shirts with a capital letter “O” on their backs and so came about the Club’s nickname “Up the O’s” or ‘Play up the O’s’ or ‘Buck up the O’s’ when losing.
The O’s move into new Headquarters at the Mermaid Inn in Mare Street, Hackney and are crowned champions of the Clapton & District League with nine wins, one draw and two losses, two points ahead of the Spiders club and watched by average crowds in excess of one thousand.
O’s enter the Third Division of the London League and play at the Whittles Athletic ground.
Promotion is gained to the Second Division of the London League as runners-up with some good wins including 10-1 over Guildhall, 2-1 over Crouch End Vampires and 2-1 over Walthamstow Holborn.
The Club’s AGM is held during June and the its name is changed to Clapton Orient FC with Clapton now considered a good district socially it was thought the new name would give the Club more respectability and a bigger support base. A new kit of blue shirts with a white ‘O’ on their back and white shorts. O’s defeat Upton Park 6-1 before 2500 spectators, the first match under their new title and then beat Thames Ironworks (today’s West Ham) 6-0 under trainer Alf Wallis.
Chairman Teddy Wiggins congratulates everyone connected with the Club at their annual dinner-dance in February on how wonderfully well it has done since starting as a so-called cricket club 18 years earlier. The team score 15 goals and record 25 wins, the largest being against Novocostians 7-1.On 16 December O’s played Hammersmith & Chiswick Athletic on eighty-two minutes with O’s leading 4-0 the match was abandoned due to fog, the remaining eight minutes was played on 24 March 1900, O’s scoring one more goal to win 5-0.
The Millfields Road Ground is secured from the local Council it is capable of holding over 25,000 spectators. The first game is a 2-1 win over QPR with 1400 in attendance.
O’s win two cups in April — The West Ham Charity Cup defeating Clapton FC and the Middlesex County Cup defeating Ealing FC, both 1-0 and fifth place finishes in the London League. O’s top goalscorer Jack Hilsdon leaves the club for Luton Town after scoring 65 goals since joining in August 1897. In November in a London League match against Millwall near the end O’s had seven players limping and Millwall had two players sent, the home fans had enough and swarmed onto the pitch to get the visiting players, but the home players managed to save the visitors by get them into the dressing room.
During April the Club loses its amateur status after the Middlesex FA found that the Club had paid a player named Ginger Merritt for work done on the playing surface during the summer months. During November the club turns professional. The first “pro” match is won 11-0 over Shepherds Bush. A celebration match versus Football League outfit Bristol City is lost 2-1 with over 2000 people attending the match on a wet and windy day. A new colourful playing strip is introduced of white, red and green two-inch vertical stripes with blue shorts.
O’s PRE-LEAGUE RECORD IN THE LONDON LEAGUE reads:
Season Div P W D L F A Pts Pos
1896-97 3 12 7 2 3 27 22 16 2nd
1897-98 2 18 7 0 11 30 45 14 7th
1898-99 1 16 7 2 7 29 32 16 5th
1899-1900 1 18 4 5 9 40 50 13 6th
1900-01 1 20 8 2 10 36 31 18 7th
1901-02 1 18 8 3 7 49 37 19 5th
1902-03 1 18 6 5 7 19 23 17 7th
1903-04 1 20 6 6 8 26 33 18 6th
1904-05 1 18 6 3 9 37 46 15 7th
TOTALS 158 59 28 71 293 319
Election is gained to the Second Division of the Southern League. The first match is drawn against Brighton 0-0 on October 8 before 2 900 fans and the first win is on 12 November, away Brighton 2-1. O’s enter the FA Cup competition for the first time, a 4-1 win against Enfield. Mr. Horatio Bottomley becomes a major shareholder and club president and Edward ‘Teddy’ Wiggins is elected Chairman. The manager was Samuel Ormerod, who for a number of years was secretary/manager of Manchester City, he was appointed on April 12.
On January 14 O’s lose 5-7 to Watford, on 29 March sees a 13-0 defeat at Portsmouth. In April wins are secured over Swindon Town 3-1 and Grays Athletic 7-1. O’s finish in sixth position.
The Club is elected to the Second Division of the Football League along with Chelsea, Leeds City and Stockport County, just 24 years after its formation. At a second ballot O’s gain 26 votes, six more than Doncaster Rovers.
Their first League match is at Leicester Fosse on September 2 1905 losing 2-1. Herbert Kingaby scores first League goal. The first win is on September 11 2-0 over Glossop North End Walter Leigh scoring twice. The colours for entry into the League was Red and Green two inch vertical stripes on white shirts. O’s beat both Leyton and Clapton in the FA Cup qualifying rounds.
O’s finish bottom in their first League season in Division Two with seven wins and 21 points. The best win of the season in April, 4-2 over Bradford City with Walter Leigh scoring all four, he ends up with eight for the season. O’s sell three players in March to keep financially afloat. Rowland Codling and Bert Kingaby to Aston Villa for £880 and Peter Proudfoot (later to become manager) to Chelsea for £120.
DIV 11 (bottom three places)
P W D L F F Pts
Chesterfield Town 38 10 8 20 40 72 28
Burton United 38 10 6 22 34 67 26
Clapton Orient 38 7 7 24 35 78 21
Captain Henry Wells-Holland is appointed Chairman. His speech at League’s AGM saves the Club from losing its League status. They gain one extra vote over Oldham Athletic 21 to 20 votes. The club becomes a Limited Company on May 30 and William Holmes is appointed as player-manager in March after Ormerod resigns and returned home to Wishaw in Scotland, he died in July.
Club produces its first magazine styled programme on September 2 v Hull City. O’s ordered to field reserve side in League match at West Bromwich and the first team in an FA Cup preliminary tie versus Custom House both on September 21, losing 3-0 in the Midlands but win the Cup tie 3-0 at home. O’s defeat local club Old Newportonians 5-2 in Third Qualifying Round of FA Cup but go out of the Cup in the Fourth Qualifying Round in a replay at Southern League Division Two side Southend United 3-1.
O’s finish in 17th spot in Division Two and make a net profit of £127, six shillings and sixpence. Nearly 152,000 attend home matches over the season, including a record 18,000 against Chelsea in April. Bill Martin top scored with 17 goals
O’s defeat Tottenham at White Hart Lane 1-0, 32 821 attend the match. A year of few goals – 14 – and just 3 wins from 17 games.
Half-back Ned Liddell plays in goal at Glossop in November because both the regular goalkeepers Whittaker and Bower were both injured. O’s lose 3-1. On September 4 to open a new season against Gainsborough Trinity O’s wear their new playing kit, White shirts with a red ‘V Chevron’ and black shorts. When players walk onto the field they are loudly cheered by the 14,000 fans, O’s win 2-0 with Parker scoring twice.
Two directors recommend the club change its name to London City, Chairman Wells-Holland didn’t like the idea, other names were suggested like Homerton Rangers and Clapton Hornets. Wells-Holland stood up and said;- “Fellow Directors, it would be far too costly to dissolve the company again and set-up a new concern. Besides the name Orient has been associated with the club since 1888, what would our old friend Jack Dearing think; therefore I must reject the idea.”
O’s were crowned champions in Baseball beating Leyton 6-5 in the 1909 final, having previously won the title in 1907, beating Fulham 8-7 in the final.
In November full-back John Johnston is selected to represent the Football League versus the Southern League. Robert Dalrymple signs from Fulham in November for a record fee of £300. Fred Parker becomes the first player to reach 100 League appearances on April 30 1910 (his 300th League appearance came on 2nd October 1920). O’s go top of Division Two for the first time in its history during September. In January, Jack Williams scores all eight goals in a reserve fixture against Leyton, an 8-2 victory.
In November O’s reserves create a club record beating Catford reserve 15-1, Phil Prior bags five goals. On May 7 O’s defeat Millwall 3-0 in Paris to win the Dubonnet Cup before 12,000 French fans with goals from Parker, Scott and Prior. O’s finish in fourth spot in Division Two.
Div Two (Top 4 places)
P W D L F A PTS
W B A 38 22 9 7 67 41 53
BOLTON W 38 21 9 8 69 40 51
CHELSEA 38 20 9 9 71 35 49
CLAPTON ORIENT 38 19 7 12 44 35 45
Joe Dix and Billy Hind are ever present on 38 League appearances and Richard McFadden scores 18 League goals in his first season. O’s defeat Millwall 3-0 to win the London Challenge Cup played at White Hart Lane with goals from Dalrymple, Parker and McFadden. O’s finish fourth again on 45 points, nine points off the two promoted teams Derby County and Chelsea.
On September 6 Richard McFadden scores the first goal of the new season with a penalty in 1-0 win over Fulham at Millfields with 18,000 in attendance, they defeat Woolwich Arsenal 1-0 at Millfields, McFadden scores in front of a record 26,580 crowd. On Christmas Day they beat Bristol City 5-2. In January O’s crash out of the FA Cup 6-0 at Sunderland with goalkeeper Ted Davis on debut. McFadden heads the goalscorers lists on 10 goals and O’s finish down in 14th position on 34 points.
O’s hit both Glossop and Lincoln City for five goals each and Richard McFadden scores 18 goals. In February O’s sign their first international player, Belgium international centre half Isaac Van den Eynden, in July he is sent to prison for three months for improper conduct towards a thirteen-year-old girl on Millfields, in September he is sent back home to Belgium, where he joined the army. O’s finish in sixth spot ten points away from champions Notts County.
McFadden nets another 21 League goals, his O’s career spanning four Seasons he scores 65 League goals from 137 appearances. Arthur Layton scored the last goal before the season ends and players go off to War. The Club has the largest number of players and officials to enlist in the Footballers’ Battalion for the war, 41 in total. McFadden, Willie Jonas and George Scott are all killed in action. Gone but Never Forgotten.
King George on behalf of the Royal family sends a letter to the club, which stated ‘ Good luck to Clapton Orient FC. No football club has paid a greater price to patriotism.’
During the war years, O’s played in the London Combination, all under manager Billy Holmes. O’s played a total of 149 matches, with a record of P149 W18 D27 L108 F157 A492. The leading goalscorer over this period was Arthur Layton with 32 goals.
Three brothers, Jack, James and Samuel Tonner play 12 times together in the League and once in the FA Cup during the 1919-20 season. Tommy Bowyer scores the first goal back after the War at Huddersfield on August 20. In October new Millfields ground record of 32,644 for the visit of Spurs, a 4-0 defeat and in November Sam and Jack Tonner score in a 2-1 win against Bury.
Orient introduce League football to Wales with the visit to Cardiff City on the opening day of the season. In February Owen Williams scores to beat West Ham 1-0 before 28,000 East London fans. O’s finish 15th.
In November the club announced it’s free from debt with £3500 in the bank. The then Prince of Wales visits Orient on April 30. He witnesses O’s 3-0 win over Notts County. Scotsman Clatworthy ‘Charlie’ Rennox joins O’s from Wishaw FC in Scotland. O’s finish in seventh spot it could have been better if not for a slump in the middle of the season when one goal is scored with six defeats from seven games.
On April 22 The Duke of York visits O’s for a game against Bristol City, a 0-1 loss, eight days later winger Owen Williams becomes O’s first full International when playing for England against Northern Ireland. On 7 October Robin Jaques scores in a 3-0 win at Leeds United, he also scored against The Wednesday later that month. The father of actress Hatti Jacques (she and her brother, also Robin, added a ‘c’ into their surname to sound more French), their father died in an air crash on August 1923, Hatti died on October 6, 1980, and Robin, a famous illustrator died in March 1995.
On December 9 against Bury O’s play two-sets of brothers John and Robert Duffus with Owen and Thomas Williams.
On April 18, William ‘Doc’ Holmes, the O’s 41-year-old manager died in the German Hospital, Dalston, after a short illness. He was with the club as a ` player and manager for sixteen years. Peter Proudfoot takes over as manager. Holmes died four days before the planned visit of the Duke of York after consultation with Buckingham Palace the visit and match went ahead in honour of Holmes.
In March Henry Higginbotham scores the winner against Notts County, his only goal for O’s. Tommy Green bags a hat-trick against Nelson in September. At the end of 1922-23 season Bertie Bliss bags 3 goals and O’s four points in the double-header against Bradford City, these points save O’s from relegation.
On September 1 Albert Pape nets four goals against Oldham Athletic and 33,500 watches the home game against Chelsea a 1-1 draw. O’s finish mid-table. On February 27 Green signs for Heart of Midlothian, but still ends up as O’s top goalscorer on 10 goals. In March O’s England international winger Owen Williams joined Middlesbrough for a then-record fee of £2525.
During November Jack Rutherford, aged 42 years and 20 days, becomes the oldest O’s player to appear in a League match against Oldham Athletic (beaten by Peter Shilton on December 22 1996 against Brighton aged 47 years and 94 days). In February the unusual transfer of Albert Pape to Manchester United occurs during February, sitting in the dressing room at Old Trafford he signs an hour before kickoff for £2000. Pape scored against his former teammates in United’s 4-2 win.
The Club reaches the sixth round of the FA Cup for the first time in its history with historic wins over both Middlesbrough 4-2 and Newcastle United 2-0 before going out to Manchester City at home by 1-6. The three ties attract 80,247 fans. O’s survive in the Second Division after a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough, which sees Stoke City relegated instead. In March directors Ludford and Gray-Robbins both resign.
In September O’s had an opportunity to buy the Millfields Ground for £5000 but couldn’t afford it. In the end, The Clapton Stadium greyhound racing syndicate buys it, they spend £80 000 altering the ground to accommodate greyhound racing. Donald Cock ends the season as top goalscorer on 15 goals, O’s stay in the Second Division by one point over Darlington with four wins and a draw at the end of the season which confirms survival. O’s had to win the final game at Reading, they did through a Gardner penalty and Darlington had to drop a point at home to Chelsea for O’s to stay up. Chelsea scored in the final minute and O’s were saved. You can’t get much closer than that!
In March O’s go to Man City and lose 5-3 before 38,272 fans. O’s escape a drop into Third Division south after a 0-0 draw at home to Wolves which see Fulham relegated. The Cottagers complained to the FA over match-fixing allegations over O’s manager Peter Proudfoot, these proved unfounded but he was found to have acted financially irregular and is banned as a manager for six-months, he remained at the club as a scout. In August O’s hold an international boxing tournament at Millfields attended by the Prince of Wales and 32,000 people to see such boxers as Scotsman Johnny Hills and cockney favourite Teddy Baldock.
After an excellent 0-0 draw at Aston Villa in FA Cup before a 53,086 crowd, the highest to watch an O’s match. O’s suffer their heaviest ever defeat losing the replay 0-8 before 27,532 stunned home fans, which see skipper and goalie Arthur Wood leaving the field in tears. March 16 the highest League attendance at Millfields Road is recorded versus Spurs of 37,615.
O’s 21-year-old reserve centre half Harry Cunningham died of lock-jaw following tetanus in Hackney Hospital on March 6, having broken his big toe in training a week earlier.
In May O’s are relegated for the first time in its history to Division Three Southern Section under manager Arthur Grimsdell, the 20th season in the Football League, finishing bottom of the table. Mr Cornelius Dean retires as secretary after 20 years’ service with the Club due to ill health. In August the famous Danish international and former Chelsea player Nils Middleboe is appointed a director, he leaves in 1936 to return home to Denmark.
Division 2 (Bottom three places)
P W D L F A Pts
Bristol City 42 13 10 19 58 72 36
Port Vale 42 15 4 23 71 86 34
Clapton Orient 42 12 8 22 45 72 32
In May O’s play their final League game at Millfields Road beating Brighton 4-1 having been there 30 years. The club moves from its Millfields ground due to the expansion of greyhound racing to the Speedway stadium in Lea Bridge Road which is little more than half a mile away, a rather bleak looking ground with few amenities. The first game on September 4 is a 3-1 win over Newport. In November Torquay complains that the fencing around the ground is too near to the pitch. The FA closes the ground for alterations. Two league matches are played at the famous Wembley Stadium defeating Brentford 3-0 and Southend United 3-1. The Supporters’ Club is also founded. O’s go out in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup 3-1 at Newcastle United before 48,141. Jimmy Richardson, in the 1950s he later became O’s trainer, scored a hat-trick.
Legendary goalkeeper Arthur Wood makes his final home League appearance on April 18 versus Luton Town, the same day that Jimmy Seed joins as Manager. His final game was at Newport County on May 2. It was Wood’s 373rd League appearance, including 225 consecutive appearances between 1921 and 1926. Seed changes the club colours from the famous white shirts with a red ‘V chevron’ to white shirts with red hoops and black shorts. Arthur Cropper scores O’s 1000th League goal at Torquay in March. O’s finish fourth from bottom.
In August O’s sign Fred Le May from Watford, at 5ft tall, he is the smallest player ever to appear in the Football League. May 1932 sees two strikers Fletcher and Tricker netting 42 League and cup goals between them.
November sees Tommy Mills win his first Welsh cap and in December O’s sign one of the most prolific goalscorers in the history of the game in 36-year-old David Halliday. On January 21 O’s smash seven goals past Swindon Town this result helps avoid having to seek re-election on goal difference having won just eight games all season but not so good for Swindon.
Division Three south (Bottom four places)
P W D L F A Pts
Cardiff City 42 12 7 23 69 99 31
Clapton Orient 42 8 13 21 59 93 29
Newport County 42 11 7 24 61 105 29
Swindon Town 42 9 11 22 60 105 29
Between May 8 and June 1933 the Football League suspends O’s for failing to meet a payment of £2000 to them and was warned that if payment is not met they would cease to be a member of the Football League.
The Club is faced with a serious financial crisis, Edward, The Prince of Wales donates a large sum of money. Local businessman Arthur Phillips donates £400 and Charlton Athletic and Millwall both give £40 each and the fans hold various functions where enough is raised to save the club.
In July Indian born – Hindu player Idhant Chaudhuri was given a trial he turned up and played without boots and was not seen again. November O’s beat its nursery club Ashford Town 4-1 in the FA Cup before 5000 Kent fans. O’s record their highest League victory, 9-2 over Aldershot at home on February 10 with a hat-trick from David Halliday. O’s finish in 11th spot, their highest for many a season. Veteran 36-year-old Halliday hits 19 goals from 21 League appearances. O’s 1000th League game is recorded on March 10.
The season opens with a Ted Crawford hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Luton Town. David Pratt resigns as manager in January and is replaced by Peter Proudfoot for his third spell in charge. In November former club secretary Cornelius Dean dies, he held that position between 1904 and 1931. In April O’s thrash Brighton 6-0 Tommy Foster nets a hat-trick.
High flying Charlton Athletic are eliminated from the FA Cup, O’s winning 3-0 on January 11 before a then-record attendance of 18,000. Ted Crawford ends as top goalscorer with 23 League and two cup goals breaking the long-standing record of Richard McFadden. The O’s had two players named Smith (Harold and Jack) and two players named Taylor (Harold and John) neither were brothers.
On April 29, 1937, O’s play their final game at Lea Bridge Road beating Southend 3-0, reserve centre half Ambrose Rossiter is moved to centre forward due to injuries and scores twice. In the final game of the season at Brighton, he breaks his leg and is forced to retire from the game. The Lea Bridge record League attendance is broken against Millwall on March 13 of 20,288.
In July the Club moves to its present ground, named for some reason Osborne Road, (the ground was actually in Brisbane Road), Leyton. The first match is against Cardiff City on August 28. Fred Tully hits the goal in a 1-1 draw before 14,598 fans. The Club colours are white shirts with red hoops, black shorts with a red stripe.
Fred Tully top scores with 14 League and Cup goals. In October O’s hit Southend for five, Rod Williams bags a hat-trick. O’s finish fourth from bottom.
O’s finish in 20th place only two points from the re-election zone after a 5-0 win on April 23 over Swindon helps the cause. Williams hit 18 League and Cup goals. In March the programme carries a story… please assist the club with funds to help pay the players’ wages over the summer months.
Division Three (South) (Bottom three places)
P W D L F A Pts
Clapton Orient 42 11 13 8 53 55 35
Walsall 42 11 11 20 68 69 33
Bristol Rovers 42 10 13 19 55 61 33
O’s play three League matches versus Ipswich Town (h) 2-2, Southend United (h) 0-0 and Watford (a) 1-1 before war intervenes and League football is suspended, all results and goalscorers are expunged from the record books.
Wartime football commences in October 1939 with a 2-1 win over Watford. O’s play a total of 245 matches and play 248 different players. The highest victories over the period were three 5-1 wins, yet some of the defeats proved quite farcical including 16-1 at Portsmouth, 15-2 at Arsenal, 10-3 at West Ham and 8-2 at Reading. Fred Bartlett made the most appearances throughout the War years with 207 and Robert Shankly scored a total of 27 goals. In the FA Cup during November 1945 O’s lose to amateurs Newport Isle of Wight 2-3 on aggregate. One of the great players to appear during the War years for O’s was Welshman Trevor Ford who scored 15 goals from 33 appearances.
League Football resumes on August 31 after the Second World War with a 2-2 home draw with Ipswich Town before 12,530 fans, George Willshaw scores the first goal. In September manager Charles Hewitt walks out over lack of money for new players and trainer William Bulloch Wright takes over before Hewitt returned 19 days later.
The Club officially changes its name – on Wednesday, October 2, 1946 – to Leyton Orient FC (after 48 years as Clapton Orient). The ground name is changed to Brisbane Road and on November 9 the name Leyton Stadium is first used.
Doug Hunt top scored with 14 goals. Arthur Page is first elected to the board and O’s narrowly avoid re-election. In August O’s start the season against Crystal Palace with a 1-1 draw watched by 18,243, wearing their new strip of royal blue shirts and white shorts.
Neil McBain is appointed manager in February after Cpt. Charles Hewitt is sacked. O’s reach 36 points avoiding re-election by two points after a Neary hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Torquay United on the final day of the season, O’s gain the needed two points.
Harry Zussman is elected chairman after the death of George Harris. He appoints Alec Stock in August as manager and Frank Neary is sold in October to QPR for £7000 after setting new club goalscoring record with 25 goals. In April O’s lose 7-1 at Torquay United and finish fourth from bottom. O’s entered the newly launched Essex Professional Cup beating Eastern Counties League side Clacton Town 7-1 on the way to the April 1950 final, losing 2-1 to Southend United, played at Upton Park.
Billy Rees signs from Spurs in July for a then Club record fee of £14,500, surprisingly they outbid both Fulham and West Ham United. Les Gore joins O’s as trainer. On May 6 a goal from Wally Pullen against Southend saves O’s from having to apply for re-election. Scotsman George Sutherland nets 16 goals.
O’s take over the running of the Chase of Chertsey youth club from Arsenal. Denis Pacey scores a hat-trick on debut in O’s 5-4 FA Cup win, a second replay, over Gorleston that December played at Highbury. In April 1951 due to an injury crisis 35-year-old coach Gilbert Glidden plays at Newport County, a 0-0 draw. Jimmy Blair top scored with 16 goals. In February full-back Dick Walton scores from a 50-yard free-kick against Crystal Palace and in May O’s beat Dutch side R.C. Haarlem 3-1 in a Festival of Britain match with goals from Pattison, Blair and a Banner penalty.
In January O’s thrash Colchester 7-0, the highest score in eighteen years. Stan Aldous was ever-present making 55 League and Cup appearances. A great FA Cup run with wins over both Everton and Birmingham. O’s go out to Arsenal in 5th round 3-0 before 30 000 home fans. Dennis Pacey hits 17 League and Cup goals
April sees Dennis Pacey bags four goals in 5-3 win over Colchester United and scores another 20 goals. In September Pacey scores a hat-trick in 5-0 win over Bournemouth. O’s finish mid-table. Assistant manager Joe Edelston leaves the club after six-years due to ill health.
O’s start the season well with 15 wins from 22 League games. They reach the FA Cup Sixth Round but lose at home to Port Vale 0-1 before 31,000 fans. Ken Facey scores O’s 2000th League goal, a penalty versus Southend in November. On January 27 Sid Bishop makes his League debut against Swindon and plays for a further nine seasons, a true legend.
In May O’s finish as runners-up in Division Three South, their best Morgan netting four and 7-1 away, this being their highest ever away victory. In November, Ronnie Heckman scores five goals against Lovells Athletic in a FA Cup First Round tie. The highest number of goals by an O’s player in a first-team match.
Division Three South 1954-55 (top three places)… only the top team is promoted
P W D L F A Pts
Bristol City 46 30 10 6 101 47 70
Leyton Orient 46 26 9 11 89 47 61
Southampton 46 24 11 11 75 51 59
In November Stan Charlton and Vic Groves sign for Arsenal for £30,000 but the team responds with an 8-0 win over Crystal Palace. In February full-back John ‘Taffy’ Evans died after a short illness, having made 168 League and Cup appearances.
Manager Alec Stock resigns in February to join Arsenal, but returns 53 days later saying ‘ My mind said Arsenal, my heart said Orient’.
The Club gain promotion, to Division Two, for the first time in its history, scoring a record 106 League goals.
Tommy Johnston signs in February from Newport County for £6000 (with Mike Burgess going as part of the deal). He scores on debut at Swindon Town and scores the winning goal against Millwall to clinch promotion. The seasonal average home attendance is 16,061. Ron Heckman nets 29 League and Cup goals and Johnny Hartburn ends on 23 goals.
DIVISION THREE SOUTH 1955-56 (top four positions) – only top team promoted
P W D L F A Pts
Leyton Orient 46 29 8 9 106 49 66
Brighton 46 29 7 10 112 65 65
Ipswich Town 46 25 14 7 106 60 64
Southend United 46 25 14 7 88 80 53
O’s construct a new main stand purchased from the owners of the derelict Mitcham Stadium seating 2600 people.
In the summer O’s go on a celebration tour of Malta. During August 1956 Dave Sexton heads O’s first goal back in the Second Division after a gap of twenty-seven years. Johnston hits 21 goals for the season. O’s end in 15th position.
Tommy Johnston breaks Frank Neary’s League goalscoring record with 27 League goals. On April 22 O’s go to League title winners Leicester City and win 4-1 this after a few days earlier losing 1-5 at home to the Foxes. Len Julians broke the reserve goalscoring record with 45 goals, including three hat-tricks and four once in a game. (Tommy Foster held the record with 34 goals in 1934-35).
On September 28 Julians bags all four against Middlesbrough, during October Phil Woosnam wins his first Welsh cap against Scotland the following month he joins West Ham for £30,000.
Johnston reaches the pinnacle of his career scoring a remarkable 35 League goals (he also nets one FA Cup goal) with Len Julians on 17 goals. O’s fans are shattered when Johnston is transferred to Blackburn Rovers for £15,000. He scores a further eight League goals for Rovers and was the Football League’s leading marksman that season with 43 goals. In one spell of 82 games for O’s, he found the net 67 times. O’s finish in 12th spot. On March 1 O’s beat Scottish side East Fife in a friendly match at Brisbane Road (scorers Johnston 2, Woosnam 2, White, Julians, and Hartburn).
On January 24 O’s beat Queens Park Rangers in a friendly 9-1, Eddy Brown scores a hat-trick on debut. In February Stock leaves for QPR and Les Gore gets the managerial post yet again. In November O’s are in sixth position they go to Liverpool but lose 4-3, two great headed goals from Johnston brings him 200 career League goals. On March 30 O’s thrash Sunderland 6-0, Eddy Brown, a great entertainer, nets four. The following month Charlton are defeated 6-1, with a hat-trick from Joe Elwood. In October Brown bags another three in a 5-0 win over Middlesbrough. Those were the days.
With impresario’s Bernard Delfont and his brother’s Lew and Leslie Grade on its Board many famous stars visited the O’s including Arthur Askey, Cliff Richard, Shirley Bassey and American singing pop star Pat Boone. The latter sent each player a special straw hat as a souvenir of his British tour and visit to O’s. In February Johnston returns home for £7,500. He was not a failure at Ewood Park scoring 14 goals from 25 matches.
On August 31 O’s play their first game under floodlights, which cost £15,000, against Brighton, a 2-1 win before 12,937 fans with Sid Bishop scoring the first, another first O’s playing in the newly launched League Cup on October 12, a 2-2 draw at Chester, Ron Foster scores the first goal. In March O’s sign Dave Dunmore from West Ham with Alan Sealey going to Upton Park as part of the deal, Dunmore scores on home debut. O’s finish in 10th spot.
On April 22 Johnston scores at Norwich for a 1-0 win to ensure O’s Second Division survival, his 17th of the season. In May O’s tour the Channel Islands winning all three games, scoring 11 goals with one against.
In July O’s appoint Johnny Carey as manager. Tommy Johnston moves to Gillingham for £3000 having netted 121 League goals from 180 appearances. In September O’s win 5-1 at Walsall, October see a great 3-3 draw at Liverpool, Dunmore scores two crackers before 36,612 fans.
O’s gain promotion to Division One on April 28 finishing in second spot to Liverpool, Malcolm Graham (in for the injured Ronnie Foster) scores twice against Bury to secure that promotion. Dave Dunmore top scored with 22 goals. Skipper Stan Charlton is carried from the pitch by ecstatic fans.
DIVISION TWO 1961-62 (Top four places – Top two promoted)
P W D L F A Pts
Liverpool 42 27 8 7 99 43 62
Leyton Orient 42 22 10 10 69 40 54
Sunderland 42 22 9 11 85 50 53
Scunthorpe United 42 21 7 14 86 71 49
In the summer O’s extend the main stand. During August O’s, with no new players bought they start their First Division campaign losing to Arsenal 1-2, Derek Gibbs scores O’s goal. Impressive home wins follow over West Ham United 2-0, Everton 3-0 and Manchester United 1-0 (who in the stadium can forget Terry McDonald’s great last-minute winner), but it’s all downhill from there on in.
O’s get knocked out by Bury in the Quarter Final of the League Cup, after beating Chester 9-2 along the way. (Graham and Waites both score hat-tricks and Roger Wedge makes his only first-team appearance, now living in Spain, he remembers the game very well).
After just one season in the top flight O’s are relegated with just six wins all season.
1962-63 Div I (Bottom Four places)
P W D L F A Pts
Manchester United 42 12 10 20 67 71 34
Birmingham City 42 10 13 19 63 90 33
Manchester City 42 10 11 21 58 102 31
Leyton Orient 42 6 9 27 37 81 21
On October 26, with O’s back in Division Two, they lose at home 3-6 to Portsmouth, losing an early 3-0 lead, Eddie Lewis also missed a penalty and Stan Charlton scores a rare goal (only his second goal from 408 appearances). O’s finish in a disappointing 16th position.
Highest attendance at Brisbane Road is recorded for the FA Cup tie versus West Ham United on January 25 – 34,345. The match ends 1-1. Manager Benny Fenton is sacked in December and Les Gore is caretaker manager again. In March 17-goal striker Gordon Bolland is sold to Norwich City for £31,500 and is replaced by veteran Ted Phillips.
The 2,000th O’s League match recorded on April 25 and Ted Phillips scores twice in a 4-0 win over Cardiff City.
Dave Sexton is appointed manager, by new year O’s are doomed to relegation, Sexton resigns. At the age of 15 years 327 days Paul Went becomes the youngest player ever to play League football for O’s against Preston and Peter Allen joins the club having been at university.
In 1965 saw the first season of one substitute being allowed but for an injured player only, on September 4 Joe Ellwood comes on to replace Jimmy McGeorge against Preston North End to become the first sub used by O’s.
The final season O’s entered the Essex Professional Cup, in Round One they defeated Romford 6-2 with all five O’s forwards scoring, Scott 2, Phillips, Price, McDonald and Dunmore but they did not go on to win the competition that season. O’s entered when it commenced in 1949, they were in the final on nine occasions – winning the cup three times in 1955-56, 1962-63 and 1963-64.
In November O’s changes its name for the third time in its history to Orient F.C. (after the name Waltham Forest Orient F.C. is rejected by the board, not wanting to be confused with Nottingham Forest) after the merger of the Borough of Leyton into the Waltham Forest ‘Administration’ this also after being relegated to Division Three, after 50 in the Football League.
In August Dick Graham is appointed manager. The Club colours are changed from royal blue to an all red strip, not to the liking of the fans. November sees financial problem’s hit the club. On November 20 the famous ‘pass the bucket’ meeting takes place with thousands of pounds raised to save the club from extinction under the leadership of chairman Arthur Page and director Harry Zussman. Les Gore leaves the club after 15 years loyal service and joins Charlton Athletic as trainer.
The players respond to the problems off the field by finishing in 14th spot. Veteran striker Cliff Holton scores 17 goals with some real power shooting not seen for many a year.
On April 1 for the game against Swindon Town, film cameras are at the Brisbane Road for the making of the film Robbery starring Stanley Baker with 5mins and 35 seconds used in the film at the ground, the match ended 0-0 before 7028 fans.
Dick Graham resigns as manager in March and Jimmy Bloomfield is appointed player-manager on March 8. In October Vic Halom is sold for a record £35,000 from Charlton Athletic. August 10 O’s players run out onto the field for the match against Rotherham United to a new catchy tune, Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Taxi, it’s been played ever since. (August 10, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary since its first playing).
O’s beat Shrewsbury Town 4-0 to avoid the drop into Division Four before 6115 delighted fans. Bloomfield retires from playing to concentrate on managerial duties. Barry Dyson is top goalscorer on 10 goals.
Promotion is gained as Division Three Champions. Mickey Bullock top scores with 19 League goals followed by young star Barrie Fairbrother on 13. The team is led brilliantly on the field by Captain Terry Mancini and off it by Manager Jimmy Bloomfield and his assistant Peter Angell. In celebration O’s play Italian club Roma on May 4 with 7619 in attendance, losing 3-1 with a Dyson goal and Jimmy Bloomfield is voted the Third Division manager of the season.
DIVISION THREE 1969-70 (TOP FOUR PLACES)
P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
Orient 46 16 5 2 43 15 9 7 7 24 21` 62
Luton Town 46 13 8 2 46 15 10 6 7 31 28 60
Bristol Rovers 46 15 5 3 51 26 5 11 7 29 33 56
Fulham 46 12 9 2 43 26 8 6 9 38 29 55
O’s open their Division Two campaign with a 3-1 win over Sheffield United Mark Lazarus bags two goals and was knackered at the end after his two laps of honour around the whole pitch. Tommy Taylor joins West Ham for £63,000 plus Peter Bennett.
In May O’s go on tour to Spain winning all three matches against Villena 2-0, Eldense 3-1 and Santa Pola 2-0. Bloomfield signs Ian Bowyer for £25,000 then he leaves O’s for Leicester City, George Petchey is appointed manager. His first major signing is that of Phil Hoadley for £30,000. Bowyer scores hat-trick on home debut, 4-1 over Cardiff City.
O’s score just 29 League goals and finish in 17th position. They win 3-0 at Sunderland in FA Cup but go out to Nottingham Forest after a replay in Round Four. Gordon Riddock scores O’s 3000th League goal at Middlesbrough on March 20. Mark Lazarus top scored with League six goals (he also netted one in the FA Cup), the lowest total for a top goalscorer in their League history. The average League attendance was 9166.
O’s beat Chelsea 3-2 in an exhilarating Fifth Round FA Cup match.
Barrie Fairbrother scores a last minute winner. O’s fans are jubilant and invade the pitch to celebrate a famous victory. 30,329 fans attend the match but O’s go out to ‘Lucky’ Arsenal 1-0 in the Sixth Round. Gerry Queen joins from Crystal Palace for £50,000. On May 2 highest League attendance at Brisbane Road is recorded against Birmingham City of 33,363, with Birmingham looking for promotion and the crowd is bumped up with Millwall fans, who if Birmingham had lost would have been promoted instead, the Midland side won 1-0. O’s finish 17th.
Ian Bowyer joins Nottingham Forest in October for £40,000 and manager Petchey buys Crystal Palace pair John Jackson for £25,000 and Bill Roffey for £5,000.
Leading up to December O’s look real promotion contenders culminating with an excellent 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace before 20,611 Boxing Day fans.
O’s play three epic FA Cup ties with Portsmouth, the first tie at Fratton Park is played on Sunday, January 27 due to electricians industrial action watched by 32 838 fans with Orient taking over 40 coach load of fans. But O’s lose a second replay 2-0 at Selhurst Park thereafter their League form suffers.
O’s sadly miss out on promotion to Division One by a single point, to Carlisle United after failing to beat Aston Villa in May before 29,766 disappointed East London fans. Failure to gain promotion is because O’s only won just one of their final 6 League matches. Bullock top scores with 16 goals.
On December 14 O’s gain a credible 0-0 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United before 41,200 spectators. Tom Walley scores with a header from a corner but it’s disallowed for so-called ‘pushing’.
October sees O’s very first book on its history – 100 years of Orient FC by Neilson N. Kaufman and Alan Ravenhill published with over 9000 copies sold. Arthur Page retires as chairman and Brian Winston takes over.
O’s score just 28 League goals, yet finish in 12th position. O’s win the London 5-a-sides championship beating QPR 6-1 in the final. Laurie Cunningham, the most gifted of players, scores on April 26 to secure a 2-1 win over Southampton, his first goal for O’s. He went onto have a great football career and is the only O’s player (and first Englishman) ever to play for Real Madrid.
Tony Grealish wins two full International Caps for Eire. In March Peter Allen breaks Arthur Wood’s 45-year-old League Appearance record by making his 375th League appearance (Allen went onto make 424 (8) League appearances for the Club). O’s win National five-a-side Championship beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Final. Laurie Cunningham named player of the tournament. Orient postpones many matches at Brisbane Road due to drainage problems. O’s highest score of the 1975-76 season, a 3-0 win over Luton in March.
In March, Laurie Cunningham joins WBA for £110,000 with Joe Mayo and Allan Glover both joining O’s for £25,000. In May Allan Glover’s goal earns O’s a vital point against Hull City to avoid relegation to Division Three, the 8400 fans go wild with delight. O’s reach the finals of the Anglo Scottish Cup losing to Nottingham Forest in the two- legged Final, but gain impressive two-legged wins over both Aberdeen and Patrick Thistle in the competition. In July Arthur Edmund Page former chairman dies.
Peter Kitchen is a £25,000 close season signing from Doncaster Rovers, soon after George Petchey is fired after a 1-4 defeat by Blackpool, Peter Angell takes charge as caretaker manager and sees his team win a thriller, 5-3 against Oldham Athletic before the return of Jimmy Bloomfield. In December Kitchen bags a hat-trick against Mansfield Town.
O’s reach the Semi-Final of the FA Cup after a memorable and emotional replay victory over Middlesbrough with goals from Kitchen, a beauty and Mayo, but lose to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge 3-0 with two lucky deflected goals from Malcolm MacDonald before 49,698 fans with gross receipts of £147,225.
Peter Kitchen bags 28 goals (21 League and seven FA Cup), the highest by any O’s player since the days of Tommy Johnston in the fifties’ including two stunning FA Cup goals at Chelsea in a 2-1 victory. Kitchen also scores a goal at Cardiff to secure Second Division survival. Glenn Roeder is transferred to QPR for £210,000.
End of September O’s sign Ian Moores for £55,000 who scores two goals on debut at Charlton with Ralph Coates on a free from Spurs and fans also see the return of 29-year-old Paul Went on September 7 for £20,000. On Boxing Day O’s secure a win at West Ham with goals from Mayo and Chiedozie.
O’s finish mid-table in 1978-79. Introduction of Freedom of Contract, O’s lose two of their star players in July Phil Hoadley to Norwich City for £110,000 (fixed by a tribunal). In July Eire International Tony Grealish joins Luton Town for £150,000. Peter Angell dies on July 18 during a training session having spent 11 years with the club. In August Peter Kitchen joins Fulham for £150,000. O’s go out to Wimbledon in the League Cup by 5-4 on penalties, their winning kicks from former O’s goalie Ray Goddard. In October, former Director Leslie Grade dies.
Manager Bloomfield spends £330,000 on new players including Stanley Bowles from Nottingham Forest for £90,000 and November sees Peter Taylor join the Os from Spurs for a then club record fee of £150,000. On October 4 Bowles has a blinder in a 4-0 win over Preston.
In January Joe Mayo scores in the FA Cup against Altrincham, its O’s 200th goal in the competition. In December Joe Mayo also scores the winner at Chelsea.
On March 31 O’s beat QPR 4-0 and finish eight points clear of relegation. The club celebrates its centenary in May and Chairman Brian Winston is presented with a plaque by Football League Secretary Ted Croker. A limited edition centenary celebration booklet by O’s historian Neilson N. Kaufman is published.
On July 10 Harry Zussman dies at his office in Shoreditch. He remained on the Board the Club for over 32 years, a third of the Club’s history.
Nigerian International John Chiedozie signs for Notts County for a club outgoing record of £600,000 having the previous month he plays for Nigeria against Tunisia alongside Tunji Banjo.
In August Manager Jimmy Bloomfield leaves the Club after a disagreement with chairman Winston over the Chiedozie deal and is replaced by Paul Went, his reign lasts just 21 days before being fired. (I remember in my office in Johannesburg hearing on the radio news…In English football Orient’s Went has come and gone), Ken Knighton takes over in October as manager with Frank Clark as his assistant. The 1979-80 season ends with Orient the only club to have retained their Second Division status throughout the decade.
In May O’s are relegated in 1982 to Division Three after twelve seasons of unbroken membership in Division Two.
O’s draw 2-2 at Chelsea in May, the attendance only 6009 but O’s are relegated down to Division Three finishing bottom on 39 points. They go out with a 3-0 win over Leicester City. In November Neville Ovenden purchases a controlling interest in the Club from Brian Winston and Adrian Harding.
During September Billy Roffey scores O’s 3500th League goal in a 3-3 draw with Brentford and on December 28 Bournemouth are beaten 5-0 but O’s finish in 20th position.
In October O’s lose at home to both Newport County and Bristol Rovers by 1-5. O’s beat Sheffield United 4-1 on last day of the season to avoid relegation.
finishing in 20th position. In April former manager Jimmy Bloomfield sadly dies aged forty-nine. During May Frank Clark succeed Ken Knighton as manager.
In February O’s win 4-3 at Exeter City with centre-half Tommy Cunningham scoring a hat-trick. November sees a 4-5 home defeat to Hull City. In April Peter Kitchen nets four goals against Millwall in a 5-3 win. O’s finish mid-table.
In August Richard Cadette signs for Southend United for £4 000 and promptly scores four goals against O’s in our 5-1 defeat (He netted 25 goals for the Shrimpers that season). O’s relegated to Division Four for the first time in its history after failing to beat Bournemouth on May 11. Tony Wood is appointed Chairman. August 11 O’s beat Tranmere Rovers 3-1 in the first game and in October Rochdale are crushed 5-0.
O’s finish in fifth position in Division Four scoring 79 League goals but fail to reach the play-offs. Tony Wood buys the Club to save it from liquidation. Wood holds 76 percent of the shares with Neville Ovenden, Brian Winston and Adrian Harding holding 7 percent each.
On April 22 lowest League attendance recorded at Brisbane Road against Halifax Town of 1443. In May Steve Castle bags all four goals in the final game of the season at Rochdale.
On May 1 O’s record 3000th League victories at Tranmere Rovers, a 3-1 win. On July 1 O’s revert to their former name of Leyton Orient F.C.
In October O’s beat Rochdale 8-0. April sees Kevin Godfrey hit O’s 3900th League goal again Hereford United. The 200th FA Cup tie is recorded with a 2-0 victory over Swansea City in December. The Club celebrates 50 years at its Brisbane Road ground. O’s record their 1000th Football League victory, defeating Newport County on September 29 by 4-1. Kevin Godfrey becomes only the ninth player to record 50 League goals for the Club.
O’s finish in 8th spot and for the second season running miss out on a play-off place. Ian Juryeff nets 16 League goals from final 23 games. In October Alan Hull bags a hat-trick in the 8-0 humiliation of Colchester United.
1989 PROMOTION AT LAST
Division Four: 1988-89 final league placing (Top three promoted, the remaining four teams in play-offs)
P W D L F A Pts
Rotherham United 46 22 16 8 76 35 82
Tranmere Rovers 46 21 17 8 62 43 80
Crewe Alexandra 46 21 15 10 67 48 78
Scunthorpe United 46 21 14 11 77 57 77
Scarborough 46 21 14 11 67 52 77
Leyton Orient 46 21 12 13 86 50 75
Wrexham 46 19 14 13 77 63 71
A change of fortune occurs at the Club when young Kevin Campbell joins in January on loan from Arsenal. He proves to be an inspiration and scores a number of goals to springboard O’s into the play-off zone, finishing in sixth spot. O’s gain promotion defeating Wrexham in a two-legged final winning 2-1 on aggregate. Lee Harvey and Mark Cooper score great goals at Brisbane Road before 13,355 fans. The O’s had done it.
O’s lose star winger Alan Comfort to Middlesbrough for £175,000 and sign defender Paul Beesley from Wigan Athletic in October for a then club record outgoing fee of £175,000. On July 15 Laurie Cunningham died in a car accident just outside Madrid, He was 33.
In September O’s past the 3000 League points mark and in April Mark Cooper scores the Club’s 4000th League goal against Wigan Athletic. The third book on the Club: Leyton Orient The Complete Record by O’s historian Neilson N. Kaufman, assisted by Alan Ravenhill is published during October. In November O’s go out to Crystal Palace in the Fifth Round of the League Cup.
The decade finishes with the O’s in 14th spot under Manager Frank Clark. On April 14 O’s play their 1000th match at Brisbane Road, losing 2-3 to Bury.
O’s finish in 13th position, Steve Castle scores 18 League and Cup goals. In February Chris Bart-Williams scores on his full debut in a 4-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.
In November O’s win at Dagenham & Redbridge 5-4 in the FA Cup. On January 15 O’s beat Oldham Athletic 4-2 in an FA Cup replay. Chris Zoricich opens the new season on 15 August with his only goal for the club in 3-2 win over Brighton. On October 17 Ricky Otto scores against Bournemouth to take O’s top of the table. In November Terry Howard nets a hat-trick in a 5-1 win against Mansfield Town.
In February Otto scores a great hat trick at Brighton but in July he is sold to Southend United for £100,000. A hat-trick from Robert Taylor sees off Exeter City 5-0 and he nets 18 for the season but O’s finish in 7th position and miss out on the play-offs yet again.
O’s finish in 18th spot in Division Two, Peter Eustace is sacked in early April and the Assistant Manager Chris Turner and Youth Coach John Sitton are put in temporary charge for the final five League games. Colin West top scores with 15 League goals and Chairman Tony Wood loses most of his money and business interests in Rwanda, due to the civil war in that country.
The 1994-95 season kicks with Turner and Sitton still in charge of the first team as joint managers and Wood resigns as chairman and ends his financial involvement with the club. The financial crisis worsens at the club and the PFA step in to pay the player wages. The supporters came up with £76,000 to help pay off some of the outstanding debts.
On November 12 O’s visit Tiveton for a First Round FA Cup tie. On 33 minutes after an Andy Gray goal, the wall collapses where the O’s fans are located, thankfully no one was seriously injured and O’s went onto win 3-1.
In September O’s achieve their first away League victory in nearly two years (42 games) in a 2-1 win at Northampton Town with goals from Hendon and Inglethorpe.
On February 7 Terry Howard is sacked at half time in the match against Blackpool by manager Sitton. Filmed by Jo Trehane and called ‘Yours For a Fiver’.
Barry Hearn takes over the ownership of the club on 31 March, after Phil Wallace backs out but it’s far too late to avoid relegation with only six wins and 30 League goals scored. Turner and Sitton are both sacked and Glenn Cockerill and Tom Loizou takes charge as caretaker managers before Pat Holland is appointed as boss in April. O’s reach the Southern Area Final of the Auto Windscreen Shield, unluckily losing to Birmingham City 4-2 on aggregate.
Division Two 1994-95 (Bottom four places)
P W D L F A Pts
Plymouth A 46 12 10 24 45 83 46
Cardiff City 46 9 11 26 46 74 38
Chester City 46 6 11 29 37 84 29
Leyton Orient 46 6 8 32 30 75 26
Under Holland, the fans witness another poor showing in Division Three, despite opening the season brightly with just one defeat from the first ten League games.
O’s finish in a dismal 21st place in the League table. Roger Stanislaus is banned by the FA in February after being tested positive after a drug test, he is sacked by the club.
The new season kicks off with a three-sided ground with the Coronation Gardens having been demolished for future stand development. After a poor start, Holland is sacked in October and the following month former player Tommy Taylor is appointed Manager. During December famous goalkeeper Peter Shilton makes his 1000th League career appearance in goal for O’s in a 2-0 win over Brighton, the only player to have achieved that milestone. O’s go out to non-league Stevenage Borough in the FA Cup.
Colin West top scores with 17 goals
In May O’s beat the Welsh National side in a friendly by 2-1 with goals from Lee Shearer and Peter Garland before 5055 fans.
In September defender Simon Clark scores with a hat-trick of headers at Doncaster Rovers in a 4-1 win. (Some reports gave one of the goals to Stuart Hicks, but it was confirmed by both players that Clark did score three goals).
Carl Griffiths joins the club in March and in the same month Brighton fans attack Scott McGleish and two other O’s players in the 4-4 away draw. O’s finish the season 16th position.
In September O’s gain a credible 4-4 draw in the League Cup reply at Bolton Wanderers, but go out on aggregate. The O’s are knocked out in the FA Cup by Hendon in November. The year ends on a high note with an 8-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers.
O’s end in 8th spot, but they have three points deducted because club Secretary David Burton had erred over player bookings which meant that three players played in a game they should not have and he resigns from his post. O’s drop to 11th position. Griffiths top scores with 21 League and Cup goals
The new season kicks off with a 2-0 win at Chester City, in October French veteran Amara Simba scores on debut against Exeter City and by the end of the year, O’s were one of the teams chasing an automatic promotion place.
When April came O’s had secured a play-off place, they beat Shrewsbury Town 6-1, only the seventh time they had hit that number at home in their 1776th home match.
After taking out Rotherham United in the play-off semi-final on penalties, Scott Barrett, making some great saves, Matt Lockwood scores the decisive penalty in the shoot- out. O’s lose frustratingly 1-0 in the Wembley final to Scunthorpe United before a crowd of 36,985 wearing their Croatian styled red and white checkered shirts.
August 1999 O’s new South Stand is completed with 1336 seats. O’s also wear a new strip of white shirts with a red chevron, familiar from years gone by. In October O’s sign Croatian midfielder Ahmet Brkovic.
The 1999-2000 season was a dour struggle and by December O’s were bottom of the pile and the fans in demonstration mood. Carl Griffiths returned to the club in an £80,000 deal in December, and he netted a hat trick (two penalties) in a 5-1 win at fellow strugglers Chester City.
The new Millennium in January 2000 started in better fashion with a run of seven games undefeated but in the end O’s finish in a safe 19th spot.
The start of the new season was much better, undefeated in seven League games and they finish in 5th spot even though only 59 League goals are scored, yet another chance of promotion via the play-offs.
After disposing of Hull City in the semi’s 2-1 on aggregate with goals from Steve Watts and Matt Lockwood it’s off to the Millennium Stadium in Wales for the final against Blackpool.
O’s get off to a great start with an early goal from Chris Tate, on thirty-two seconds, however, some slack marking sees O’s lose out 4-2 and another chance of promotion has gone. In October Matthew Joseph becomes O’s 13th player to represent his country when picked for Barbados versus Guatemala.
In October, after a series of defeats, Tommy Taylor resigns and is replaced by Paul Brush as manager.
The year ends with a 5-0 win against Lincoln City and then two heavy defeats.
The new year starts with a great 4-1 win at Portsmouth in the FA Cup, but O’s are brought down to earth the following week with a 6-1 drubbing in the League at Carlisle United but in the end, finish in 18th position on 52 points.
The new season kicks off in the usual up and down fashion, in November O’s are dumped out of the F Cup in a replay by non-league Margate.
Nothing new to excite the fans, In April Wayne Purser bags a hat-trick on debut against Boston United, O’s end in 18th position with 53 points and an average home attendance of 4257. In June Ciaran Toner win two caps for Northern Ireland.
What will the new season bring, nothing new, after a run of dismal results Paul Brush is fired and Martin Ling is given a chance to see what he can do, his first match in charge during September, a 1-0 win at Carlisle United.
It takes a 2-1 win at York City in May to keep O’s safe in Division Three in 19th spot. Gary Alexander is top scorer with 16 League and Cup goals.
In August the new Coca Cola League Two kicks off with a 1-3 home defeat to Macclesfield Town but O’s go top after a 4-1 win over Shrewsbury Town. In October O’s win 4-3 at Lincoln City, with a fine hat trick by Lee Steele but by year-end a lack of victories see O’s slide down the table. Steele scores 16 League goals.
May sees O’s finish in their best position for three seasons – 11th spot. O’s start the new season with three wins and from September embark on a 12 match unbeaten run to go top the following month, at the end of the year after a 1-0 win over Notts County through Jabo Ibehre, they are third from top.
In January O’s sign Paul Connor from Swansea City for £40,000 and from mid-February they keep up their promotion challenge with a decent run of form. In May O’s achieve promotion after a nail-biting match at Oxford United, resulting in a 3-2 victory after a late goal from Lee Steele to send manager Martin Ling, his family and the 5000 O’s fans into pure ecstasy and the Oxford fans into despair as they are relegated down to the Conference.
Coca Cola League 2 (Top four places)
P W D L F A Pts
Carlisle United 46 25 11 10 84 42 86
Northampton Town 46 22 17 7 63 37 83
LEYTON ORIENT 46 22 15 9 67 51 81
Grimsby Town 46 22 12 12 64 44 78
O’s first season in League One since 1995, it sees them struggle with just two wins from the first 13 games and not one point away from home after six games.
On July 5 Matthew Lockwood joins Nottingham Forest for a reported £200,000 after 327(9) League appearances (including playoffs) with 51 goals and 25 FA Cup appearances with two goals, 15 League Cup appearances with two goals and in other cup games nine appearances with two goals. He converted an O’s record 32 penalties and the most goals scored by a defender of 57 League and cup goals
On September 1 Tamika Mkandawire scores O’s 5000th League goal against Northampton Town on 57 minutes.
One of O’s greatest ever players Thomas Bourhill Johnston dies on September 4 in Shoalhaven, Australia. The south Stand is re-named The Tommy Johnston stand.
In January both manager Martin Ling and his assistant Dean Smith are fired. On February 21 Simon Church, on loan from Reading, played at Hartlepool United to become O’s 1000th player to appear in League, FA Cup or League Cup games since first entering the FA Cup 1904.
On March 10 in a 3-1 win at Carlisle United, the build-up to the second goal from Scott McGleish lasted a record 23 passes and was touched by every O’s player, the move lasted 1 minute and 17 seconds. In August at Yeovil on 42 minutes, on-loan winger from Spurs Andros Townsend ran fully 70 yards went past three defenders to score a terrific goal.
In February midfielder JJ Melligan had his contract terminated after a row with boss Geraint Williams. On April 3 Williams himself is fired, two days later Russell Slade is appointed as boss with a mandate to save O’s from relegation. O’s finish in seventeenth positon just one point more than relegated Gillingham. On October 16 a memorial service is held for Tommy Johnston at Brisbane Road, the first time ever such an event has taken place at the ground, it is attended by a few former O’s players and his wife Jean.
In May Barnsley are refused permission to talk to boss Russell Slade. On October 1 O’s beat Preston North End, 2-1 their first win from the first 11 games. Scott McGleish is top goalscorer.
O’s seventh season in the third tier of football. In August O’s dispatch Charlton Athletic out of the League Cup at the Valley on penalties but lose to Everton 5-0 at Goodison in the Second Round. The first League victory is against Brentford during September. On December 20 O’s greatest ever captain Stan Charlton died in the Dorchester Hospital, aged 83.
April is a good month picking up 13 points to finish in 7th spot on 71 points, Kevin Lisbie top scores with 16 League goals. O’s start the new season in great style picking 32 points from first 12 games and are top of the top table, scoring 31 goals in the process, before losing at Coventry on October 22. Russell Slade voted manager of the month.
O’s finish in third position to reach the play-offs.
After disposing of Peterborough United 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final with wild scenes at the Matchroom after the 2-1 win with goals from Cox and Dagnall, it’s off to Wembley for the May final against Rotherham United.
O’s went into a two-goal lead with goals from Odubajo and Cox but in the second half, it’s former O’s player Alex Revell with two goals, the second a cracker, taking the game into extra time and a penalty shoot-out. Both Baudry and Dagnall have their kicks saved and it’s Rotherham who are promoted, 4-3 on penalties. The average home attendance was 5479.
In June it’s announced that owner Barry Hearn was holding talks with Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti, (he had previously looked at both Reading and Bologna to takeover) the £4 million deal was concluded in July and Hearn is made Honorary President.
By end of January O’s are in 19th spot just two points off the relegation zone but by May the O’s finish 23rd and are relegated back down to League Two on 49 points under manager Fabio Liverani. The average home attendance was 5023. On May 13 Liverani is sacked and Ian Hendon is appointed.
O’s start the new season during August, their 100th in League football, in better fashion with five straight wins and in November they hit Staines Town for six in the FA Cup. On September 12, 2015, O’s iconic forward Malcolm Graham dies aged 81.
On January 18 Hendon is fired after just four wins from 21 League games, and three days later Kevin Nolan is appointed player-manager but is released from his managerial duties on April 12. Andy Hessenthaler takes over as caretaker. O’s finish in 8th position, six points off the play-offs with a goal difference of -1.
On March 30, 2016, Jobi McAnuff wins his 16th cap for Jamaica as an O’s player when playing away at Costa Rica, a 3-0 defeat. Jay Simpson nets 25 goals in a season, the first player to do so since Peter Kitchen in 1977-78. On June 15 O’s oldest living player in the Football League, Phil McKnight turned 92.
On March 4, Josh Koroma scores a hat-trick at Newport County to become the youngest player to register a hat-trick for the O’s at the age of 18 years, three months and 24 days.
The O’s are relegated out of the EFL after featuring for 101 seasons during a 112-year period when defeated 3-0 at Crewe Alexandra on April 22.
Orient end their 2017-18 Sky Bet League Two campaign with a 3-1 defeat at Blackpool on May 6.
On June 23 came the news that the Club had been sold by owner Francesco Becchetti to Eagle Investments 2017 Limited headed by Woodford born Nigel Travis, a lifelong O’s fan the chairman and CEO of Dunkin Brands, along with principal investor Rodney Kent Teague. Travis will serve as Orient’s 17th Chairman since 1905.
The following day Travis appointed Club legend Martin Ling as Director of Football with Marshall Taylor, a local businessman and O’s fan to act as Interim Chief Executive.
On June 27 former Chief Executive Matt Porter is appointed to the Board of Directors, and two days later former Chairman Barry Hearn is named Honorary President.
On July 10, the O’s appoint Steve Davis as Head Coach as the O’s rebuilt a decimated squad. Davis started life well as the O’s briefly topped the National League in August but went on a three-month winless run that eventually resulted in his departure on November 14, 2017.
Former-Tottenham Hotspur defender Justin Edinburgh is named as the Club’s new Head Coach on November 29.
The O’s see an upturn in form under Edinburgh who confirms a comfortable 13th position.
Edinburgh brings in just two players – Dale Gorman and James Alabi – during the summer and his faith is rewarded as the O’s set the record for best unbeaten start in the Club’s history as they go 13 matches unbeaten.
The O’s continue their fine season as they enter 2019 in firm promotion contention. Edinburgh leads the O’s to their first ever FA Trophy Final after defeating AFC Telford United 3-2 on aggregate.
On April 27, the O’s secure the National League title on the final day following a 0-0 draw with Braintree Town. This sparks jubilant scenes on the Brisbane Road pitch as supporters invaded and hoisted fan favourites, like Captain Jobi McAnuff, onto their shoulders. This is the Club’s first league title in 49 years.
On May 19, the O’s take part in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium. A Danny Rowe free-kick is enough for opponents AFC Fylde to clinch the trophy, the O’s hitting the post three-times in the second half. Nonetheless, defeat doesn’t put a dampener on one of the most memorable seasons in the Club’s history.
However, tragedy strikes on June 3 when Head Coach Justin Edinburgh is taken ill following a cardiac arrest. Five days later, on June 8, Edinburgh is confirmed as dead at 49, causing shock across the footballing community and sparking an outpouring of grief. Fans gather at Brisbane Road to lay tributes to the Club Legend, where they were celebrating promotion just weeks before.