Howard Gould, Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme development coach and the clubs liaison officer, visited Hackney Community College recently after a request from one of the tutors.
Ewan Bruce, who is leading on the HND Interactive Media Level 4 course, needed help for one of his mature students and chose Leyton Orient after noticing the clubs good work within the local communities.
“Living and working in Hackney, I’d noticed a lot of good news stories concerning Leyton Orient recently like visiting schools, St Joseph’s hospice and Homerton hospital at Christmas so I decided to check out the website. I was surprised to see just how diverse the community work is and so I made contact with Howard and it went from there” said Ewan.
The student in question is 45-year-old Wale Adeniyi who has worked as a steward at sports events for the past 20 years including venues like Twickenham and football clubs Brentford, QPR, Watford and Millwall. Part of Wale’s coursework was to talk to his class about an incident that had had some effect on his life whereupon he referred to a Millwall versus Birmingham City match at played at the old ‘Den’ back in the early ‘80’s where a riot had taken place and Wale struggled to get home (Wale is also partially sighted and needs a walking aid).
From this recall of the incidents, Wale is now in the process of making an audio documentary about football safety.
“Howard was ideal” said Wale. “He said he visited lots of grounds around that time and remembers the ‘agro’ although he said he wasn’t a ‘bovver boy’ himself! I spoke to him about my experiences and asked if he had any similar. Then went onto asking if he thought things had changed and how. It was a really good interview and I’m really grateful.”
Wale has also spoken to the Police about safety procedures at football grounds and Janet Brisco, a safety officer at Tottenham FC. The work is still in progress.
“It was really enjoyable,” commented Howard with a wry smile, “brought back a few memories, and not all good! The old Den was never the most welcoming ground to visit for away fans and I had to make sharp getaways from Cardiff and Sunderland I recall. Not forgetting the memorable FA Cup run we (Leyton Orient) had with Portsmouth back in 1974 when we took a convoy of about 50 coaches. I don’t think mine was the only one to have had a brick through the window! Happy days.”
Ewan had the last word. “I’m really thankful to Howard for taking time out and come to help Wale with his project. It was interesting to hear his recollections and thoughts on how things are different now. He also did a good job on selling the O’s so we intend to come and watch a match in the near future!”