Hyde, now a PE teacher at the Ashford School in Kent, had brought his school under-11s football team up for the day to partake in the Football League Kids Cup tournament held that morning on the adjacent SCORE centre 3G pitch followed by viewing the O’s first team in action and whilst here, the opportunity was too good to miss not to have him back between the sticks at the club he loves best.
“I loved my time at Orient, “ stated Paul, “I enjoyed every minute up until I broke my leg of course!” That was playing away at Exeter City in 1999 when diving at the feet of an onrushing striker. “Unfortunately for me I had to retire from professional football but I’m enjoying my role at the school and it’s great to be able to bring some of the children to watch the game here and get involved myself again.
“It’s changed just a bit from when I was here,” he said with a wry smile. “I’d love to be playing now. The pitch is fantastic.”
Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer, said: “It’s great having Paul here and he was more than happy to go in goal again as he did a couple of seasons ago. I know he relishes bringing his school kids to see a ‘real’ game of football at his favourite club and he loves to prove all his stories about being a goalkeeper at Orient are true!
“It was also an opportunity to get some of the adult supporters involved on the pitch as I’m always being told the kids have way too much fun, so I’ve also been asked to have some adults as the pre-match flag bearers so watch this space.”
Penalty taker and ardent O’s fan Frankie Bish stated after the penalty action: “I sit in the North Stand and have always supported the team from behind the goal. I’m pretty well known for being loud and ‘Hydey’ was a big favourite of mine so to be able to take a penalty against him is like a dream come true. We used to have some banter back in the day. Fair play with my penalty, he made a good save; but it’s been brilliant.”
There will be an opportunity for our Theo’s Junior O’s supporters to take penalties against Theo during the half time break of the Portsmouth game on Boxing Day. Keep an eye on the website for details.