Leyton Orient Walking Football Club members felt honoured and privileged to have been invited to both carry the flags pre-match and take penalties at half time at the historic first National League home game at a revitalised Brisbane Road on Tuesday, August 8 when the O’s entertained Solihull Moors.
There was plenty of nervous laughter in the Fans For Diversity Community Hub before the parade as partners, family members and friends had all turned up to see the great event which included much spirited banter from parts of crowd. Once briefed by Community Liaison Officer Howard Gould, the squad entered the pitch from the East stand and the parade around the pitch passed very quickly. It could almost have been a sprint if the flag bearers hadn’t all been walking footballers!
Then on with the match and with the Orient 1-0 up at the break, it was our turn to entertain the crowd with the half-time penalties.
Now the nerves really kicked in. Goalkeeper Len Cheston, could hear the comments from the North Stand crowd; fortunately all encouraging and positive. There is no count of the saves and scorers, it is enough that all tried their very best given a full size goal and a long run up which seemed to impact some players who were more used to small goals and the one step penalty rule.
For the main men, the final result of this memorable first home National League match was a 3-1 victory for the O’s and all the Leyton Orient walking footballers departed into the night happy with the whole experience but feeling exhausted.
John Barrie, veteran supporter and walking footballer, said; “What a great night! It will live in the memory for a long, long time” whilst Len Cheston, chairman of the Leyton Orient Walking Football Club, enthused “It was a great honour that has been thoroughly enjoyed by the Walking Football Club”.
This event was a great boost as Leyton Orient Walking FC may face Benfica or Werder Bremen in their next match at the upcoming European Legends Walking Football Festival in Holland. COYOS!!
If you’d like more information on the Leyton Orient walking football set up, please go to www.leytonorienttrust.org.uk/walkingfootball