The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Mammaries for tat

18 October 2019

Like Grimsby, our visitors on Saturday have served their time in non-League, but the two clubs have very different stories to tell. The Mariners’ slide into oblivion was made to look relatively gentle compared to Leyton Orient’s rapid decline, and it apparently took "many millions" to sort out the mess that Francesco Becchetti left behind.

But where Town took six seasons to climb back out, Orient took just two – possibly due to that investment from Nigel Travis and his American consortium, possibly not. It was your West Yorkshire Diary’s opinion at the time that Justin Edinburgh was a very prudent managerial appointment and their success in securing automatic promotion, irrespective of the investment, wasn’t a huge surprise. But his tragic death was. His last achievement in football was one of glory, for which he’ll be remembered fondly.

I think it’s fair to say that, on the whole, both clubs are now run better than they were before they were sentenced to time in what almost all people still call the Conference. And that’s what non-League does to you: it’s a proper kick up the backside. Occasionally I wonder if the kick John Fenty received was as forceful as the one Orient got, given some of the mistakes we’ve made in the three seasons since we returned to the fourth division, but things feel rather settled now.

I like our manager, I like the way youth is being given a chance to shine, and while recent results haven’t lived up to the expectations that August set, it feels like we’re just one win away from restoring a bit of confidence all round.

I have vague memories of attending a match against Orient in 1990. I was only seven at the time, but I’m sure it was an evening match, under the floodlights, and Neil Woods scored. It finished 2-2 but we were never in front (sounds familiar this season, right?). Without being able to be certain, I’ve always regarded this match to be my first ever Town game, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen us play Orient since. Well, that’s going to change tomorrow. Let us know on Twitter which team you saw Town play in your first game, and whether you’ve seen us play them since.

Forget the Grimsby Reaper – does anyone know how we tend to fare against teams that have just appointed a new manager? Tomorrow will be Carl Fletcher’s first game in charge of Orient, and that makes me a little bit nervous – a bit like when you know you’re getting a shit referee.

But let’s think positively. Actually, since he’s been in Town, let’s allow a bit of Hegativity into our lives! Nick Hegarty represents the people who might not have the natural talent others appear to be born with, but who can achieve a certain level of success if they just try. I actually thought Hegarty had some natural talent, and I know Brian Stein – although probably not fondly remembered by many here given his association with the Newell regime – thought very highly of him. Like Danny North, Hegarty attracted attention from other clubs at his peak, but that was pre-non-League Town; a Town that didn’t want to make a bit of cash and reinvest it in the next North or Hegarty.

Town are infuriatingly inconsistent, but we usually find the back of the net. So, it stands to reason that after a couple of poor results a good one is just around the corner. Enjoy the match and UTM!