The O’s showed there is clearly life after Ben Chorley’s departure by managing a fine win in Hertfordshire on Saturday.
I thought nothing had surprised me in football anymore – until now.
So, with a flurry of activity on the day that damned transfer window closed, it was somewhat of a shock that ‘Chors’, who had played so well against Swindon as recently as Tuesday night, and had been one of our most consistent performers all season should leave us to make the short journey north.
You can’t knock the player – though – and being the wrong side of 30, it is all about maximising what could be that last big payday.
According to reports, the player’s departure from E10 was amicable and we must thank him for his efforts – despite the undoubted disappointment of seeing one of our best players depart. Perhaps it should also be taken as a compliment to the job Mr Slade is doing, that other clubs should covet our players.
But, I have no sympathy with the shenanigans – or ‘lunacy’ as one of the tabloids reported - involving a Premiership striker in west London on Thursday. The player – you know whom I am referring to - drives down to his hoped-for new employers and then finds himself locked out after reportedly being denied permission by his current bosses to talk about a possible transfer. Surely, he must have been ill-advised by his agents?
Admittedly, some footballers can be likened to ‘pieces of meat’ and when a club doesn’t want you anymore, then you are soon out of the door – contract or not. But, it must grate with the fans who pay good money to see their stars in action and are entitled to demand more for their hard earned pounds – when such footballers behave like spoilt kids when they can’t get the move they crave.
But, if some of the players’ antics can be called into question, then several top-flight clubs have hardly covered themselves in glory with their early FA Cup exits to lower-ranked teams. It was plainly embarrassing to see Liverpool knocked out at Oldham the other weekend, a ‘toothless’ Tottenham putting in a sorry display – with a similarly second-string looking side at Leeds and QPR’s pathetic defeat at home to MK Dons.
The FA Cup is no longer the money spinner it once was and with Premiership survival the be-and-end-all of those sides’ season, then cup competitions – other than the Champions League – are much less of a priority.
One solution would be to give those clubs the choice to opt out at the start of the season and give the teams who really want to compete the chance to have a tilt at some silverware and a day out at Wembley.
If those top-flight clubs do insist on competing, then they should field the same side as they used for their previous league game – barring injuries or suspensions – or face a hefty fine or even a points deduction – or even demotion from their respective division.
Basically, the involvement of too many weakened Premiership clubs has devalued what was once the greatest competition in the world.
The O’s recent FA Cup exit denied us at least one chance of getting to Wembley after a Hull ‘Central League’ side had arguably done its ‘best’ – by fielding up to nine reserves - not to overcome us over two games where we were by far the better side.
But, instead of crumbling and letting their season go south, Mr Slade’s team have now gone on a four-game unbeaten run and must start favourites to see off Southend over two legs in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area final starting tomorrow.
And, if we keep up this good league form, then another possible trip to Wembley might not be beyond the realms of imagination.
Up the O’s,
Keep the faith.