Ben Chorley thanked the Orient supporters for the reception he was given after making his debut for Stevenage against the O’s.

The experienced defender joined the League One side in a surprise deadline day move.

Chorley’s contract was due to expire this summer at Brisbane Road and Stevenage’s lengthier offer of a deal proved crucial in persuading him to move on.

Chorley, who by coincidence lined up against his former team-mates at the weekend, said: “It was a little bit strange but football’s a funny old game.

“I’d like to say thank you to the Leyton Orient fans. They were different class to me and gave me a good ovation before and after the game so I really appreciate that.

“I hope they get a good result against Southend and get to Wembley and we’ll see where it takes them. If they get to Wembley then I will be there to support them and I wish them all the best.

“There was no animosity towards the club at all. I always had a good relationship with the manager. I was his captain for a number of years and I always got on well with the players and all the staff.”

The former Arsenal trainee agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with his new club but admitted it was a difficult decision to end his four-year spell with the O’s.

The 30-year-old said: “It’s always tough when you move clubs because you’ve got friends and people you love there. But it was just a case of them offering me a longer contract than Leyton Orient and it was a chance to join Stevenage who are a club going places. It’s just a new start and beginning but it’s always a tough decision.

“I was always close to all the boys. David Mooney was a real good friend of mine and I was close with a lot of the boys. I will miss everyone. I had a good relationship with everyone and I was there for a number of years but one door shuts and another one opens so that’s where I’m at at the minute.”

Orient manager Russell Slade had nothing but praise for his former stand-in captain but insisted the centre of defence is a position of strength at the club.

Slade said: “That’s business, isn’t it. That’s the nature of football sometimes. He had the opportunity of longevity at Stevenage which we could ill-afford so we wish him all the best. He’s done absolutely fantastic for us and he’s a good club man but he’s moved on now.

“The one thing I will say is we have got a little bit of strength at centre half with Nathan Clarke coming back and Scotty Cuthbert and Mathieu Baudry putting in another solid performance.

“We’ve got Elliot Omozusi who’s played there once or twice for us a year or so back so we have a little cover there. I’m not too worried about the situation and not thinking we need to go out and get a centre half.”