Leyton Orient fan's view: And so the dream just goes on (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leyton Orient fan's view: Dream season continues for O's after Crewe win
And so the dream just goes on and on. Travelling back to Leyton on the supporter's coach last Saturday there was once again an air of stunned disbelief aboard that seems to have been prevalent around the club all season.
Carlisle were defeated 5-1 on the opening day back in August and the O's then, after just one game, found themselves sitting top of the league. It would not last, so we all thought - we are Leyton Orient after all, and we just don't do 'top of the league'.
Normality would surely soon prevail and we'd be looking over our shoulder trying to find four teams worse than us, to allow us to stay in the division for one more season.
Yet unbelievably here we are, it's mid-January, and look who's still sitting top of the pile.
It goes without saying of course, that the atmosphere on the bus was dampened a little when we heard the distressing news that our near neighbours and close friends in Claret and Blue had lost again to go into the relegation zone of the Premier League, but even the continuing woes of Karren Brady and co could not hide the general feeling of delight amongst us on the M1 southbound.
It's probably fair to say that while the results have still been coming in the past few weeks, our performances have possibly slipped a little from the high standards we set ourselves at the beginning of the season. The general consensus was that the squad needed a bit of freshening up in the January transfer window and it was up to Mr Slade to bring in a few choice signings.
Well, 'in Russell we trust' and we need not have feared as the man with no hair delivered with smart loanees from Stoke, Hull, Norwich and Spurs and then the master stroke, the 18-month signing of Chris Dagnall, released by Barnsley.
It's fair to say that as Orient debuts go there have been worse ones than Dagnall's at Crewe. Two goals to bring us back from a possible defeat and instead lifting us into to a position above Brentford turned out to be more than a good afternoon's work for the new boy.
The performance at Crewe by the O's was the kind of one all promotion winning teams look back on at the end of the season and say how important they were in the general scheme of things. The O's were not at their fluent best yet we stuck in there, were resilient and got our reward in the end.
Every game seems to bring some new Orient achievement at the moment, and Saturday saw us score away for the 18th consecutive away league game thus adding another record to the ever growing collection. We also recorded our tenth success on the road. A remarkable achievement for a club that as I recall went the whole of the nineties without one win away from Brisbane Road in the league.
So what of the remainder of the campaign? There's still 20 games to go, plenty of time for a lot to happen and we are Leyton Orient let us not forget. But the way things stand even if we do not go up automatically we will surely have the safety net of the play-offs, something we would all undoubtedly have taken before that first ball was kicked back in August.
For us not to make the top six now would need a collapse even the England cricket team would not be able to manage, and no matter what happens in it, if we are in the end of season lottery the O's will still have had a wonderful campaign exceeding all expectations.
And who knows, as it stands that bubble is showing no sign of bursting and a top two place is still very much a possibillity. The only bubbles that appear to be bursting at the moment are up the road at the Bolyen Ground.
I'm just hoping that when we come to play them in the Championship 'Eastenders derby' at Upton Park next year messers Gold, Sullivan and Brady don't jack up the prices too much for what will be their cup final against us.
Up the O's.
Martin Strong is author of the book : '60 Great Leyton Orient matches from the Tijuana Taxi era', currently available for £11 from Amazon.
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