We are in the process of buying a house, which has introduced me to the concept of gazumping. As I understand it, it’s like when you’re feeling well chuffed at the top of the table, and then Doncaster scores a second half goal against you, and the next thing you know, Stevenage has pipped you for first place.
So yes, Leyton Orient’s once iron-clad grip atop League Two has now rusted away, after a loss to Newport Town and a draw against Doncaster, and the now ignominiously second placed O’s face a very tough test this Saturday against Northampton Town, who are third.
Northampton, according to Google Maps, isn’t really all that far north, unless you’re comparing it to, say, Southampton, which is indeed in the south. But who are we to talk, since Leyton Orient sounds like a football club from colonial Hong Kong.
(I went to a university in the States called Northwestern, which at the time it was founded in Chicago was in the northwest of the US, before Americans expanded out in search of California’s gold and warm beaches, but the university couldn’t be arsed to change all of its signage and letterheads, so my diploma still reads Northwestern. As such, I have empathy for Northampton of the Midlands.)
Anyway, at just 60 miles from London, Northampton are bringing droves of denizens to Brisbane Road for the clash, having sold out their allotment, and Leyton Orient aren’t giving them any more tickets, not even the obstructed view ones.
The Cobblers (so-named because of the town’s foot fetish tradition of shoemaking) are one of the pre-season favourites for promotion to League One, as identified by Orient manager Richie Wellens himself, so this won’t be any cakewalk.
Still, like the O’s, Northampton Town are coming off a rough patch, having suffered two consecutive losses to Walsall and Salford.
Of course, when you’re having a bit of down luck yourself, best to focus on your own play and not obsess over your opponent. Any bad run of form is always cause for alarmism, but it’s been extra frustrating for O’s supporters because, well, the team actually hasn’t been playing all that poorly.
As an extra challenge, Leyton Orient could be without Idris El-Mizouni and George Moncur following the injuries they picked up against Doncaster.
For some reason, Richie Wellens hasn’t asked me for advice, but I have some ideas for getting the O’s back to their winning ways.
- Get the lads to score more worldies. Everybody loves worldies. They get people excited, people tweet about them, and they count as goals. Paul Smyth had a worldie against Doncaster, and the whole world was like, that’s great!
2. If the team aren’t going to score any worldies, regular goals will do.
3. If the pressure from supporters gets too intense, take a page from Liz Truss’ playbook and sack Matt Harrold. That’ll keep the backbenchers at bay.
4. Consider doing a cross-promotion with Dyson, where the North and South stands get free high powered fans to turn on and blow the ball away whenever the opposition gets near the goal.
5. Have a pair of glasses pitchside so that you can hand them to the referee to help him see the fouls against the O’s.
6. Get Lawrence Vigouroux to stop giving up penalties. If he’s going to foul a guy, do it outside the box. On second thought, a goalkeeper shouldn’t really be outside the box. Ok fine, give up the penalty if he has to, but go back to making the saves that he did earlier this season.
7. Umm, just score some goals.
Football is really such a simple game.