Date: 9th January 2006 at 3:11pm
Written by:

When I was younger, much younger perhaps 8 or 9 I would find myself practising writing match reports on my Grandparent’s computer. These match reports would tell of how Orient overcame AC Milan and Ajax whilst always having time to nip back from European adventures to slaughter Southend at Roots Hall. So last night whilst compiling my match report a rather large and smug smile came over my face. It was a rather sentimental moment.

Life is made up of moments, and it is possible to recall moments from one’s life rather than the whole commentary. For me at least, yesterday was one long moment, a point in time where everything else outside of Craven Cottage came to a standstill and all that mattered was what was happening on that piece of grass. For ninety minutes my life was in the hands of an inflated piece of leather and eleven men wearing red. I know that there were 6,000 Orient fans with me, but at times I don’t think I even heard them for I was completely alone,it was almost an out of body experience where I found myself encapsulated with what lay before me.

The second half seemed to go on forever and a day, as if time had stopped upon the very earth that we lived. I have known longer believe me, but yesterday 45 minutes seemed to go on for something like 45 days. Yet with one blow of the whistle so much happened that it is nearly impossible to explain each and every feeling. I can only remember being both physically and mentally exhausted, as if I had played the entire game myself. The whistle signalled such joy, relief, disbelief and jubilant hysteria. It is that moment that will remain etched within my memory for many years to come.

For so many years so many of us have waited for a moment like this. The final whistle at Craven Cottage signalled the end of the game but the beginning of a new found belief that is sweeping across Brisbane Road that perhaps Orient finally are turning into a team that we can be proud of. Perhaps the largest compliment that can be paid to Martin Ling and his side was that this performance didn’t just come out of nowhere, in fact for anyone that has followed the O’s away from home this season they will tell you that it was a continuation of the fantastic away form that has catapulted Orient into 4th position.

The result was indeed remarkable, and the celebrations which saw tears of joy from some O’s fans lasted well into the early hours of Monday morning. I was up early this morning to make sure I got a copy of every single newspaper featuring Orient, because you just never know when the O’s will be the darling of the nation’s watching media. Still, as I write this article I can scarcely believe what has happened and I’m still tingling with excitement.

Yet, I would be lying if I said that I expected Orient to come this far, especially as I stood in the freezing cold at Chesterfield in the first round replay. That result was a fantastic achievement and certainly gave the players the confidence they needed to push on. This win at Fulham must surely signal to the players that if they play to their potential then they can achieve as much as they want to at Orient, starting with promotion to League One.

Finally, the win yesterday possibly showed the world why it is so rewarding to support a ‘lower’ league club. This is where the love is, this is where the real spirit of football lies and not in the clubs that sold their souls to the corporate world. That joy yesterday was not manufactured, that was an illustration of sheer love for the club that we hold in our hearts so dear. Sometimes money can’t buy everything, and yesterday, that feeling of ecstasy was one example of it.

A win against Fulham is a marvellous achievement, but there are larger targets ahead and that starts with winning on Saturday against Northampton. The aim must be to get out of League Two, and perhaps now we can start to believe that we have the team to achieve it. I’ll never forget this moment, and I’ll enjoy it for as long as I possibly can. Enjoy the moment.