A West Ham fan’s opinion on Leyton Orient going to Wembley
Leyton Orient, the East London lower league football club are through to the League One play-off finals at Wembley.
As a West Ham fan who dislikes Orient, I can’t say I am happy with their result against Peterborough tonight which led to this big day.
Perhaps I should explain.
In the past I never really minded Orient too much I grew up going to Upton Park to see the Hammers play, and often heard that when West Ham were away, some supporters would go to Brisbane Road to watch Orient play.
It was something that someone echoed on Twitter earlier too. How, despite being a West Ham fan, they wanted to see Orient win as they were effectively a second team.
But in recent years, Orient’s chairman Barry Hearn has been on a one-way mission to take West Ham through the courts to change the terms of the Hammers move to the Olympic Stadium. This has cost my club time and money, and I hold a grudge against our neighbours for it.
More than that, though, their fans seem to have a real hatred for West Ham, and this stemmed back to before the court cases. It’s a venom that has always confused me. In fact, it’s probably akin to how Tottenham feel when West Ham fans declare them the enemy. Tottenham, of course, hate Arsenal. Arsenal, in case you wonder, hate their own fans, which is why they continue to employ a manager that can’t win a trophy these days.
Back to Orient, who incidentally were award winning back in 2006. A battling performance saw them go through, despite a late goal from Peterborough. I watched the last thirty minutes of the game and have to grudgingly say that they deserved it. They were certainly the better team.
That said, I cracked a smile when I saw their official Twitter account declare the attendance for the night as 8,545. A quick Google search reveals that their ground holds over 9,200.
In other words, they were unable to sell out their ground for what was the biggest game of their season to date.
Of course, when West Ham move a couple of miles from their current stadium into Stratford, it will be the close proximity of the Premier League club that will be the ruin of Orient, according to Orient fans. Not, apparently, their inability to sell tickets.
The game finished 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate. The final whistle saw a pitch invasion by the home fans (hooligans! Ban them!) and they now head to Wembley for the Play-Off final which could see them promoted to the Championship.
I can’t say I know a great deal about the team, but throughout the season I’ve gotten the impression from many that Orient have punched above their weight this year. As a result, they would likely struggle if they went up, though stranger things have happened.
In all honesty, though, as much as I can be quite vocal against them, I really don’t mind Orient on the whole. They seem like an annoying sibling who you fight with and dislike, but also secretly hope they are ok. I won’t be disappointed if they lose at Wembley though. I just won’t be overly upset if they win either.