Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Club focus - Leyton Orient

On Saturday we are going to Brisbane Road to watch Leyton Orient v Carlisle United in League 1, so now seems like a good time for the first club focus in a long time.

Orient can chase their history back to a couple of cricket clubs who wanted to play football, namely Glynn Cricket Club in 1881, who later became Eagle Cricket Club in 1886. In 1888 the football team changed its name to Orient at the bequest of a player who worked for the Orient Shipping Line. Their first kit recorded kit was red with a white O on it and was also the kit that they wore when they changed their name to Clapton Orient in 1898.

In 1937 the club moved to Leyton. They were financially hit after the war and needed to raise revenues . In 1946 they set up a fighting fund and changed their name to Leyton Orient. Another change was that after years of having predominately red and white shirts they changed their kits to blue and white.

In 1962 Orient reached the top flight for the first and one of the few times in their history and also recorded their record crowd of nearly 35,000 against near neighbours West Ham. In November 1966 the club decided to revert to the name Orient and plumped for wearing an all red kit again. The 60s was a period when clubs often tinkered with names and colours and many commentator thought it was a gimmick not realising that it was actually a return to their roots.

The club continued to lurch from financial crisis to financial crisis and after flirting with the 3rd division they spent 1970-1982 in Division 2. During this period they also reached the FA Cup final in 1978 losing 3-0 to Arsenal.

By 1985 they had slipped down to the fourth division. They escaped the basement in 1989 after beating Scunthorpe to win the play-offs. In 1995 and on the verge of bankruptcy they slipped back into the lowest tier. In 2006 they were promoted back to the third tier (now called League 1) where we will see them competing on Saturday in the kit below.

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