Beyond the power of the Almighty?


By James Masters
September 28, 2011
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James Masters

James Masters

It has been a tough week in the sports department at the JC office with a certain Mr Caro still reeling from North London Raiders dismal start to the season.

It probably doesn’t help when you’re subjected to chants of ‘Danny Dire’ or ‘Caro out’ each time you walk in and out although it’s certainly entertaining to watch.

Three defeats and a draw in their opening four games has seen twitter inundated with accusations that Danny may just be the MSFL’s very own version of Steve McClaren and he’s even been spotted taking a very long and hard look at himself in the mirror.

Perhaps his only solace is that however difficult and frustrating his problems are, mine appear to be far worse.

You see, at this time of year it’s quite natural to turn to the Almighty and ask for a helping hand in the months ahead. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no proof whatsoever that G-d can perform the ultimate miracle.

Trace back through the Jewish religion and there are numerous tales of how G-d saved the Jewish people from inflicting plagues on the Egyptians to the parting of the Red Sea. That he does not seem to be able to help Leyton Orient win a football match still rankles with me.

Every year, my Grandpa and I sit around the Rosh Hashanah dinner table and claim how this year will be our year. The ritual is repeated at the Pesach Seder with cries of ‘next year in the Championship’. Each year we’re wrong. This year it might even be too embarrassing to bring up the subject.

The only club in the entire Football League without a win this season (there’s 92 clubs in case you were wondering), Orient have left me questioning my faith. At the tender age of 27, is my belief finally beginning to wane? It’s one of the most horrible realisations when you begin to realise that the love which once shone so brightly in your life is beginning to dim.

The old story goes, according to those present at my birth, that when I was delivered into the world an angel came down and touched me on the head to instil the love of Orient. Whether it was a rogue angel I’m not sure but a blessing it was not. In fact, it has been years of torment, tears and endless jibes from those who cannot fathom why I’d stick with the O’s.

It’s not a new occurrence that Orient have been diabolical in recent weeks. In fact, take away last year’s stunning seventh place finish and holding Arsenal to a draw in the FA Cup and you’ve got years of mediocrity to look back on. But this latest run, which has seen seven defeats and three draws in our opening ten games is particularly grim.

Three points from thirty brings back harrowing memories of 1995 when we were relegated with 26 points and contrived to go two years without winning a single game away from home. If Mr Caro thought he had problems then he can think again. The only similarity he shares with Orient boss Russell Slade is a lack of hair.

The problem for me, who regularly sulked on Saturday nights for my entire childhood and still does on the very odd occasion, is that I’ve somehow become immune to feeling anything. Losing doesn’t seem to bother me anymore and I can’t work out why not.

After all, I was the boy who shlapped all over the country in my youth to watch one of the most mediocre teams in England. From Carlisle to Plymouth, from Torquay to Hartlepool and how could I ever forget the exotic locations of Grimsby, Wrexham and Macclesfield. I’d wear the same pants for each game, keep ridiculous superstitions and even break up with a girlfriend if her presence coincided with a losing run. That I’m still single probably owes much to that come to think of it.

Now, desperate times call for desperate measures. For a non-religious man, I’ve always asked the big man upstairs for a favour or two and hoped he might push three points our way. There’s an apple and pot of honey in it should a miracle occur against Preston on Saturday but I fear even the power of Almighty might quiver in the face of Neil Mellor and co.

Instead, I’ll hold on to the good memories and the moments which keep me holding on for a messianic age of Leyton Orient. Whether we’ll be waiting longer for the messiah or an Orient victory is very much open to question.

Shana Tovah.

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