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Leyton Orient

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 We always had a soft spot for
Leyton Orient
Claret and blue neighbours
Do come in for an amiable chat
Banter over the garden fence
West Ham and Leyton Orient
Derby by close proximity
But always with plenty
Of time for each other
Sit down please
Make yourself at home
And away
You’re more than welcome
Hospitable hosts
But the Os were never on the
Same page and chapter as
Us
Sadly, although once divisions
Apart, still buddies and allies
Fate and destiny
Just unfairly conspiring
To keep claret and blue
At arms length from each other
The Os red and white
Army from Brisbane Road
Where once you witnessed
Your introduction to the
Beautiful Game
The initiation ceremony
The first day at school
Even now on reflection
You can still hear the
Frantic stamping
The polite and genteel
East End roars
The Brisbane Road
Choirs drifting from
The highest steeple
From the five or six
Thousands
Gently pulsing
There goes the young
And deeply missed
Laurie Cunningham
Lightning fast, lithe
Athleticism in every
Darting, probing run
Even then a breathtaking
Nugget of gold,
The complete article
Bill Roffey,
Derek Possee,
Gerry Queen
Knights in shining armour
Dignity and chivalry
In their blood and
Presentation
But Leyton Orient
Were always beneath
Us, never intentionally
You understand
We longed for equality
With you
But you were never there
And yet for a couple of seasons
At the end of the 1970s
Our paths did cross
Quite romantically
When least expected
Your thoughts turn to
A Boxing Day meeting
Of great minds
Thinking alike
West Ham still haunted
By eight goal thumping
In 1963 by Blackburn
But this was Leyton Orient
Our friendly relations
From around the corner to us
Springing a shock, an unexpected
Bolt from the claret and blue
Taking an astonishing lead
Against the happy Hammers
Upton Park reduced to library
Silence, please
Some of us are trying to read
Then Boxing Day lost all of its
Festive lustre
When John Chiedozie
Or was it Laurie Cunningham?
Barely out of their childhood
Games of footloose exuberance
Sprinted the length of the pitch
Hurtled towards Mervyn Day
Before slotting home the second
Goal and decisive winner
The tectonic plates shifted
Alarmingly at that moment
A red and white revolution
What a cheek, the audacity
Of it all
West Ham against Leyton Orient
Or simply Orient way back then
A local derby perhaps
But never any malice or animosity
Geographical rivals
Perhaps
But never Arsenal against Spurs
Liverpool against Everton
United pitting their wits against
City, Manchester style
Just contrasting fortunes
Never in the same place
As each other or time
But the Hammers were aware
Of your good deeds
And benevolent face
On the rest of the world
In the same neighbourhood
But never quite on
Level playing grounds
Playing your games
Spiced with goodness
Correctness
Even though you were in
The old Second, Third Division
Fourth Division and then
Briefly, thankfully the non- League
Orient, West Ham we salute you
Leyton Orient, hugely respected
And respectable
Our comrades and
Kindred spirits
But Boxing Day 1978
Or it may have been
The year before
Deserving winners, but
It was a shock to our system
We’re just glad you’re here.

18

Notes

This is my poetic homage to Leyton Orient and my team West Ham United.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/leyton-orient/