Orientation is the story of a year as a new Leyton Orient fan, escaping the high cost of Premier League football in order to experience an affordable (and usually 3pm Saturday!) match day experience.
I’m sure we can all relate to the feeling that top level football in this country has become disconnected from fans. Ticket prices, concession prices in the ground and inconvenient kick off times due to TV coverage are just the tip of the iceberg. Adam Michie is a Spurs fan, who arrived there via an introduction to football at the Boleyn Ground, but with Premier League prices making a season ticket at White Hart Lane unaffordable he decided to become a Leyton Orient season ticket holder with three friends. What follows is a year of experience the ups and downs of watching live football every Saturday and the kind of form that many Clarets fans will be familiar with!
The book breaks the season down into useful chapters of calendar months, with a table showing Orient’s league position entering the month. Starting poor but slowly getting better (Burnley take note). As the season wears on, not only do the performances on the pitch get better but the author and his companions come to know the club they’ve adopted much better, at times making their Premier League sides’ games a second thought as they spend match day at Brisbane Road.
The book is certainly helped by events during the season as the Olympic Stadium bid fiasco brought Orient into the media eye and the book tells this well from the terrace point of view, complete with tale of the chairman speaking in the supporters club following a game. Beyond the Olympic Stadium there is a cup run that sees Orient force a replay at the Emirates against Arsenal, even though it ends in defeat it shows how the magic of the cup competitions still exist for lower league sides. It also manages to again show the vast gap between League One and the Premier League as the Adam tells of the concourse prices at the ground compared to at Brisbane Road.
It’s not all an easy ride though, as Orient struggle early doors it’s clear Adam does have doubts whether abandoning his White Hart Lane membership for an Orient season ticket was a good idea as Spurs enjoy an exciting journey in the Champions League. On the whole though, it seems Adam not only gets to enjoy affordable league football but he doesn’t particularly miss being a cash cow every now and again while still being a Spurs fan.
It reminds us of all the things we know about football as fans, never leave a game early because everything can happen and that momentum can mean everything in the play-offs, “…they squeeze into the play-offs on the back of a great run and continue that form in the knock-out stages. Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Burnley had all done it from the Championship…” though maybe we don’t need reminding of that last one.
All in all a great read for any fan of football, particularly in these days of commercialisation and Sky Sports.
The book can be found on Amazon in paperback form.