Simply Orient - Pre Season Preview
In his blog exclusively for VitalOrient Charlie Long examines the upcoming games for the O's in pre-season.
With the players having already returned to training and getting back to fitness after their summer breaks, this week will be the first opportunity for the players to get match fitness and show Russell Slade why they should be a key part of his plans for the upcoming season. The club will play 6 matches throughout the month of July, starting at Chelmsford City on Monday night and ending with a match against an Arsenal X1 on the 30th July. Here is a closer look at the teams we will be playing:
Chelmsford City (A) Monday 8th July
Chelmsford City kick off the clubs pre-season schedule and currently ply their trade in the blue square south division finishing in 5th position last season and gaining a place in the play-offs but eventually lost to Salisbury over two legs in the play-off semi final. Chelmsford will be looking to go one better next season and gain promotion under new manager, Dean Holdsworth, who was appointed in may to replace previous manager, Glenn Pennyfather, who was released of his contract after 7 years at the club. Holdsworth has wasted little time in building a team he feels can push for promotion, already bringing in 6 players.
Welling United (A) Friday 12th July
Orients second opponents, Welling United, enjoyed a successful 12/13 season, winning the blue square south division on 86 points and are managed by player-coach, Jamie Day. Day has been in charge of the club as player-coach since 2009 and started his playing career at Arsenal. As United prepare for the Blue Square premiership, they have added well to their current squad signing 4 players, including ex Leyton Orient player Loick Pires from Woking.
Tamworth (A) Wednesday 17th July
Tamworth experienced a slightly different 12/13 campaign compared to Orients first two opponents - being caught up in a relegation battle but successfully avoiding the drop by 5 points. The Lambs are managed by Dale Belford, who joined the club in May 2013 and will be seeking to improve on the previous campaign. Belford has decided to go for a fresh approach at the club so far: bringing in 9 new players and 15 players leaving, with ex 0s loanee Peter Till and defender Sam Oji seeking pastures new.
New York Cosmos (H) Wednesday 24th July
The first of Orients two home friendlies will see the club host iconic American club, New York Cosmos. The Cosmos were originally founded in 1971 and in 1975 signed Brazilian legend Pele in a deal which was seen to be one of the biggest transfers of the century which led to the club attracting several other big name players over in the next few years such as Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer. Despite the club bringing in players of such high calibre and reputation, Pele`s retirement in 1977 slowly saw to the decline of the club due to league attendances dropping and media deals being cancelled, leading to the club folding in 1985. However, after seeing many attempts to re launch the club fail, it was in 2009 that the New York Cosmos name and brand was brought by Paul Kemsley and in 2010 it was announced by Pele, who is the honorary president of The Cosmos, that the club would be returning. After several unsuccessful attempts to join the MLS, the club will compete in the North American Soccer league for the 2013 season. The Cosmos have recently signed Spain International Marcos Senna and also have Eric Cantona as director of soccer.
St Albans City (A) Friday 26th July
An Orient X1 will travel to St Albans City for the clubs final away pre season fixture. The Saints play in the Southern league and are managed by both Graham Gold and James Gray. St Albans finished the previous campaign in a comfortable 11th position.
Arsenal X1 (H) Tuesday 30th July
The final pre-season fixture is set to be against an Arsenal X1 mainly consisting of young and fringe players. If the Arsenal team consists mainly of young players as expected, it will give individuals such as Hector Bellerin, Nico Yennaris, Thomas Eisfield and Serge Gnabry, who all played a big part in the next gen series during the 12/13 season, in which they finished 4th place.
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