DEAN’S EXIT IS O’S SO SAD...
TWO years of frustration for Leyton Orient fans came to a head this week when longestserving player Dean Cox was released from his contract 24 hours after the transfer window closed.
The 29-year-old winger originally joined the club in 2010, making more than 200 appearances, but the timing of his departure means he cannot now join an EFL club until the transfer window reopens.
It is a mess that sums up life in E10 of late and former captain Ben Chorley fears there may be some more suffering yet before Orient can think about returning to the good times he enjoyed.
Powerful centre-back Chorley speaks fondly of his threeand-a-half seasons at Brisbane Road, in which time the club enjoyed two seventh-place finishes in League One.
The following campaign they punched above their weight to reach the play-off final, losing on penalties to Rotherham United.
That summer the club was sold by Barry Hearn to Italian billionaire Francesco Becchetti and since then the club has endured a downward spiral of woe.
Relegation to League Two, the continual hiring and firing of managers and a hard-to-fathom transfer policy have Orient fans questioning where the club goes from here.
And Chorley, now playing for National League outfit Bromley, struggles to find any crumbs of comfort to offer.
“I was at the club about three weeks ago, my friend’s son had a trial and I went in to say hello to a few of the staff there,” said the 33-year-old. “In the squad the only player I knew was Coxy.
“It’s a shame because we were an established League One team but now the last stalwart of that era in Dean has gone.
“He must have a very strong reason for leaving, knowing he can’t play until January. For Coxy not to be playing there has to be a valid reason.
“I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but if something like that has come out of the blue the boys in the dressing room are naturally going to be left wondering what’s going on. You can’t go to the manager or to anyone at the top and ask.
“I’ve known (manager) Andy Hessenthaler for 15 years. He is a good guy, a proper football man, but it looks like his hands are tied and it so hard for him.
“There’s people I’ve spoken to in the last few months and they say it is very tough there at the moment.
“As a player you should be picked on whether you are playing well or not, you shouldn’t be asking other questions.”
When you exit Leyton underground station, the first stadium you see is not Orient’s but that of neighbours West Ham United in the Olympic Park.
Their move into Orient’s patch was something former chairman Hearn felt so strongly about he took his, unsuccessful, battle through the courts.
“West Ham are now in that stadium, getting crowds of more than 50,000, giving a few thousand tickets away and that hurts Leyton Orient,” added Chorley. “Barry Hearn was desperate for it not to happen and fought against it. That’s got to mean the club is worth less money if it comes to the owner looking to sell.
“I think Orient could be in League Two for a few years yet and I have to echo the fans, it’s a scary time. It’s a great club, it’s a good area that’s getting even better and players want to play for Leyton Orient, believe me.
“Everything around it is good, but the problem is the owner.”
GONE: Stalwart Dean Cox has left Leyton Orient and, inset, Ben Chorley