Orientation.. unrelated to Forest, but might resonate with our fans..

This is a bit of an odd book for me to post a review for – it’s written by a Tottenham Hotspur fan who, disillusioned with life following a top flight team, decided along with similarly-minded mates to become a season ticket holder at Leyton Orient, and adopt the O’s as his team.

I was going to read it during the International break but got sucked in from a curious look and got through it much quicker than I anticipated – which in itself is probably a certain type of endorsement for it!

Of course there’s parallels with us – I too find the the Premier League a rather bleak place of a over-commercialisation, anti-competitiveness and something that divorces football from the traditional place it held at the heart of communities.  Of course, for Forest fans we have managed to undertake a similar journey from pinnacle to lower leagues without ever having to change our team, which is one of the reasons this piqued my interest.

Author Adam basically charts us through the season, interspersed with snippets of life outside football (and how football can clash with it when you’re committed to a cause) in quite an interesting manner.  As a seasoned fan of a non-top-flight team it was surprising at how many surprises he found on his trips to Brisbane Road, how often there are similar – nay – higher levels of obsession around transfer deadline days etc.

Quite a warming tale – his epilogue suggests that he’s continued his commitment to Orient, indeed, during the course of the season even bought his first house in the area.  There’s a bit too much continuing to focus on Spurs for my tastes, but the catalyst for what drove his project really resonates with me, and as we find ourselves at the beginning of a new ambitious era for the club it does provoke thoughts.

Now I don’t expect promotion this season, but it’s certainly something that will be on the agenda in the Forest boardroom over the next few years.  Indeed, the very mission statement I stated when setting up this blog was that I wanted to chart our return to from obscurity.  Admittedly the level of obscurity I was thinking about at the time was League One, but ultimately surely as football fans we should want promotion right to the top flight?

It would be silly to suggest anything else – and I’d love it, in so many ways – but then you enter a league where survival is lauded as an achievement, where to compete a side must spend ridiculous amounts of money, where fans are priced out of being able to afford to support their team and where players are shielded and separated from the community that is supposed to be the principal supporter of them, not Sky Television or other sponsors.

There is something a little troubling in trying to square away a desperate wish to see us back amongst the top flight whilst wholly disapproving of what a frankly over-commercialised and corrupt system it has become – and Adam Michie perhaps inadvertently tapped into things I often ponder in his journey from armchair Spurs fan to active Orient fan.  It was a good read though, if you think similar random thoughts to me then I think you’ll enjoy it.

To find out more and buy then there’s a link here.

14 Responses

  1. I have a similar feeling too. Of course I want to see Forest back in the Premier League but at the same time I absolutely love watching Championship football and would miss it if (when) one day we get promoted.

    Going to check the book out, cheers for the letting me know about it..

  2. You make some valid points, indeed I agree with many especially the over-commercialisation of the Premiership. However I take comfort from the presence of teams such as Stoke, Norwich, Swansea, Wigan & Reading who are of modest means and of similar stature to Forest.
    Yo-yo teams like West Brom must be happy enough picking up thier biennial parachute payments.
    There is certainly an increasing elitism around the Premiership and many of the big clubs’ so-called fans are depressingly fickle – following a team only because of its big name. That situation thankfully doesn’t pervade the lower leagues.
    As for switching allegaince from Spurs or rather your “own” team, I can’t understand that. Work has taken me all over the UK & some of Europe for years at a time but never has my support for Forest wavered in over 50 years of elation and depression.
    Nevertheless, I appreciate your book review and it adds to the image of TTSBU !

    By the way, where did you get the blog title from ?

    • I suppose the problem is you’ll never a see a Stoke win the league…

      Perhaps I didn’t make it clear but author Adam continues to consider himself a Spurs fan, but has been priced out of following them properly, so has adopted Orient as a kind of (very strong) second team…

  3. I live in St Albans (Herts) and have adopted St Albans City as my second team. I’m going to see them tonight away in Hitchin.

  4. That’s why I come here. Great perspective and a little thinking outside the Red box. . Very interesting……thanks

  5. That’s decided then. When we’re all fed up of watching Forest cruise to yet another Premier league title (yawn!), we’re all off Field Mill instead!

  6. Is Lewis McGugan mentioned in the book?

  7. I became a Forest fan because at the time, they were big. Now I’m stuck with their bad love. I like watching Prem football but money side of it is totally vulgar. Forest, nor any team will ever win a Prem title without a €500m – €1bn injection. Do you want to win or buy the title. Do Man City fans really think they won it by singing loudly? Sad.

    • Be fair redbrowne. Its not Man City’s fault that some people have come in and spazzed loads of cash on their club. You can’t begrudge the fans either, they know about shit times just as much as us. Do you really believe that fans win the season for you at any club? Most Man City fans I’ve spoke to are very aware of why they are in the position they are in. Can’t they enjoy? After all Chelsea, Real Madrid and to a lesser extent Man Utd and Tottenham to name a few do. (These two have spent loads over the last 5 years but nobody gives them a hard time.)

      I do agree that the money in the prem is ludicrous. Just when there was a chance to bring some equilibrium between the top 4-5 teams and the rest of the league they go and throw nearly 2bn more into the mixer when they should of reduced it. This would of made teams think about their wage/transfer budgets more allowing talent to be spread across the league more evenly.

      With each passing year the EPL is heading more and more into the arena of franchised sport like the American model. The only reason for this is because of the money and how the big clubs can keep the biggest share of the pot. Competition and glory are secondary. Its why the FA Cup has been devalued so much and why the European competitions have so many ludicrous phases before you get to the knockout stages.

      But when I see Norwich, Wigan, Swansea, Reading, jesus even Wigan playing attractive football and win it still gives me a little glimmer of hope that Forest can do something a bit more than just make up the numbers.

      • Cheers AD_BC, I was just using Man City as an example. Chelsea are very similar. LFC, Man Utd and Arsenal have generated their own money more. I was quite pleased to see City win the title and do not begrudge their fans at all. Someone new to share the spoils.
        When Forest won it, it was through the minds of two genii(had to look that one up). I’m not sure where they got the money to buy players. In the last 40 yrs, Derby, Aston Villa, Everton and Leeds are the only non-top 4/5 clubs to have won it since…through great management (Blackburn bought it).
        To win it again we would need to develop a similar false economic situation at Forest which would be totally unsustainable if our new owner get bored and decide to go off and play baseball. Some part of me feels that the top 6 clubs in each european league should leave their leagues(with their ridiculous wages) and set up a grande euro league and leave domestic football for the football lovers. Then at least your average club(like ours) would have a fair pop at the title, without being bought and having to buy it.
        There is just too much of an imbalance in the Prem. 4/5 clubs and the also rans. Championship is more interesting at the mo…in my own view, and even though Forest have bought and borrowed quite a few so far, they are not flashing the cash but being very prudent, and playing some great stuff. It’ll be interesting to see how are owner handle the next step up. Hopefully they will steer clear of QPR’s method…resulting in a mess.

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