Leyton Orient blog: Two kicks from the championship, two minutes from oblivion
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 June 2017
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O’s fan Keith Crossman discusses his relationship with the Brisbane Road club and the recent disappointing years
This is for my Dad, Mum, family and the regiment of Leyton Orient Supporters. My name is Keith Crossman and I am 62-and-a-half.
I was born in East London, Hackney on 1 August 1954. My mum wanted to name me Cara Mia after the big song at the time, and my dad wanted to name me Tommy after Tommy Johnston or Frank after Frank Neary, two of Leyton Orient’s legends.
It must have been one good party at the christening, because I ended up Keith, how do you work that out?
My Grandad, Dad, Mum, Uncles , Aunties and cousins have always been massive Leyton Orient supporters. I remember being dropped off at my Nans on a Saturday and while we played in the garden at Ainsworth Road, Hackney, the grownups would go and support the fabulous O’s.
It’s funny looking back but I was always dressed in blue but not baby blue it was like a sailor blue, yes you’ve guessed it - Leyton Orient colours. And so I had been injected with the Leyton Orient blood, and forever and ever I would be an O’s fan.
My first game was on 16 March 1963 in the cup against Leicester. We lost 0-1, and my second game in the same season was a league match on 20 April 1963. We drew 1-1 against Blackburn but I will always remember the noise thrill and excitement when we equalised.
During my love affair at Leyton Orient, I have been fortunate to meet many players and friends who I still know now. I was honoured to be a member of the Monday Club which was a club organised for young supporters.
In 1965, I was chosen to be a programme ‘giver outer’ - this was when programmes were included in admission and were given out on entry inside the turnstile. I was given a pass to the ground (which I still have) and asked to be at the ground by 1pm.
I could have floated to the O’s on 26 November 1966 when we beat Lowestoft in the cup 2-1. They were little white square programmes (I still have them), and this was my first official game as a staff member.
Whilst supporting my beloved club, I have had so many memories and emotions. I have cried and I have laughed. I have met friends and I have met people who I will remember forever.
I have been to Wembley, Cardiff, New Wembley and travelled to many parts of the country that I would never have been. There are friends who are no longer with me, but I am proud to say that I was part of their life and they will be with me forever.
When I was young and living in Hackney, times were very hard, but my Mum always said that as a family we might not have a lot but we are a family and we have one another and above all we have respect.
It costs nothing to say please, thank you, and to open a door for someone. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth so listen to more than you say. (Oh and to be honest - I forgot that one!)
I have never written anything like this before (I’ve just learnt how to write an email), but I feel so strongly that the pen is greater than the sword so here is my point.
During the last couple of years my team Leyton Orient, who were founded in 1881, are being dragged into extinction by an Italian owner and his friends who have no care, love or history into my great club.
I will not mention his name or the name of his companions who are not willing to see the evil which is happening. It reminds me of the bully at school, who was bad and nasty but would always have the hangers on. That is until things go wrong. I have been at the O’s on relegation days and promotion days, and I know what I prefer.
All I want to say to the owners is the difference between you and me is that, I do not have your money or power, but I have the memories of my friends and family, some who are not with me anymore but they were loyal, beautiful people.
Those here now put up with me and we love supporting the O’s and our time together on a match day. What laughs we have.
I have the memories imbedded in me of the games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Oxford, Leicester, Fulham and my best ever game, which is always the next one.
I have witnessed so many players that it is almost rude to mention a few but I’m going to anyway: Peter Allen, Peter Kitchen, Lawrie Cunningham, Dean Cox, John Chiedozie, John Jackson, Micky Bullock I could bore you for hours.
I will always be here ever since I got injected by the Leyton Orient jab, unfortunately I cannot say that about you (Francesco Becchetti).
Finally, for some strange reason it was important to write this not only for me but for my Dad, Mum, and family. They taught me to be sincere, have fun, but above all to treat everyone with respect. I think it’s a shame that you never met my Mum and Dad.