Mooney moves on, but Orient fans will always have a soft spot for him and rightly so!
- Credit: Archant
Why the Irishman has played a big part in the initial recovery of this famous old London club
Leyton Orient confirmed David Mooney’s departure by mutual consent last week on September 6 and no doubt many were sad to see him move on.
The Irishman scored 57 goals for the O’s and played 212 times in all competitions during two stints in east London.
His song ‘walking in a Mooney wonderland’ is known by all fans, but unfortunately over the past 12 months it hasn’t been sang quite enough and that ultimately is why he has been allowed to leave.
Since returning to the club on June 30 2017, the 33-year-old has played 42 times and netted six goals – making 27 starts.
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Mooney would have expected a better return in front of goal and you can understand why Justin Edinburgh said last month the forward was unlikely to figure much this season.
Not only did he have Macauley Bonne in his way, but Josh Koroma and Matt Harrold are fit and in form now plus James Alabi got off the mark at Halifax Town.
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For Mooney to get into the team, O’s would need a serious injury crisis and even then how much of an influence he would have could be debated.
What cannot be argued is the impact the experienced attacker has had off the pitch since he was unveiled as the very first signing of the new ownership.
Mooney’s return to E10 lifted the spirits of supporters even more just over a week after Nigel Travis and Kent Teague had taken over from Francesco Becchetti and his transfer probably helped convince others to join the O’s.
He scored the first goal of the new era in a friendly success at Harlow Town and was fittingly made club captain ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
The season didn’t go to plan for Orient or Mooney, but he did start well and his goals in National League wins over Solihull Moors and Maidstone United ensured goodwill and positivity remained for longer than usual in the dark times during October and November.
When things went wrong for O’s and Davis, the club captain never shirked his responsibilities and his honesty I feel played a part in the overdue turnaround.
Mooney described one of his displays as “terrible” and publicly called on the youngsters to step up during the lengthy winless league run.
He also apologised to the E10 faithful after the home defeat to Gateshead on October 24 for form which he conceded was “horrendous”.
Yes, these are just words, but he didn’t have to front up and speak to the press during the occasions he did and this type of honesty was much-needed when Orient couldn’t buy a league win.
Things did turn around and Mooney was in the team when they did during a special month of December, but Edinburgh slowly phased him out.
Koroma also, eventually, responded positively to comments about whether he was “doing enough” and in a strange twist of fate, it is the form of the academy graduate which pushed Mooney down the pecking order.
There have still been highlights, like the fine late chipped winner at Dover Athletic in the FA Trophy.
Yet off the pitch is where the real contribution has arrived during this second spell with many community appearances wracked up and above all, the way he helped teach this current squad what it means to play for Orient.
The 51 goals he scored in his first four seasons, particularly the 21 in the unforgettable 2013/14 term, ensured Mooney would always been remembered fondly.
But the fact he returned, plus the way he helped integrate so many new faces, and how he has conducted himself over the past year has made sure his name is etched into O’s history a little bit more than most now.
If Orient do return to the Football League any time soon, Mooney can take satisfaction from the fact he played a key role in the initial recovery of this famous old London club.