John Mackie delighted to see so many old faces at Leyton Orient’s 10th anniversary promotion dinner
- Credit: Archant
Former captain at Brisbane Road discusses evening, seeing Martin Ling again and supporters reaction
Former Leyton Orient captain John Mackie admitted Sunday’s 10th anniversary dinner to mark their promotion in 2006 was a great night for all involved.
The 39-year-old arranged the evening at Brisbane Road alongside O’s Head of Commercial Steve Dixon and he was thrilled with the amount of people that attended.
And to see the likes of ex-manager Martin Ling present along with Barry Hearn, the east Londoners old chairman, made it extra special.
“It was great and it turned out really well because you don’t ever know what to expect and who will be there. We had a really good crowd with the supporters and seeing all the old faces was really good,” said Mackie.
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“Steve Dixon did a lot of the arrangements with me and I rounded up all the players. I introduced the boys one by one which was fun and we watched highlights of the season which brought back some good memories.
“Barry was there and Martin did a Q and A with Steve. Barry did a speech and praised how successful we were and spoke about his time at the club, selling it and his 19 years which was really fun actually.”
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Mackie had hoped Ling would be at the evening, but wasn’t sure if he would after resigning from Swindon Town last December due to health reasons.
But Orient’s manager from the 2005/06 promotion was present and had his old squad of players laughing throughout the night.
“Obviously we were hoping Martin would turn up and he looked really well and was in great form. The boys were delighted he come and when I introduced him he got a standing ovation from everyone,” revealed Mackie.
“He got up on stage to do the Q and A and spoke about the current season and it was great. I hope he felt the love from everyone there on the night and it can help him somehow in his recovery.”
For many O’s supporters it was a good end to what has been another difficult campaign for the club back in League Two for the first time in 10 years.
After relegation from League One last May, the hope had been for Orient to bounce back at the first time of asking this season.
But they could only finish the campaign in eighth with Mackie adding: “I spoke to a lot of supporters on the night and they were saying thank you for what we done 10 years ago, but also for arranging the dinner.
“It has been a disappointing season and it sounds like they weren’t happy with what went on at the Player of the Year awards night recently so they were also saying a double thank you to us for the promotion and for sorting out the night.”
Sunday’s event also gave the old squad a chance themselves to go back in time and remember events at Oxford United on May 2 2006.
Mackie admitted the nature of football means you don’t get a chance to savour it, but they all realise how great their achievement was now.
“At the time you don’t really appreciate it. You win at Oxford, enjoy it obviously and then you are in League One and you want to do it again,” said Orient’s former skipper.
“You always think it will happen over and over, but it doesn’t. I was fortunate to have two promotions in my career, but it doesn’t come around often.
“It is only years down the line that you appreciate it. A lot of the boys said apart from the day their kids were born, the promotion in 2006 was the best day of their lives and that’s a big statement to make.”
A lot of Orient fans present at Oxford would certainly concur seeing the club get promoted that afternoon was among their best ever days as well.