Edinburgh: This was the fans getting something back for what they have suffered
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The O’s are back in the Football League and boss Justin Edinburgh insists this is just the start for one of London’s oldest professional clubs
Justin Edinburgh hailed his players and the staff at Leyton Orient after the National League title was secured following a goalless draw at home to Braintree Town on Saturday, but reserved special praise for the club’s long-suffering fans.
The O’s were one kick away from the Championship in May 2014, but that summer Francesco Becchetti took over and under his disastrous ownership, the east London outfit found themselves out of the Football League three years later.
It looked a long road back, but Edinburgh - who took over less than 18 months ago - completed part one of the journey this weekend by leading Orient to only their third ever league championship win.
He said: “I think I realised after the final whistle went what it meant to the supporters and after being involved in the celebrations and seeing the jubilation on so many peoples faces.
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“One person come up to me and said he had waited 50 years for this, so that is when it hits home.
“The thank yous from me are endless, but if I could start with my players because they play under an incredible amount of pressure home and away.
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“We are everyone’s cup final and I don’t care what anyone says. Everyone raises their game against us. I won’t mention names, but I have seen results of late where teams play us and put on a show and then after playing us they down tools.
“So the first thank you has to go to the players and then my staff and also the support of Martin Ling, which is crucial because it allows me to spend a lot more time on the training ground.
“I also have to thank the board of directors and chairman and owner because they have hopefully started something special here and then the most important people are the fans.
“I hope this was them getting something back for what they have suffered over the last four-to-five years.”
When Edinburgh took over in November 2017, Orient were firmly involved in a battle to stay in the National League.
Director of football Ling had been heavily criticised for the players he brought in, but most of them have turned things around.
Edinburgh now joins Ling in being one of the few managers to win promotion with the O’s and the head coach hailed the Orient legend who played and managed at Brisbane Road.
“You can’t underestimate the job Martin does. He is crucial for me. He is a great buffer and has great knowledge,” Edinburgh said.
“He was the last man to get this club promoted (2006) so I am in good company there and he has brought some excellent players.
“Over a period of time we have helped them grow and I think what we need to realise now is this has to be just the start. We don’t want to step back or stay where we are. We want to try to continue to move forward.”