Lloyd James is still baffled by Kevin Nolan’s demotion at Leyton Orient

Lloyd James celebrates after scoring at York City with then Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan

Lloyd James celebrates after scoring at York City with then Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Ex-Wales under-21 international discusses impact the former West Ham United captain had at Brisbane Road

Lloyd James concedes the last two years at Leyton Orient have been difficult and felt had he been offered a new contract, it would have been a tricky decision as to whether he signed or not.

The 28-year-old learned the news recently that his stay at Brisbane Road would be coming to an end with his current deal expiring this summer on June 30.

He leaves the club after a four-year spell where he enjoyed a vast amount of success – including playing a crucial role when O’s nearly achieved promotion to the Championship during the 2013/14 campaign.

While the midfielder, who completed a move to Exeter City yesterday, is sad to leave E10, he doesn’t agree with some of the decisions made by Orient president Francesco Becchetti recently.


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“I think I would have stayed if a new contract had been offered, but I would have had to weigh it up because there’s no manager so it would have been tough for me to make a decision,” said James.

“The last two years, it’s no secret, have been tough off the field with everything that has gone on with different managers. When Kevin Nolan was appointed everybody at the club was thinking ‘right, we have a good base here’ and not only with the first team.

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“It was the way he was dealing with the youth side as well and it was going back to being a proper football club again. With his win ratio, it was a bit harsh to take the job off him.

“We obviously had a few bad results, but when he was put in charge I thought ‘wow’. It was like he had been here for years.

“It was disappointing when he got his managerial duties taken away from him. For me, without a manager in place, it would have been difficult to make a decision about whether I accepted another contract at the club or not.”

Many are still bemused as to why Nolan was demoted from player-manager to just player after the 3-0 defeat at Barnet on April 9.

The former West Ham United captain is expected to leave as well this summer once a settlement is agreed between all parties and James believes if the club want success, they need to realise it normally occurs with patience.

He added: “I don’t understand the decision to take away Kevin’s managerial duties and I think a lot of people at the club don’t.

“The president owns the football club and makes the decisions, but one thing I would say is I know he wants success. I just think he wants it immediately and it’s tough to get that.

“You only have to look at a team like Portsmouth. Look how long it has taken them and they’ve only just got into the play-offs this year.

“I know the president is hungry for success, like everybody else is at the club, but I think he needs a bit more patience and maybe it would work. It is up to him, it is his football club, but I really do hope he gets success next year.”

Portsmouth is a prime example of how difficult it is to bounce back immediately in League Two.

They were relegated to the fourth tier of English football at the end of the 2012/13 season and have finished 13th, 16th and now 6th this year.

You also look at the clubs who were promoted from League Two this campaign and Northampton Town, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers all had a manager that had been in place for two seasons or more. Stability can bring success and Orient need that.

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