New Leyton Orient head coach Steve Davis ticks a lot of boxes and has tools and experience to succeed at Brisbane Road
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The former Crewe Alexandra manager faces a big job in E10, but on paper it looks the right fit for both him and the east London club
One of Martin Ling’s major decisions as Director of Football at Leyton Orient has been completed and the appointment of Steve Davis as O’s new head coach on paper appears to tick a lot of boxes.
As with any appointment, not everyone will be in agreement, but the generally consensus from the Brisbane Road faithful seems to be a happy one.
In Davis Orient have a manager who has a good reputation with young players, has worked under a Director of Football before and importantly has a point to prove.
The 51-year-old spent just over five years in charge of Crewe Alexandra and did a fine job at Gresty Road.
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Davis was promoted from assistant to manager in November 2011 and immediately tasted success.
The former central defender took the Railwaymen from 18th in the table into the play-offs and held his nerve to triumph at Wembley and seal promotion.
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It was a remarkable achievement for somebody managing in the Football League for the first time in their history.
And although it was five years ago, it is pleasing to know Davis has manoeuvred his way through the play-off system before because maybe not this season, but eventually O’s may need to do that in order to return to League Two.
Davis not only has a Football League promotion on his CV, but glory in a cup which was respected far more at the time than it is now.
The ex-Crewe boss helped the Gresty Road outfit win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2013 after some excellent showings throughout the tournament.
Arguably, the two aforementioned successes make Davis the most successful manager in the Railwaymen’s history when it comes to honours.
It is no secret the latter years of Davis’ reign with the Cheshire club were not as fruitful, but it should not lead to much pessimism from Orient fans.
The former Burnley defender had to regularly sell his best players at Crewe and it must not have been easy for him to constantly rebuild his squad and deal with the disappointment of losing star men.
Various talented footballers were produced at Gresty Road and nurtured impressively by Davis with Nick Powell, Ashley Westwood and Luke Murphy just three, but the list is endless.
With Orient possessing a number of players with raw potential, it is hard not to be excited about how they may develop under somebody used to getting the best out of academy graduates.
It is not only the way Davis develops players which makes this a good appointment on paper, but the fact he has worked under a Director of Football before.
Dario Gradi was Crewe’s Director of Football throughout Davis’ time in charge and the new O’s head coach will have the same set-up at Brisbane Road.
A strong relationship between Ling and the new man in charge of the first-team is key if Orient are to return to the Football League inside the next three years, which is the plan.
Like with any new partnership, it will take time for Ling and Davis to understood how each other works, but the early signs are good.
When O’s appointed a Director of Football, many wondered whether they may go down the route of appointing a head coach with a lack of experience.
But they have arguably appointed the ideal candidate in Davis. He has experienced, but is comfortable working with a Director of Football.
The former Crewe boss is also understood to be keen to play an attractive brand of football and he reiterated this during his first interview with the club.
Another point worth mentioning it that Davis also now has a point to prove due to his sacking in January.
In the current football environment, managers almost need to become immune to be sacked at least once.
And despite Davis achieving great things at Crewe, inside him there is bound to be a desire to do well for himself and his new club, but also to show people how good a manager (head coach) he is.
Now while there are plenty of reasons why this appointment looks smart on paper, the proof in the pudding will only comes when the season starts.
Davis has never managed in the National League before, so the division will be a new one to him, although it isn’t too dissimilar to League Two.
He also failed to win as many games as he would have liked towards the end of his reign at Crewe, which led to his sacking.
This has caused some O’s fans to express slight concern about the appointment of Davis, but everyone needs to give him a chance and with time, I believe he will succeed at Brisbane Road.
He faces a big challenge at Orient with the squad in desperate need of rebuilding, but on paper, this looks a fantastic fit for all involved.