Relegation was horrible, but Michael Clark’s looking forward to helping Leyton Orient recover next season

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark knocks the ball forward against Crewe Alexandra (pic: Simon O'C

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark knocks the ball forward against Crewe Alexandra (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Teenage defender discusses O’s future, his new professional deal and what it felt like to suffer relegation on April 22

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark gets above Cambridge United forward Uche Ikpeazu to head clear

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark gets above Cambridge United forward Uche Ikpeazu to head clear (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark is looking forward to next season and is keen to help the Brisbane Road club move forward after a baptism of fire in recent months.

The 19-year-old was a regular for O’s during the final weeks of the 2016/17 campaign, but couldn’t prevent relegation to the National League.

A 3-0 defeat at Crewe Alexandra on April 22 confirmed Orient would be a non-league club next season and their teenage centre back admitted it was hard to take.

“It was a horrible day and the changing room after was not a nice place to be, but after that everyone picked themselves up,” said Clark.


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“We got the season over and done with and I am hoping now we can start from scratch this year and begin to move forward again.”

At the moment Clark is part of a small and inexperienced O’s squad with the future uncertain for the east London club.

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Chairman Francesco Becchetti met with two potential buyers last week, but no further news has come out about how either meeting went.

For Clark, he knows, regardless of what occurs this summer, he and the rest of the squad just need to concentrate on the football.

Amid all the disappointment of last season, a number of youngsters got an opportunity and it was a rare positive for the fans.

Clark was one of many to show his ability and coped well with the challenge of playing League Two football regularly.

“We will be concentrating on just the football next season anyway because other things are out of our control,” said the Orient academy graduate.

“It would be nice for everything to be sorted, but I am really looking forward to going back and playing games in non-league football again.”

Orient have still not officially announced that Clark has agreed a professional deal, but the defender will be at the club next season.

The former East Thurrock United loanee put pen to paper on a one-year contract back in March mainly thanks to ex-boss Danny Webb.

Webb, before his departure on March 30, spoke strongly about the need to put plans in place for the future.

And it is understood the 33-year-old did just that by arranging a pro deal for O’s former youth-team captain.

Clark added: “It was an easy decision to accept the professional deal. I actually accepted it in March, but they couldn’t announce it for some reason.

“At the time things weren’t as bad with Danny here, but I had nothing else in my mind. I signed it straight away.”

Orient’s talented youth should give supporters plenty of reason to be optimistic going forward, but that will only be the case if Becchetti sells the club soon.

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