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One year on from O’s being crowned champions after a two-year exile from the EFL

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 April 2020

Justin Edinburgh and his Leyton Orient players celebrate winning the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Justin Edinburgh and his Leyton Orient players celebrate winning the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

It may not have been a thriller, but a year ago Leyton Orient produced an historic moment as they were crowned National League champions.

Jobi McAnuff and Justin Edinburgh tease the Leyton Orient players before lifting the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).Jobi McAnuff and Justin Edinburgh tease the Leyton Orient players before lifting the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).

The O’s ended a two-year exile from the Football League – after 112 years previously spent at that level – despite a 0-0 draw with strugglers Braintree Town on April 27, 2019.

The hosts came closest to securing all three points when Macauley Bonne put the ball into the net from close range, before being ruled out for offside, but it did not matter in the end.

The late Justin Edinburgh’s side only needed a point to secure the title, but title rivals Salford City were beaten 3-2 away at Hartlepool United, and Solihull were held to a draw at Dagenham & Redbridge.

A crowd of 8,241 were in attendance at Brisbane Road and stormed onto the pitch to celebrate with the squad following a great season, with balloons and beach balls spilling onto pitch.

Justin Edinburgh is congratulated by his Leyton Orient players after winning the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).Justin Edinburgh is congratulated by his Leyton Orient players after winning the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).

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It meant so much to the fans who had been used to seeing their side competing in the Football League instead of being classed as a non-league outfit.

Manager Edinburgh after the match said: “I realised today (what it meant to the fans) after the final whistle and being involved in the celebrations and seeing the jubilation on so many people’s faces.

“The players have played under an incredible amount of pressure home and away. We are everyone’s cup final and I don’t care what anyone says but everyone raises their game against us.

Leyton Orient Manager Justin Edinburgh and his team lift the National League Trophy at full time (pic: Mark Kerton/PA Images).Leyton Orient Manager Justin Edinburgh and his team lift the National League Trophy at full time (pic: Mark Kerton/PA Images).

“What we have to realise is that today is a start and we’re not going to step back or stay where we are, we want to try and continue to move forward.”

Orient have not won many league championships – only two in their long history – and the most recent before this was back during the 1969/70 campaign in the Third Division South.

Promotion isn’t even a norm for the club with the last under now director of football Martin Ling in 2006, but that isn’t the main reason why this triumph was so special.

Leyton Orient: Brill, Turley, Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson, Clay, McAnuff (Lee 71), Brophy (Maguire-Drew 88), Koroma (Harrold 84), Bonne. Unused subs: Sargeant and Simpson.


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