Duo explain how Edinburgh made O’s winners again
PUBLISHED: 11:02 23 May 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
Joe Widdowson and Jobi McAnuff were incredibly consistent as Leyton Orient won the National League and finished FA Trophy runners-up
Jobi McAnuff has discussed the way Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh drilled into the squad from day one what it takes to become winners.
While O's are basking in the sun after a glorious season where they were crowned winners of the National League, there were dark clouds back in November 2017.
Although optimism had been rife after Nigel Travis and Kent Teague had taken ownership of the club, on the pitch things were going badly wrong again.
Orient were starting to face up to the prospect of back-to-back relegations, but in Edinburgh's first home game in charge they thrashed Sutton United 4-1 and never really looked back.
McAnuff, who was given the captain's armband last summer, said: "When the gaffer came in, we were not in a great position, but he made it clear from the outset we had to find a way to win.
"I think in the early days it was not at any cost and we kind of had an acceptance that if we had played okay, then defeat wasn't the worst thing.
"Whereas when the gaffer came in, straight away he was like 'that's not acceptable, we've got to find a way to win games' and we've built on that.
"We've improved and grown and that culminated in what has been a brilliant season."
Edinburgh's impact is almost immeasurable. He took over when the club were one place above the relegation zone and led them to a respectable 13th-placed finish.
Orient also reached the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, but blew a healthy lead over Gateshead and missed out on the last four.
Given the challenges O's had to face during that debut campaign in non-league football, many were expecting a plethora of changes last summer.
But the head coach had spotted something in the group and made minimal additions and instead backed the squad put together by director of football Martin Ling.
It would prove inspirational and so was the decision to hand the captaincy to McAnuff, who had unfinished business in E10.
Joe Widdowson is one of several to flourish under the head coach and although Orient couldn't end the season with a Wembley win in the FA Trophy final, this is a campaign no one will forget in a hurry.
He said: "One of the many things that the gaffer has instilled since he's come in is that winning mentality.
"Our number of defeats this season is pretty low, so we're not used to losing and it hurts when we lose, especially in a final.
"It's disappointing, but we won the league, which was our main objective and we have to say that it's been a very good season for us."
Edinburgh has been faced with many choices at Brisbane Road and time and time again he has got it right and the O's supporters will forever be indebted to him.
After relegation, everyone was told it was a challenging, long and horrible journey back to League Two.
The National League resembles a graveyard for Football League clubs, but not for Orient anymore thanks to Edinburgh and Co.
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