Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum returns to Portsmouth as a different character

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 January 2017

Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum pokes home his first of the game against Crawley Town (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum pokes home his first of the game against Crawley Town (pic: Simon O'Connor).

07958 573219

23-year-old made ‘stupid mistake’ during his loan at Fratton Park, but the costly incident helped him grow up

Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum heads in against Barnet to reduce the deficit at Brisbane Road (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum heads in against Barnet to reduce the deficit at Brisbane Road (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum will return to Portsmouth tomorrow (Saturday) eager to show how far he has come and grown up over the last two years.

It was back on January 24 2015 when the striker received a straight red card for Pompey against Southend United in the second match of his loan spell from West Ham United.

Aged just 21, the youngster reacted angrily towards referee Lee Collins and received an additional four-match ban on top of the three he was already set to serve.

But anybody that knows the O’s forward off the pitch will have seen him mature since arriving at Brisbane Road in the summer of 2015.

McCallum is a hugely popular character at Orient and has been a leader for the club at times this season in League Two.

He said: “The incident was something stupid. I was so eager to impress at Portsmouth because it was a big club and I was on loan.

“I got sent off for something that was very silly and I didn’t think it was a red and all the emotion got to me.

“I ended up doing something stupid and it cost me. I got a seven-game suspension, a big fine and missed a big chunk of the season.

“Obviously I was at a big club and I could have used that loan as a big stepping stone for me, but I’ve learnt a lot since then. I’ve grown up now and it was a mistake that shaped the character I am today.”

The former Dulwich Hamlet forward has matured since the incident, but is the first to admit he still gets frustrated with referees.

McCallum will frequently be seen chatting with the man in the middle and more often that not telling him the last decision he made was wrong.

But the frustration the former Pompey loanee can show at times is his determination to do well for O’s and succeed.

And his mistake at Fratton Park and the anterior cruciate ligament damage he suffered to his knee eight months later has made him appreciate football even more.

“I think referees just hate me for some reason. Every Saturday I try to speak to them, but they don’t give me anything,” laughed McCallum.

“The incident has helped me grow up and the injury made me realise you can’t even take day-to-day training for granted. You have to work hard all the time to become a better player.”

Before damaging his ACL with O’s at Northampton Town, McCallum had scored three goals in nine games at the start of the 2015/16 campaign.

It helped Orient begin the season with five consecutive league victories and saw Jay Simpson get off to a flyer as well.

The duo appeared to strike up an excellent partnership, but unfortunately we won’t see that again at Brisbane Road.

Simpson completed a move to MLS side Philadelphia Union on Monday and it left McCallum with some disappointment.

After returning from injury, the Orient number 10 only started seven games with Simpson and they rarely finished a game together.

“It’s very frustrating because last season Jay and I struck up a good partnership and unfortunately I got injured,” said McCallum.

“Since then we’ve never really got the chance to redevelop that form, but I’ve learnt a lot from playing with him and I wish him all the best in the MLS.”

While Simpson gets ready for life in Philadelphia, McCallum and Orient will be battling at Fratton Park this weekend.

Portsmouth are currently fourth in the table while O’s are at the opposite end and looking over their shoulder in 21st position.

A first away win since November 12 would give Orient a massive boost, but they know it is not going to be easy at Pompey.

Nevertheless, up front they will have somebody ready to hold the ball up and win fouls in order to get some vital points.

McCallum said: “I’d love to go back there, score a few goals and get the winner, but what’s more important is the team getting the victory, being solid and not losing – that’s the main thing.

“I don’t think there is anybody still at Portsmouth from my time. It was a few seasons back and I missed last years match because of injury, but we managed to get the win and hopefully we can do it again.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Latest East London Sports News


Sam Cook returned figures of five for 76 as Somerset were bowled out for 301 before bad light prevented Essex from facing remaining three overs in the days allocation.


Sam Cook collected the only wicket to fall in the morning session as Somerset scored 104 runs to reach lunch on 233 for 5 against Essex in their Bob Willis Trophy clash at Lord’s.


West Ham United fan and budding journalist Kwame Boakye gives his views on the club’s 2-1 defeat to London rivals Arsenal.


Sam Cook returned figures of 2 for 38 whilst there was a wicket apiece for Jamie Porter and Aaron Beard on a rain-affected day when the four stoppages to the inclement weather claimed 46 overs, as Somerset reached the close on 119 for 4 in the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord’s.

Yesterday, 16:15

Jamie Porter claimed his first wicket of the match in a truncated session of play that allowed just 10.5 overs of play in the afternoon session shoehorned in between rain.

Yesterday, 13:13

Sam Cook collected two wickets for Essex in their Bob Willis Trophy shoot-out with Somerset before the West Country outfit responded to reach the lunch interval on 90 for 3.

Yesterday, 10:21

London Lions suffered FIBA Basketball Champions League heartbreak as they missed out on the next stage with a narrow 77-73 defeat to Lithuanian side Neptunas Klaipeda in the first qualifying round.

Yesterday, 10:00

Essex captain Tom Westley believes staging the Bob Willis Trophy final against Somerset on neutral ground, negating the home benefits of Chelmsford and Taunton to the protagonists, will provide the perfect setting to decide the red-ball champions of a truncated season.


For the past six months, employers and employees have been adapting to ways of working from home. The green light has now been given to many people to go back to offices safely. From flexible hours and staggered starting times to deep cleaning, we’re getting ready for new ways of working.

School’s in for summer – and beyond – with health experts agreeing that pupils safely returning to their studies is “positively” the right thing to do. It’s vital for all children’s welfare, not just in terms of students’ future education but also mental and physical well-being, as well as social interaction of classmates.

The NHS Test and Trace system provides protection for family, friends, colleagues and the community, and is here to keep all of us safe and allow us to enjoy summer safely. We take a look at how the system is working and talk to one member of the thousands of team members about her experiences.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Latest from the East London Advertiser