O’s make right call with Embleton appointment, but fans must back him
PUBLISHED: 18:30 19 June 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
The former AFC Bournemouth coach has a long affiliation with Leyton Orient and will give everything to continue Justin Edinburgh’s legacy
In the days after Justin Edinburgh's shock death, the focus of some would have turned to what next for Leyton Orient? A horrible thought, but one the club had to eventually face up to and they have in appropriate time.
Since Nigel Travis and Kent Teague took over on June 22 2017, the owners have been open and honest with supporters and the way they have dealt with this tragedy along with other key personnel at Brisbane Road deserves enormous credit.
Edinburgh was commonly associated with the word class and Orient have acted with a great degree of that and dignity this month.
It starts from the top and Travis' video to O's fans ensured they were kept in the loop and earlier today the coaching structure for the immediate future was confirmed.
Director of football Martin Ling was faced with an extremely tricky decision and the job to replace Orient's legendary manager felt impossible, but I think the right people have been tasked with that role.
The bond between Edinburgh, Ross Embleton and Danny Webb was clear to see, not least in the video of the three at the training ground recorded back in October.
And therefore it seems correct to allow the coaches who played a big part in O's title triumph to lead the players and club forward.
While Edinburgh didn't sign many of this squad, this group is his and to bring anyone in from the outside right now would have been wrong.
A new man could have decided to shake things up or could have carried on with the exact same players, but something they couldn't do was to know how everyone at the club truly feels.
Embleton and Webb do. They know the hurt the squad are feeling, they feel it to, they know the pain the board of directors, plus office and coaching staff, are suffering and that's because they have lived the last incredible 18 months with Edinburgh.
Few can claim to have spent so much time with the late head coach since he arrived in east London on November 29 2017 and perhaps the only other person who can is club captain Jobi McAnuff, who will now be a player-coach.
Grieving can take a long time, it doesn't happen overnight and the trio selected by Ling, Travis, Teague and Co can guide Orient through this dark period and they will know better than most the tone of the place and how to move forward.
A lack of experience will be mentioned and interim head coach Embleton, assistant Webb and player-coach McAnuff will admit they don't boast a massive amount of previous when it comes to management, but they have more than some realise.
When Steve Davis was sacked after a disastrous run of form in the National League, O's number two stepped up for three games.
He won't want to think about the 3-0 loss he suffered at Torquay United in a hurry, but the league matches at home to Dover Athletic and Chester show he can be been brave and has tactical nous.
Embleton, who has supported Orient all his life, had to face the division leaders in his first game on November 18 2017 and O's responded with one of their best displays to draw 1-1 despite having a goalkeeper crisis an hour before kick-off.
Days later, fellow strugglers Chester visited and the hosts were facing a painful loss at half time.
The away side were 2-1 up and Orient had 10-men, but the then-interim head coach made a double substitution - bringing on Matt Harrold and Zain Westbrooke - and it changed the game.
O's would have won had they taken their chances in the second half despite playing 45 minutes with a numerical disadvantage.
Admittedly the east Londoners lost at Torquay, but even in this short stint Embleton, who has coached at Spurs, AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City, showed some positive signs and he would have learned a huge amount from Edinburgh since.
Webb also has managerial experience at Orient and who can forget the effect he had on the club during some of O's darkest days.
After Andy Edwards resigned in January 2017, the former under-18 boss was asked to step up and inspired a stunning 3-2 victory at Plymouth Argyle, who would eventually go on and win promotion.
Despite wages being late, an owner's constant interference and a winding up order hanging over O's, Webb managed to bring smiles to the faces of supporters in spite of various defeats along the way.
The 4-0 win at Newport County with a bunch of teenagers though, will go down as one of the club's most famous recent away days.
He galvanised a group of players feeling low and he has a similar job now except this squad has a lot more characters in it.
One of them, captain McAnuff, will be key and he has long shown managerial traits at Brisbane Road.
The former Jamaica international has already completed his UEFA B coaching badges and was set to enrol on the A License this summer.
He had already taken his first steps into coaching and management before the recent unexpected developments in E10 and will be ready to step up and juggle both roles.
McAnuff's leadership qualities will continue to be key and he will support Embleton and Webb brilliantly.
Orient's senior players have work to do too, not least with the young members of the squad, and Harrold will stand up tall in this situation - he was caretaker manager at Crawley Town before.
Dean Brill, Joe Widdowson, Josh Coulson, Craig Clay and new boy Josh Wright will no doubt show why their personalities are often praised during this initial tricky period.
Returning to football will help everyone, but O's will face hurdles and of course the fans will need to support this new coaching team and the squad through them.
Some will not agree with Embleton leading Orient forward, but that needs to now be forgotten and once again togetherness is key.
With everyone pulling in the right direction, Edinburgh helped the club become league champions for the first time since 1970.
Back in League Two, it will be a slightly new experience for everyone at Orient, but if the supporters are all behind Embleton, Webb and McAnuff, it will make the job of carrying on Edinburgh's legacy slightly easier and O's can continue to dream big.
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