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Embleton insists O’s visit Wembley ‘meaning business’ after past disappointments

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 May 2019

Moses Odubajo celebrates scoring for Leyton Orient in the League One play-off final against Rotherham in 2014 (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Moses Odubajo celebrates scoring for Leyton Orient in the League One play-off final against Rotherham in 2014 (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

We spoke to Ross Embleton for our Redemption pullout to discuss Orient’s recent record at Wembley and what Sunday’s final will mean to him

Leyton Orient manager Justin Edinburgh (left), first-team coach Danny Webb (centre) and assistant Ross Embleton celebrate after winning the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient manager Justin Edinburgh (left), first-team coach Danny Webb (centre) and assistant Ross Embleton celebrate after winning the National League title (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Ross Embleton wants Leyton Orient to right some wrongs at Wembley on Sunday when they take on AFC Fylde in the final of the FA Trophy.

The O's record at the old and new national stadium doesn't make for great reading with play-off final defeats to Rotherham United and Scunthorpe United during the last 20 years.

Embleton is well aware of that after attending both fixtures as a fan and is doubly determined to make sure the supporters enjoy a victory under the arch this time.

"You don't want Wembley to be a negative place and a few people at Boreham Wood told me it is not a nice place to lose after they lost the National League play-off final last season," he said.

"I know our focus is to make sure we make this day a positive experience and a positive result and I think we're capable of doing that. You want to get rid of those type of tags.

"We did this season with the 'TV curse' and it is vital we go there now with the thought process of winning the FA Trophy.

"We need to make sure we go to Wembley meaning business."

Orient assistant Embleton holds fond memories of his recent trips to Brent despite the heartache felt come the full time whistle.

Scunthorpe defeated O's 1-0 in the Third Division play-off final in 1999 and 15 years later it was agony for the Brisbane Road side once more.

Dean Cox is consoled by team-mate Mathieu Baudry after Leyton Orient's penalty shoot-out defeat to Rotherham in the League One play-off final in 2014 (pic: Simon O'Connor).Dean Cox is consoled by team-mate Mathieu Baudry after Leyton Orient's penalty shoot-out defeat to Rotherham in the League One play-off final in 2014 (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Rotherham United fought back from two goals down in the 2014 League One play-off final to force a shoot-out and won on penalties to reach the Championship.

"I remember watching 1999 and Martin (Ling) was involved and we had the three amigos - Simon Clark, Stuart Hicks and Dean Smith in a back three," Embleton added. "That was obviously a disappointing occasion in the end.

"But I remember being amongst huge numbers at Wembley that day. I went with a group of mates and a lot of them didn't follow the Orient, but they came together with me on that day to celebrate a great day.

"We obviously had the more recent play-off final not too long ago too, which we will not go on about because that was a really disappointing moment, but the supporters we had there and the noise we made and the mark we made as a club was incredible."

Embleton knows it will be an emotional moment for him and his family when he walks out at Wembley for the first time.

The life-long O's supporter will realise a dream when the National League winners take on Fylde in the FA Trophy final.

Orient's assistant has watched the club play at the national stadium before, but this time he will be on the touchline.

He admitted: "It will be surreal, like the moment when we won the league. It will be a surreal feeling and emotion to know I am walking out as part of Leyton Orient's coaching staff to help the team play at Wembley.

"It will be unbelievable and when we got over the line against AFC Telford United and in the manner we did, it was an incredible feeling on the way back to know we would be and I would be part of something like this.

Leyton Orient coaches Danny Webb (left) and Ross Embleton celebrate after O's reach Wembley after a 2-1 win at AFC Telford United (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient coaches Danny Webb (left) and Ross Embleton celebrate after O's reach Wembley after a 2-1 win at AFC Telford United (pic: Simon O'Connor).

"Going to Wembley at any level and for any club is an immense achievement and something to be excited about.

"There are not actually that many people in the world who can say they have been to Wembley as a coach or staff member first and foremost, but for me to do it with a club I have followed so closely is magnificent."

Given the relationship the Embleton family have with Orient, plenty of people will be at Wembley for the final.

It will be a special moment for them and it has made the O's coach very busy since the 2-1 win at Telford on March 23.

Around 25,000 fans will be there supporting Justin Edinburgh's team and even more will be in the neutral sections of the stadium.

Embleton, who worked at O's Centre of Excellence and had a brief spell as caretaker in the past, added: "I have been quite strict and aloof with how I sorted out tickets.

"I managed to get my family and close friends to the game and with everybody else, it is a case of big groups of people coming together and doing things I did when I followed the Orient before.

"It will be quite interesting when I first walk out for the warm-up and I know where my family are sitting and I acknowledge that moment.

"But at the same time I know I can look at the Orient area and I will see pockets of people I know experiencing a great day out for us all."

This O's team will now try to right the wrongs of 1999 and 2014 - plus 2001 in Cardiff - and give the supporters a victory to savour at Wembley to conclude one of the most memorable campaigns in the club's history.


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