03 Feb 2015
This article is more than 3 years old

Orient in Europe?

On 12 June 2015, over 200 riders will set off from the Matchroom Stadium, the home of Leyton Orient, and cycle 145 miles to the Amsterdam ArenA, the home of AFC Ajax.

On 12 June 2015, over 200 riders will set off from the Matchroom Stadium, the home of Leyton Orient, and cycle 145 miles to the Amsterdam ArenA, the home of AFC Ajax.

Matt Simpson, a Leyton Orient blogger (@west_stand_o & leytonorientblog.com), reckons it will be a while before the O's make it to Europe (although he's not ruling out sometime in the next 20 years). We reckon the next best option is probably a bike ride with your mates this summer.

This may come as a surprise, but Leyton Orient have never won the Champions League. Never even been in it. Or the Europa League, or the Cup Winners’ Cup, or the Intertoto Cup.

We did once win the Ibiza Cup on a pre-season tour in 2007, but that was largely a result of the opposition turning up for games straight from a big night out at Pacha. 

Great European moment

But we do have a great European moment, and it came earlier this season. It arose because – presumably through some sort of catastrophic administrative error – ex-Napoli, Liverpool and Italy left-back Andrea Dossena had just signed for Leyton Orient.

His first home appearance was in the game against Crewe Alexandra – aka the “el clasico’ of League One. Midway through the first half Dossena – standing on the touchline 45 yards from goal – was the recipient of a lofted pass from the centre circle.

What did Andrea Dossena do?

Chest it down and look up for the next pass like a solid Premier League player? Inadvertently let it spoon off his knee into touch like a solid League One player?

No. What Dossena did was attempt to shoot with a mid-air volleyed scissor kick. Was this a better Orient European moment than when Frenchman Jonathan Tehoue scored a last-minute equaliser against Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup in 2011? No.

Was it better than when Croatian vowel-less wonder Ahmet Brkovic drove Orient to a 3-2 league victory against Lincoln in 2001? No.

Did Dossena’s shot actually go in? No.

A defining moment?

But what Dossena’s moment represented was something that rarely rears its head at Brisbane Road. And that’s hope.

Hope that Orient’s minted new Italian owners are going to be true to their word and drive the club to a higher level.

Hope that Orient fans will soon be watching players of Dossena’s calibre and pedigree every week. Hope that one day – yes – Orient will compete in European competition.

Orient won that game 4-1 against Crewe Alexandra. A new dawn? Erm, not quite. Since then the Os have plummeted to the foot of League One, are in severe danger of relegation and Dossena has mostly been out injured.

But, hey, no one said conquering Europe was easy, and from small acorns do mighty oaks grow. Usually in about 20 years to be fair, but if you want an outside bet for the Champions League final of 2034, you could do worse than backing Leyton Orient.

Want to conquer Europe with the O's before 2034?

Leyton Orient fans can join us from the Brisbane Road end (literally on the starting line) and cycle to Amsterdam with over 200 fans, ex-pros, managers and club employees to help beat prostate cancer.

Tell us you are interested and we'll be back in touch to get you signed up and over the line.

You'll be riding with a trio of international legends including Luther Blissett, Terry Butcher and Matt Holland not to mention PNE manager Simon Grayson and Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray.

So, what the devil are you waiting for? Join the London to Amsterdam Challenge today.