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Credited cast:
Leyton Orient F.C. ...
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Barry Hearn ...
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Terry Howard ...
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John Sitton ...
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Chris Turner ...
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Tony Wood ...
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Documentary | Sport

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October 1995 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Classic football documentary
9 April 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1994, film student Jo Trehearne began making a documentary about her local football club, Leyton Orient. But it soon became obvious that 1994-5 was no ordinary season. Shot roughly on a low budget, her film quickly attained near-legendary status among aficionados of the game.

1994-5 would be one of Orient's worst seasons ever. The team failed to win away from home all season and suffered a run of eight games where they failed to score at all. Finishing bottom of the table, they ended the season with a run of nine straight defeats.

The drama off the pitch was no less compelling. Late chairman Tony Wood's coffee business collapsed due to the war in Rwanda and the club found itself unable to pay the milk bill, with their coach company demanding payment upfront before away trips.

Following an abandoned takeover bid by local businessman Phil Wallace, the club's future was eventually secured by snooker and boxing promoter Barry Hearn. Hearn has since been quoted as saying: "Of all the sports I've been involved in over the years, my failure rate in football is higher than any other." But most of all, the film would make an unwitting star of co-manager John Sitton. Sitton's four-letter verbal tirades against his own players would become the mainstay of "When Managers Go Mad"-type programmes, peaking with the sacking of fans' favourite, midfielder Terry Howard at half-time during a match with Blackpool.

Chris Turner went on to save Hartlepool from the drop to the Conference, but failed to get them promoted. He then took Sheffield Wednesday down to Division 2 (now League 1) and Stockport down into League 2, leaving them rooted to the bottom of it in December 2005.

John Sitton has since worked as a taxi driver, martial arts instructor and now compiles match statistics for results services.


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