Orient - The Matchroom Stadium
The what stadium??? It`s bloody Brisbane Road and always will be. Those fancy dan London types may tart up a name but I know a ground when I see it!! Well I used to know Brisbane Road, then in comes Barry snooker Hearn and not only buys the club he renames the ground too. Not only does he sell part of it off but they build apartments in amongst it too. No not those high rise Del Boy type flats that used to overlook the ground but actually as part of the ground. Gives a whole new meaning to ground sharing I suppose. The ground is undertaking a complete regeneration and I suppose its fair play to Hearn that he`s part of every Londoners 2nd favourite football teams future.
How to get there
From the North - Approaching London you will at some point hit the M25. Use this to get to the M11 (unless you're coming from Cambridge, in which case you'll already be on it) take the southbound carriageway for about 6 miles and take the right fork signposted for the North Circular*. At the bottom of the flyover where the roads merge, move into the left-hand lane and turn left at the roundabout on to the A104. After crossing the cattle grid into the southern fringes of Epping Forest, about 1 mile on at the next roundabout take the right exit - still the A104 (a landmark here is the quaintly-decorated Lamb's Cafe), keeping left as you exit. Half a mile further on, turn left into Leyton Green Road (signposted to Leyton and Stratford), and left again into a short slip-road past the bus garage entrance and left into Leyton High Road - you'll see the Leyton Leisure Lagoon opposite as you wait to make the turn. The ground is a couple of miles on, just off the High Road on the right, with street parking in the surrounding streets - use the floodlights, which are easily visible, to gauge when you are close enough to the ground. Brisbane Road itself and some other adjoining roads are closed to traffic on matchdays.
Going home you may get shunted off round the one-way system (depending on where you parked). To get back on the High Road, take the right turn at the first junction, then left at the next. Then it's the same journey in reverse, except at the bus garage, where you can't use the slip-road but instead turn right at the lights.
For Basil Pool Fans - From within London: obviously your route depends on the starting point, and the A-to-Z is your best bet. But in general, the North Circular will get you to the roundabout where the A104 can be picked up, then follow the directions *above.
Alternate route -At the fork in the M11, take the left lane, which takes you to the large roundabout at Redbridge Tube Station - here you turn right on to the A12. Ignore the first exit which is actually signposted to Leyton, but take the next exit (s/p Stratford). At the top of the ramp, turn right, then right again at the lights. After a quarter mile, turn left by the garage into Oliver Road. The stadium is now about 50 yards on with the away turnstiles at the nearest corner - park in any side-street here or drive past and find a street-parking place.
Fancy traveling by the tube- Leyton Underground Station is on the Central Line, and is about 5 minutes walk from the ground. Turn right outside the station and follow the High Street until you pass Coronation Gardens Recreation Ground, then turn left into Buckingham Road. The away supporters' turnstiles are at this end of the ground in Brisbane Road, which is the first right. For new O's fans, the main stand and North enclosure turnstiles are further along Brisbane Road, followed by the North Terrace. For the West Stand, continue down Buckingham Road and take the next right into Oliver Road. There are turnstiles at either end of the stand.
As mentioned above the ground has undergone major changes over the last couple of years. We`ll be sat in amongst the pillars in one side of the Main Stand. Room for 1000 traveling fans but I`ll expect the Pool numbers to be between 600 -750.
Where to drink
Numerous pubs in the area, I remember just before OO was arrested that we ventured in to one on a night game. A very typical East End looking boozer with black + white quarry tiles outside the doors, inside was OO himself and several other Pool fans, we hadn`t a clue how far we were from the ground and we had already parked up however we were met with a blinding light during our pint as they had switched the floodlights on. Funny story but I can`t remember the pubs name. There is the Coach & Horses, only 2minutes from the ground. The Hot House is on the High Road, about 200 yards past the stadium on the left as you come from the Tube. The Oliver Twist is on the corner of Church Road & Oliver Road. Oliver Road runs past the West Stand at the back of the ground - the OT is about 100 yards further on coming from the direction of Leyton Station. Slightly further a field on Leyton High Rd is the 3 Blackbirds pub.
Plod & Stewards
God Bless the good ship - 'Met Old Bill` and all that sail in her. London police are a law unto themselves. Be prepared for the usual intimidation and no questions asked good old fashioned policing. Stewards - it`s been a while since I went to the O`s but with the met in tow anything`s possible.
Fear Factor rating - 3.
Orient have always had a soft spot in every cockaneyes heart. Here`s hoping that come next Saturday they haven`t broken ours in our march towards the top.
Onwards + Upwards