Where Are They Now? Leyton Orient’s 1978 braces team
by Neil Fissler
GLENN Roeder believes Orient were underdogs all the way through their run to the FA Cup semi-final in 1978.
Orient reached the semi-finals for the first time in their history and had footsteps to follow as they attempted to reach the final as a Second Division side.
Three Division Two sides – Sunderland (1973), Fulham (1975) and Southampton (1976) – had all gone on to play in the final with Sunderland and Southampton pulling off shock victories.
The O’s dumped out Norwich (1-0), Chelsea (2-1) and Middlesbrough (2-1) after replays, as well as Blackburn Rovers (3-1) to make it to the last four.
Peter Kitchen scored seven of their nine goals en route, Joe Mayo getting the other two.
Roeder, once an Arsenal schoolboy, said: “Half of the side had come through the youth system and the other half were good senior players so there was a good blend.
“We were massive underdogs from the third round against Norwich City onwards but Peter Kitchen had an amazing run in the competition and scored lots of goals.
“Momentum built, especially at Brisbane Road, and you get to a situation where it is easier to be the underdogs than the favourites.
“We suddenly had everything to gain and nothing to lose and that was certainly the attitude that we took in the quarter-final replay against Middlesbrough at Brisbane Road.”
The O’s took on Arsenal in the semi-final at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. It proved to be a bridge too far for Orient – the Gunners won 3-0 and Roeder believes the O’s didn’t do themselves justice.
“They had a very good team at the time with some amazing players, including Liam Brady who joined them at the same time as me, so I got to know him well. There were two Malcolm Macdonald shots – one ricocheted off me and went into the corner and the same thing happened to Bill Roffrey.
“Macdonald claimed both goals and I wasn’t arguing. Graham Rix then got the third.
“We always felt that we hadn’t completely done ourselves justice.
“We still probably wouldn’t have beaten them but we could have given them a better game than we did.”
- Bobby Fisher (top left of photo): A defender who was a jobbing actor before qualifying as a sports psychologist. He managed Team GB at the 18th Maccabiah Games and works as a life coach.
- Terry Long: The former Crystal Palace defender moved on to Millwall. He then worked for the Royal British Legion Housing Association. Now lives in retirement in Hampshire.
- Alan Stephenson: A defender who quit Orient’s coaching staff to run a pub in Colchester and then worked for Essex County Council.
- Peter Angell: The first team coach tragically collapsed and died of a heart attack during a training run in July 1979, aged 47.
- Peter Kitchen: A striker who worked for Wimbledon in youth development but then became a leisure centre manager in Sevenoaks, Kent.
- Peter Bennett: A midfielder who lives in west London and has spent many years working as a carpenter. His son Warren is a professional golfer and caddie.
- Nigel Gray: A central defender who is now based in south-west London and has run an office cleaning company in Wimbledon.
- John Jackson: A goalkeeper who has fitted blinds, been a goalkeeping coach, worked for a golf magazine and sold golf equipment before becoming a courier for Lewes Council.
- John Smeulders: The England youth international goalkeeper lives in Wimbourne, Dorset, and has been a delivery driver for Allied bakery in the Bournemouth area for over 20 years.
- Bill Roffey: A defender who is now based in Detling, Kent, and is a project manager for St George PLC after running football camps in the United States.
- Tony Grealish: The Republic of Ireland midfielder, whose nephew is the musician Example, died in April 2013 aged 56 after a battle with cancer after working in the scrap metal industry.
- Allan Glover: The winger now lives in Windsor, Berkshire. He ran two vehicle workshops and has since rebuilt and refreshed horse boxes in Ascot and breeds horses with his wife.
- John Chiedozie: The Nigerian international winger runs a children’s soft play equipment business from his base in the New Forest.
- Peter Allan: A midfielder who qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and started his own practice, Deibel & Allen, which he ran for over 30 years. Is now a consultant solicitor.
- Phil Hoadley: The defender lives near Norwich and has had various jobs in football, including running Norwich’s community scheme. Has also run a community-owned pub.
- Glenn Roeder: A defender who has managed Gillingham, Watford, Newcastle, West Ham and Norwich. Is currently Sheffield Wednesday’s sporting director.
- David Payne: Utility player who went on to coach the Millwall youth team. Then became a policeman before working in Billingsgate Fish Market as a warehouseman until retiring.
- Derek Clarke: A forward who was a builder’s merchant in east London before returning to the midlands where he worked in a factory before becoming a prison officer.
- Tunji Banjo: The Nigerian international midfielder was a bus driver in north London but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent and works as a train driver for London Midland.
- Kevin Godfrey: A striker who was a taxi driver in west London and then went to work for a security company.
- Joe Mayo: A striker who became a hotelier and then a rep for Imperial Tobacco. In 2015 he took part in Channel 4’s Coach Trip.
Tagged FA Cup, League Two, Leyton Orient, LOFC, Orient, Where are they now?