It has been a relatively short stay in Non-League football for Leyton Orient – but the club was showered with honours for their achievements at The National Game Awards in association with Buildbase.
The National League champions were also crowned the Red Insure Team of the Year while manager Justin Edinburgh picked up the FieldTurf Manager of the Year gong.
Having slipped into Non-League football for the first time in 112 years back in 2017, The O’s are climbing back into the English Football League after just two seasons and it is an accomplishment that has not gone unnoticed.
Edinburgh was asked to rise out of his chair twice on the day to accept awards but was reluctant to take any credit away from his players for their performances over the course of the campaign.
“I am not silly enough to think that this is all about me, obviously I play a part but so too does everyone else and, most importantly, the supporters,” said the Orient boss.
“They are the heartbeat of this club – they stood by it during very difficult times when they could have turned their backs on us.
“It is a great honour to collect the FieldTurf Manager of the Year prize and I can’t stress enough that this has all been possible because of the team.
“We are now back where we wanted to be and there are a lot of big clubs in the National League who probably feel the same and want to be up in the EFL.
“We have had the added pressure of being the biggest club in the league and, home and away, we were the biggest supported club. We always found that when people came to Leyton Orient it was their cup final.
“Teams are built on trust and relationships and we have some real pros at this club and senior leaders who have set the standards for the young players.
“There are some fantastic young players who have blossomed at this club under the great stewardship of my staff and when you have that blend, there is every chance that you are going to be successful.”
One of the key senior figures that Edinburgh refers to is defender Josh Coulson, who picked up the Mark Harrod Player of the Year award as the top prizes continued to flow towards Brisbane Road.
The 30-year-old, who joined Orient in 2017 after spending ten years with Cambridge United, has marshalled his side from the centre of defence this season, attracting high-levels of admiration from his manager along the way.
“He is a big character and a great leader and one of those players who is a captain without wearing the armband,” said Edinburgh.
“He is excellent in both boxes and has come up with some crucial goals for us this season so he has been a very reliable player for me since my time at the club.
“He was my player of the year too so I am obviously doing something right – it is really well deserved.”
Orient finished 13th last season, making their achievements this season even more impressive, but things could get even better at Brisbane Road with the possibility of a league and cup double still in the offing.
The O’s will face AFC Fylde in the FA Trophy final at Wembley this afternoon, and Edinburgh, who lifted the 1991 FA Cup with Tottenham during his playing days, is hungry for more silverware.
“We want to round off our season in style – we know we are up against tough opponents but we believe that we can win the trophy,” he said.
“To be bringing 23,000 fans to Wembley shows how remarkable the club is and, more importantly, how special the fans are.
“I am hoping we can emulate what Spurs have done this season, to get to the Champions League final is quite incredible, so for me it has been an incredible season all round for both the team I support and the team I manage.”