With Leyton Orient securing promotion back to League One after an eight-year absence on Tuesday night, it felt fitting to illuminate the outstanding success that manager Richie Wellens has instigated since taking over last March. A team plummeting towards the relegation zone, after being in the automatic promotion places just four months prior, Orient were in need of a rejuvenation. The Manchester-born man did just that, steering the O's from a relegation scrap to mid-table in the last two months of the season.
But this season, it being his first full season in charge of the East London side, Wellens had an opportunity to prove his managerial ability, with the full backing of the board and high expectations for the squad.
Overall, the squad is largely similar to last season which only attests Wellens' transformation. The permanent signings of Paul Smyth and Theo Archibald over the summer proved to be hugely influential in the promotion campaign.
If Orient win the title on Saturday, they would have been top for 89% of the season, an astonishing feat, which exemplifies their dominance and consistency.
Promotion was secured in true Orient fashion, with a 2-0 loss to Gillingham not coming anywhere near close to painting the full picture.
Priestfield Stadium suffered a power failure with 12 minutes left in the contest, the Gills already two up. The players went back into the changing rooms but, in the meantime, Swindon secured a 1-0 win against Bradford, meaning Orient were officially promoted. The fans began celebrating in the Kent darkness and, once the players were back out and were told the news, they began their celebrations as well.
It has been an exceptional season orchestrated by Wellens and his staff, and this is no more than they deserve. They have made Brisbane Road a fortress, conceding only ten goals all season. Keeper Lawrence Vigoroux claimed the club record for most clean sheets (23) at Sutton last Saturday, and 15 of them have been at home.
It has not all been plain sailing, but promotion has seemed imminent for weeks now. The hard fought win against Carlisle at the start of the month was a huge step towards promotion. It has not been a season of free scoring for Orient, with Paul Smyth the top goal scorer on 10 goals. But, it has been a season of control, with Wellens exhibiting his managerial class from the touchline, alongside assistants Paul terry and Matt Harold. It has never really looked in doubt.
Kent Teague made another appearance in the away end for the second half against Gillingham, typifying his endless passion for his club.
This feat ends a rollercoaster few years for the club, form relegation to the National League, to nearly going bust, to promotion back to League One. Fans have witnessed it all. But Leyton Orient are finally back where they belong.