Jobi McAnuff returns to Leyton Orient
PUBLISHED: 10:30 20 July 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Experienced winger departs Stevenage and moves to Brisbane Road on a free transfer
Leyton Orient have re-signed winger Jobi McAnuff on a free transfer from League Two outfit Stevenage.
The Jamaican international spent two years with O’s during 2014 and 2016, and has now returned to Brisbane Road.
McAnuff, 35, has agreed a one-year deal with Orient and will be keen to show supporters his best form.
He signed for the east London club amid much fanfare having captained Reading in the Championship and Premier League.
But McAnuff’s time in E10 was blighted by off-field issues with the club undoubtedly treating him poorly.
The performances of the winger in his first season with O’s were underwhelming, but he did work under four different managers.
McAnuff scored three times in 38 appearances for Orient in the 2014/15 campaign, yet he couldn’t prevent relegation from League One.
An impressive summer with Jamaica at the Copa America and Gold Cup, led to the Brisbane Road faithful expressing their excitement at seeing the experienced winger under new boss Ian Hendon.
Yet previous chairman Francesco Becchetti wanted McAnuff to leave and the ex-West Ham United midfielder failed to make an appearance for O’s until November.
When he did return, after plenty of hard work by Hendon, his quality was clear to see with a stunning strike against Yeovil Town showing Orient what they had been missing.
McAnuff flourished even more under Kevin Nolan and scored vital winners at Oxford United and Portsmouth in the 2015/16 campaign.
An injury to the Jamaican in April cut short his season and led to O’s failing to make the play-offs.
With no new contract offer on the table, McAnuff departed Brisbane Road after just 57 appearances, having scored six goals.
It was a modest total for a player of his class, but various reasons contributed to his mixed time in east London.
McAnuff joined Stevenage next and despite an up and down start to the 2016/17 season, the winger became a key component in Darren Sarll’s team, as they missed out on the play-offs by three points.
The Hertfordshire club offered the midfielder a new deal, but he has turned it down and now linked up with Orient again.
With a new regime at Brisbane Road and the club having plenty of talented youngsters, the decision to bring McAnuff back appears a wise move for both parties.
The Jamaican demonstrated last season that he can still cut it and will relish the chance to nurture O’s youth, while showing the Orient faithful what he can do at a settled club.
Not everyone will be happy with the move, but I believe this will prove to be a brilliant piece of business by Martin Ling and Steve Davis.