Cooperman On The Orient

This could be a candidate for the songs about obscure footballers because unless you follow the Orient you might not be familiar with the subject of this post.

Before we get to him a quick wander first…

All of the following is from one source and as you will hear, “Funky” Lol Ross might be Leyton Orient‘s biggest supporter. So much so that he recorded and released songs about them, including one about a particularly successful season and about a striker involved in that season. Have you ever done that ?

There was a time when the Orient dropped down to the old 4th Division but he is the same as all of us, you follow your team through good times and bad.

Things were looking brighter for The O’s with the 1988-89 season. (Nicking this next bit from Wikipedia)
‘Promotion had seemed out of the question for Leyton Orient, when they stood 15th in the league on 1 March 1989 with barely a quarter of the season left to play.’

But after that they went on a run and it was during this run that Lol Ross immediately recorded the following song on a 4 track and sent it to the Leyton Orientear, one of the country’s oldest fanzines. They then released it on flexidisc.

So what happened with the results and where did they end up then ? Haven’t you listened to the song yet ? It’s all explained in there.

If you are too lazy to listen or read I’ll put you out of your misery. They got into the playoff places and after a two-legged final against Wrexham they were promoted – with the help of their striker mentioned in the song, appearing in the animated gif above.

Not only just a mention, “Funky” Lol went to record a tribute to the now legendary (at their club anyway) player Mark Cooper. As he told me:

"Funky" Lol Ross - CoopermanThe unlikely hero of the 88-89 promotion team was Mark Cooper, a lanky striker with long, curly hair who’d once been in Spurs reserves. Cooper turned up towards the end of the season. He split opinion among the fans, but scored the goal that clinched promotion. So I wrote and recorded a song about him, Cooperman (Sooper) Cooperman, just reflecting all that.

Here’s that goal:

And here is the song:

As you know John Peel loved his football and the music and there was no exception to this one. Played the track on his show 24th April 1990.

» “Funky” Lol Ross – Cooperman (John Peel 24th April 1990)

This doesn’t end there though. Again I’ll let him explain:

Fast forward to 2006 and Orient got promoted from the 4th tier again! I used an old song written by my brother, changed the lyrics completely and the structure a bit and came up with ‘It’s Orient’s Time’. That’s very much both an optimistic and pessimistic song and it deliberately ends with a bit of a musical dissonance on the guitars to reflect that.

A postscript as to what “Funky” Lol Ross is doing now – and I’m glad to read that his supporting and singing is continuing:

I still go to Orient and now play mandolin and guitar in a band called Steve White & The Protest Family (protestfamily.com). The original line-up got together over 10 years ago through a shared love of Orient. We don’t generally do football songs, but… we sometimes play a song Steve wrote about Sean Thornton, an incredibly talented ex-Premier League midfielder who wasted his career.

And finally:

More often, we play ‘Brisbane Road’, another song written by Steve. It’s great to play and goes down really well with most football fans – not just Orient fans.

You can listen to and purchase more songs by Steve White & The Protest Family via their Bandcamp page.

Thank you for your music “Funky” Lol, long may it continue.

Dedicating this post to my friend, Erik another Leyton Orient fan as it happens.

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