Gershon Portnoi, Deputy Editor of talkSPORT magazine, on the excitement of a relegation battle ....


I've often wondered what's more enjoyable - chasing promotion or fighting relegation?

Stay with me for a minute, I haven't lost the plot just yet ...

Clearly, an exciting promotion campaign brings with it all the drama, tension and excitement that football can offer and, if successful, will provide any fan with the ultimate feeling of euphoria.

But, a fascinating struggle for survival can provide all those things and more.

Think about it from the point of view of your mindset.

If you're a fan of a club which has looked doomed for most of the season but then suddenly makes a dramatic recovery and stays up, you look upon it as a massive bonus.

Your celebration would be as insane as the way you'd cheer a stoppage-time equaliser, only magnified.

However, if you support a club which has been chasing promotion, you're consumed by nerves every game at the tantalising possibility of the prize that's almost within reach.

And if it finally does happen, you celebrate - but almost out of relief that your team didn't cock it up!

As a Leyton Orient fan, there are two recent seasons that sum this up perfectly.

Back in 2005/06, the O's finally managed to escape from Coca-Cola League 2 after 11 years of failed attempts.

They were always near the top of the table and as the season wore on, the tension became unbearable as they eked out a series of 1-0 home wins.

It all culminated in my most memorable day as an Orient fan as we went to Oxford on the last day needing a win to go up - but also having the possibility of going up provided we equalled promotion
rivals Grimsby's result.

As any football fan will tell you, their club never does things the easy way and Orient are no exception.

The score was 2-2 with seconds remaining and Grimsby were beating Northampton but, in the blink of an eye, the Cobblers equalised at Blundell Park and Lee Steele gave Orient the lead at the Kassam Stadium.

Yes, the celebrations were immense, But there was far more relief on my part that the club had finally gone up - after two defeats in Play-Offs Finals - and not suffered another near miss!

The following season saw the O's rooted to the bottom of the League 1 table and written off by every Tom, Dick and Harry as early as December.

But an extraordinary sequence of results including a 3-1 win at Nottingham Forest, a 5-2 demolition of Millwall at The Den, and a 4-0 success at Crewe Alexandra helped us stay up.

These results were so much more enjoyable as they came right out of the blue.

As I write, Orient find themselves struggling again with relegation looming. I've already accepted that we look doomed, but if we do manage to turn it around, I'm sure the celebrations will again be immense.

As good as going up? Probably not, but don't underestimate the power of a relegation scrap...

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