“It hasn’t actually got easier. I thought it might, but I still have lots of moments when I think about him.”
It’s been three months since the untimely passing of Leyton Orient manager Justin Edinburgh, and club captain Josh Coulson is still struggling to come to terms with the devastating loss.
He says: “It’s the little things for me. You see pictures of him and start to think about him.
“He was so good with my family, and he’d see them after our matches… that’s what hurts the most for me.”
On the pitch, Orient have had a mixed start to the season since their return to the EFL after being crowned National League champions last season under Edinburgh.
The O’s sit 15th in League Two on eight points having won, drawn and lost twice in their opening six fixtures.
Coulson has vast experience at this level having played for three seasons with Cambridge United in League Two before joining the East London club in 2017.
And while results have been harder to come by than in the National League, Coulson is happy with the O’s progress so far.
“It’s been good, very different from last season and I think we’re so close to being really good,” he says.
“We’ve experienced so many emotions on the pitch already as well – we’ve had comeback wins and losses, so it’s been frustrating, and enjoyable in equal measure.
“I think we’ve been punished more easily – little mistakes or moments we switch off are getting pounced on, though I think most of the goals we’ve conceded so far this season we probably would have conceded last year.”
The step up in leagues has also seen a step up in Orient’s training and off-field activities.
“We looked at our analysis of expected goals in a meeting the other day, and that was new for me,” Coulson says.
“It was a really interesting discussion, and showed that we’re going in the right direction.
“It’s easy to be sucked into a ‘we aren’t winning so we aren’t playing well’ mentality, but it highlighted that we just have to be more ruthless in both boxes.
“Expected goals does give you an indication on how close we actually are. Obviously, the fans might not see that and I can understand why they may not see that, but we all want to win as much as them.”
The O’s underwent a backroom shake-up following Edinburgh’s death, with last season’s assistant head coach Ross Embleton taking on the role of interim head coach.
The momentum created by last season’s promotion is still present at the club, and the squad have become galvanized by Edinburgh’s ‘I’m here for the memories’ slogan.
Coulson adds: “The longer it goes on, we as a group just want to really well for the gaffer. Knowing what he would want for us to do, and carrying it out.
“Since Ross has stepped up, I can’t speak highly enough of him – how he’s been with the whole situation.
“He has made me captain, and now all we want to do is be successful for Ross, and doing it in memory of the gaffer. Let’s just hope we can be successful for him.”