Ex-Orient ace Mackie gives new skipper Clarke a vote of confidence

Former O’s star believes Nathan will do a good job

John Mackie wore the captain’s armband with pride during his career at Orient.

He was the last skipper to be part of a promotion-winning side, when he helped lead the O’s into League One during the 2005-06 campaign.

Fearsome in the tackle and powerful in the air, Mackie was a real leader on and off the pitch.

He revelled in the role and is convinced that manager Russell Slade has made a wise choice giving new signing Nathan Clarke the armband for the new season.

“It’s an important job and I’m sure the gaffer has made a good choice,” said the former O’s central defender.

“He is an experienced player and the manager would have done his homework and found out all about his character before he signed him.

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“He has done the job before and the manager would have known whether or not he is captain’s material.”

Mackie believes that although Clarke is new to the club it should not make any difference.

“I don’t think it matters too much. It’s not as if he is taking the armband from anyone with Stephen Dawson and Matt Spring no longer there,” said Mackie, who believes the captain’s role is vital.

“I know some captains that lead by example – but I think there is more to it than that,” he said.

“You have got to lead by example, be good enough to always be in the team and talk as well.

“And when things aren’t going well, you have got to be able to take things by the scruff of the neck – it’s not a job for a shrinking violet.

“I remember one game up at Stockport and we were awful in the first half and when we got into the dressing room I hammered everyone before Martin (Ling) and Dean (Smith) came into the dressing room.

“When they did come in they said ‘job done – we’ve got nothing else to say’.

“And we went out there in the second half and put in a much improved performance.”

Mackie, who left the O’s and joined Brentford, where he also took on the captain’s role, still keeps a close watch on how Orient are doing.

“I had some great times at the O’s and leading them to promotion was a great thrill and I hope they have a good season,” he said.

“If you look at the division it would be difficult for them to finish in the top 10, but after that everyone is in the mix.

“I know that some of the supporters are expecting a tough year, but the expectation is lower as they did not have a great season last time around.

“They gave everyone a 10-game start and then after a good run tailed off.

“But considering they had a 20-game season, they did well to finish out of the bottom four.

“There is no reason why they can’t look to finish midway or in the top half.”

Mackie saw the O’s several times last season when he was scouting for Walsall.

“I saw them at Brentford and at Colchester and at home against Stevenage,” he said.

But the defender admitted that there is no substitute for playing.

“I would like to get back into it, but scouting wasn’t really for me,” he reflected.

“It was difficult fitting it in with work, because I would have to find cover for the stall,” added Mackie, who still runs a fruit and veg business.

“You send in your reports and that’s it.

“I would prefer to coach and be involved, because you miss the involvement and the banter with the boys.”

Mackie still keeps in touch with several of the promotion-winning side and looks back with affection at his time with the O’s.

“I still keep in touch with Gary Alexander, Matt Lockwood, Shane Tudor, Jabo (Ibehre), Donny Barnard and Craig Easton and Twitter is good for keeping in touch,” he said.

“We all caught up with each other at last season’s ‘Orient Player of the Year’ awards – it was a great night.

“It was six years since we won promotion – but the banter was still there and that’s what you miss when you are not in the game anymore.”