Leyton Orient: The Harlow Connection

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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6 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    It would be very sad to see another famous name leave Waltham Forest. WAFC gave up trying to return to their home, let’s not make the mistake of Orient doing the same.

  2. Jimmy Cass says:

    I’m an Orient supporter, and it’s fair to say this is turning out to be an underwhelming season. But I don’t believe for a second this leaked Harlow story to be anything other than a straw man in connection with Hearn’s ongoing negotiations with the Olympic bods for legacy use of the stadium (which is only about a mile from O’s current home).

    If the club has any aspirations above League One, and at the moment League Two looks more the likely immediate destination, it will need a larger stadium to fund the team. The Olympic Stadium, reduced to a capacity of 25,000, can provide that at a cheap cost to Orient. It would also allow Hearn to complete turning Brisbane Rd into a housing estate and recoup some more of his ‘loans’ .

    As you say, staying in the metropolis makes more sense for us. I don’t know too many Arsenal, West Ham or Spurs fans living within walking distance of their grounds either, so “the locals don’t support us” line doesn’t stand up as an argument for moving.

    Hearn has form for this sort of tactic: when he didn’t initially get planning permission for the flats and ground developments at Brisbane Rd he immediately threatened to move the club. Once he got his way, the threat to move disappeared.

    Even if our ground does look like a soulless place these days, Hearn has mainly been good for us. He’s avoided the financial excesses that have caused misery for other smaller clubs, and -despite Ling’s sacking this week -leaves the coaching team to get on with the job & doesn’t interfere with team matters beyond handing over a budget the club can afford.

  3. Matt Kelly says:

    From my office window I look out over Harlow Town’s shiny new ground which they’ve only been in for one or two full seasons. I would imagine that getting planning permission for another football stadium in the town would be nigh on impossible. Getting to Harlow by public transport from elsewhere in Essex is difficult (although it’s not too bad coming from Leyton) and traffic in the town is frequently very heavy. I would imagine that the whole thing is a non starter.

  4. orientdad says:

    My sources in the club are very clear that Harlow and other options are being reviewed. It is a shame that the same effort has not been put into reaching out to the local communities in Leyton. There are approaching 10 000 people employed in the NHS and Local Authority alone in Waltham Forest and yet the club struggles to see the options this provides in potential links; instead putting all its commercial efforts into attracting private sector sponsorships. Likewise the one-off free tickets for local residents needs to be repeated on a regular basis and then we all need to make sure we make new supporters welcome rather than bragging about how long we have already been there for. Most importantly people from the local black communities need to be assured they are coming to a club where the supporters have no truck with racism and they can feel at home.
    On the subject of the ground I must be a dissenting voice in that I see no problem with the flats and think the ground and facilities (excluding the pitch) are in the best state they have been in during my four decade stay.

  1. January 30, 2009

    […] was only last week that we discussed Leyton Orient’s possible mooting of a move from their home at Brisbane Road […]

  2. December 23, 2011

    […] club. Owner Barry Hearn has already floated plans to move the club to out to the concrete plains of Harlow, and this seeming panacea would become ever more enticing in the cold light of a negative balance […]

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