O Hell – Crisis At Leyton Orient?


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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11 Responses

  1. Rob Bernard says:

    Don’t let Hearn get away with this. Surely there must be a way that O’s fans can block him and the rest of us can get behind them and offer support?

    Absolutely disgusting. So much for Hearn being a lifelong fan!

  2. Jertzee says:

    It shows what a farce the “fit and proper” test is Hearn would pass the test but still potentially seriously damage Orient.

    Leaving your home without a new one to move into…..as a Wimbledon fan you could say that we have had it slighlty worse than Brighton too…(but I know where you are coming from ;-) )

  3. stripester says:

    This article is spot on. Although the buzz around the club indicates that he could be selling out at any moment. Hearn’s major achievement at Orient is not a footballing one, but building up an ‘asset’ that can be sold on at some time.

  4. Shep says:

    David Beckham for the number 7 shirt!!!

  5. Tolkny says:

    This seems a pretty balanced article.

    It does not help for people to get emotional and angry and blame Barry Hearn whose cash and time have given us League football for the last 14 or so years when there were no alternative offers available at the time the previous Owner’s business ventures collapsed with Civil war in Africa.

    Presumably in those intervening years no one has come available to make what Barry Hearn considers a fair offer. It is reasonable he should get his money back and also do fair business out of his time at Orient.

    Maybe the latest prospect of a sale to a group connected with local lad David Beckham will be viable, but I do not want to see any big spenders throwing money at the club making huge losses, only for it all to come tumbling down when they move on. What I hope for is a fair owner who will aim to run a club that can be financially viable by it’s own trading which sadly, despite great efforts, Matchroom have not achieved but they are to be thanked for keeping O’s going, solvent and with no scandals or Administration like too many other clubs.

  6. Jimmy Cass says:

    See link to attached statement from Leyton Orient Fans Trust on this issue:


    The waters have been somewhat muddied by today’s news that Hearn is in discussions with another party to sell the club, but the basic fact is that FC’s that sell the property rights to their grounds usually end up in a financial (and for the fans – emotional) mess.

  7. Christopher says:

    Lets be grateful that Mr. Hearn has been at the healm for the last 14 or so years, as there were not too many other parties seriously stepping forward to take over from Tony Wood.
    On a general note I am wondering what the writers qualifications are to comment on property values for football grounds in the east end of london. He states it to be cheap at £6Million. He seems to have forgotten that all four corners of the ground have already been developed.
    Finally, I am a Leyton Orient supporter and lets be realistic we are never going to be a Premiership side and the 9500 capacity at the Matchroom will do us for a long time yet.

  8. Mark Waters says:

    The bottom line here is that Orient will be left needing a new ground, and £2.6M doesn’t even come close to the amount needed for that. In ten years time, the rent could be upped to an amount the club could not possible afford. Even if you give Hearn the benefit of the doubt and say that he does not intend this, no-one can know who will be in control of Matchroom in 2019, and what their priorities might be.

    The ground, now that Orient have what is effectively a permanent lease on it, is the one asset that might secure the future of the club, even if it is eventually sold to finance a move. With that gone, the cash received will dwindle away and the club will end up with yet more debts, secured against nothing.

  9. admin says:

    First of all, let me take a moment to thank you all for contributing to the comments on this post.

    Christopher: Orient have something very valuable. Their own home, security for the future, a base of operations. I don’t believe that you can put a value on it above and beyond something comparatively intangible like “the cost of a new stadium which is better than the one we have now, is in a location that is convenient for all of our supporters and takes us forward as a club”.

    If, however, you want a cold, hard statistic that throws the £6m figure into perspective, then I can give you one. When Sam Hammam sold the Plough Lane site that was the home of Wimbledon Football Club in 1998, he received £8m for it. Just to clarify – that’s one-third more than Brisbane Road is valued at now, and this was eleven years ago. Even allowing for the recent fall in property values and the fact that the four corners of the stadium have already been developed, the figure of £6m seems like a surprisingly low one. Also, of course, this is being generous and not even taking into account the fact that your club will only see £2.4m of this money.

  10. Terry says:

    Cambridge United have gone down that route, the £2M was soon eaten up, and we have to pay £200k a year rent, which is due for review this year.
    The buyer was a director who was doing it “for the good of the club”, and said the club could buy the ground back when it had the money. An offer of £4M was supposedly made and rejected!
    The only good point is we have a 50 year lease.

    Orient should do whatever they can to keep ownership of their ground, and only seel when they have somewhere else to go.


  11. Christopher says:

    Thank you for your comments. Comparing Plough Lane to Brisbane Road is like comparing chalk with cheese or Kaka with a conference player. We should also remember that prior to Mr. Hearns involvement we did not own the ground. Mr. Hearn purchased the ground however you like to look at it and developed it to its current form.
    Now he is obviously extracting himself from the club he is realising his investment. Thats life, benefactors that may have supported football clubs in the 1970’s and 1980’s but are now long gone its purely business. Some will survive and some will not. Now doesn’t the Winston/Harding era at the club look appealing for once!!

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