Friday, 11 February 2011

What about Orient?

House of dreams or nightmares?
While the vast majority of media coverage concerning the Olympic Stadium bid in East London revolved around "will it be West Ham or will it be Spurs?" (it was, to no-one's great surprise, the Hammers), the real rub is going to be felt by Leyton Orient - who I go to see with friends when I am in the London area, and not otherwise occupied with Dumbarton. They are just down the road from the news stadium, and their supporter and financial base could be hit very badly indeed.

Matt Porter, chief executive of the Os, reacted quickly after the announcement earlier today, which I was watching on Sky Sports News. He declared: “We now have to consider whether our future is viable at Brisbane Road so close to a substantially larger club. What we will do is assess the position, but our lawyers believe we have a very good case for a judicial review. However, we aren’t going to rush into anything. We made our position very clear that the decision to give it to West Ham or Tottenham would not have been satisfactory. We weren’t surprised by the decision. But there’s no point being disappointed, it’s the reality for us now so we have to deal with it.”

Some of the background is sketched by Dave Hill on his Guardian sportblog. (There's also a great YouTube link to a historic clip of Orient's 3-2 win over Chelsea in the 1972 FA Cup). A couple of days ago he wrote: What's going to happen next? O's chairman Barry Hearn is pondering his own options for moving grounds. He recently told the BBC that he'd be interested in moving the club to the Olympic hockey stadium if it become available. Tom Davies of the Leyton Orient Fans Trust reported on notions of migrating Orient towards Essex which would, after all, only be following in the tracks of many of its supporters. Hearn is also casting a litigious eye over the football authorities' rule books. The club recently issued a statement claiming that both the Premier League and the Football League would be in breach of their own regulations if they sanctioned the move of another club to the Olympic bowl."

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