LEYTON: Orient 'dead in five years without name change'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Barry Hearn (Courtesy of Action Images) Barry Hearn (Courtesy of Action Images)

LEYTON ORIENT Football Club will die in five years if it does not change its name and move to the Olympic Park, said its chairman yesterday.

Barry Hearn said a controversial name change to London Orient and a ground-share with West Ham at the 80,000-capacity stadium are crucial to the club's survival, and gives the club just half a decade if the "bold" moves do not come off.

The League One club chairman hopes to revive the Os' flagging fanbase by attracting younger fans to games with the name change, and aims to put itself at the heart of the community by giving free season tickets to under-18s in London, students and members of the Armed Forces, and free family season tickets to new residents of Olympic Park housing.

He also wants to move from Brisbane Road Stadium to share the Olympic Park with West Ham, and has tabled a bid for consideration by the London Legacy development Corporation, with a decision expected in less than two weeks.

Mr Hearn said: "We are dead in five years without these changes. It won't be an immediate death, it's by slow torture. Giving ourselves five years we'd be lucky to be playing in the conference [non-league].

"It's an ageing fanbase, the support is diminished. We had Sheffield United on the weekend and there were 4,800 people there."

But the proposed name change proved unpopular with supporters when the Guardian interviewed them after their 1-0 home defeat to Sheffield United on Saturday, October 6.

Orient fanzine editor Sean McNeill, 31, of Geldeston Road, Clapton, said: "It’s not going to happen. It’s totally dependent on us getting the Olympic Stadium, which we’re not going to get.

"Calling ourselves London Orient isn’t going to make people in Kensington come and see us."

Tim Fountaine, 52, of Ellesmere Road, near Mile End, added: "London Orient – it’s a bit pretentious, isn’t it? Orient can’t represent the whole of London."

But Mr Hearn defended the idea, saying it would widen the fanbase to across the capital.

He said: "London Orient will come up first on Google. We have to be serious about rebuilding our fanbase. If our supporters are stuck in tradition I admire them for that, but we have to live in the real world.

"If West Ham get the stadium without us then we're competing with Premiership football down the road."

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Comments (11)

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11:31am Tue 9 Oct 12

Mr Brittas says...

A quick call to Dignitas might bring a quick end to Mr Hearn's suffering rather than a slow and painful 5 year death on these pages as he is not going to move to the Olympic Stadium
A quick call to Dignitas might bring a quick end to Mr Hearn's suffering rather than a slow and painful 5 year death on these pages as he is not going to move to the Olympic Stadium Mr Brittas
  • Score: 0

11:53am Tue 9 Oct 12

mdj says...

Just looking at the logic of the argument rather than the specifics, does Mr Hearn think that other clubs have suffered in a globalised sporting world by being tied in peoples' minds to Manchester, Tottenham, or even West Ham? None of these locations suggest glamour, except for their footballing reputation.
Isn't it the case that the support goes wherever good football is to be found? 'Play It, And They Will Come.'

Could Mr Hearn also make clear how he would stand financially if the Orient ground were to be sold off for development?
Just looking at the logic of the argument rather than the specifics, does Mr Hearn think that other clubs have suffered in a globalised sporting world by being tied in peoples' minds to Manchester, Tottenham, or even West Ham? None of these locations suggest glamour, except for their footballing reputation. Isn't it the case that the support goes wherever good football is to be found? 'Play It, And They Will Come.' Could Mr Hearn also make clear how he would stand financially if the Orient ground were to be sold off for development? mdj
  • Score: 0

12:05pm Tue 9 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

He has spent nothing at the club and taken stripped the assets, built flats on the land and owns the lot and LBWF even gave him a public highway. He has had it all his own way and still wants more. The only reason he wants the Olympic land is to get more for nothing. The man is a baying shark.
He has spent nothing at the club and taken stripped the assets, built flats on the land and owns the lot and LBWF even gave him a public highway. He has had it all his own way and still wants more. The only reason he wants the Olympic land is to get more for nothing. The man is a baying shark. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Tue 9 Oct 12

NDevoto says...

Only a matter of time if they got the Stadium , they would be renamed with a sponsor.
Kentucky Fried Orient , anyone?
Only a matter of time if they got the Stadium , they would be renamed with a sponsor. Kentucky Fried Orient , anyone? NDevoto
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Tue 9 Oct 12

Walthamster says...

NDevoto wrote:
Only a matter of time if they got the Stadium , they would be renamed with a sponsor.
Kentucky Fried Orient , anyone?
Don't even joke about it, it's too possible!
[quote][p][bold]NDevoto[/bold] wrote: Only a matter of time if they got the Stadium , they would be renamed with a sponsor. Kentucky Fried Orient , anyone?[/p][/quote]Don't even joke about it, it's too possible! Walthamster
  • Score: 0

11:57pm Tue 9 Oct 12

mdj says...

Well, Newcastle Utd are now sponsored by Wonga...
Well, Newcastle Utd are now sponsored by Wonga... mdj
  • Score: 0

4:56am Wed 10 Oct 12

Orinut says...

Adapt or Die,
Something has to be done or The Orient will be gone.
As Londons second oldest club that surely gives us some claim to the London moniker.
We've moved around a bit over time due to various circumstances even used Wembley as our Home ground for a short while.
Moving to the Olympic stadium is almost certainly our last chance to progress the club as a professional football club.
New residences give opportunity for regeneration of fan base. as would modified name.Lots of people are being priced out of premier league games as well as being cheesed off with the whole premier league thing.
As we have a real ale revival maybe this could be the start of a real Football campaign for London as a whole.
Up the O's
Tourists coming to London wishing to see a football match would be attracted to seeing one at the Olympic stadium helping to develop an overseas fanbase in the process
Adapt or Die, Something has to be done or The Orient will be gone. As Londons second oldest club that surely gives us some claim to the London moniker. We've moved around a bit over time due to various circumstances even used Wembley as our Home ground for a short while. Moving to the Olympic stadium is almost certainly our last chance to progress the club as a professional football club. New residences give opportunity for regeneration of fan base. as would modified name.Lots of people are being priced out of premier league games as well as being cheesed off with the whole premier league thing. As we have a real ale revival maybe this could be the start of a real Football campaign for London as a whole. Up the O's Tourists coming to London wishing to see a football match would be attracted to seeing one at the Olympic stadium helping to develop an overseas fanbase in the process Orinut
  • Score: 0

8:22am Wed 10 Oct 12

Mr Brittas says...

The attendance figure for last nights game was apparently 1'400. Thats going to fill ten rows of seats in one stand of the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium has to be rented and the income pays the rent, slash ticket prices Mr Hearn will have to inflate them 1000% to break even
The attendance figure for last nights game was apparently 1'400. Thats going to fill ten rows of seats in one stand of the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium has to be rented and the income pays the rent, slash ticket prices Mr Hearn will have to inflate them 1000% to break even Mr Brittas
  • Score: 0

9:13am Wed 10 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

It cost about 50 quid these days for the average family to see this rubbish team kick balls high in the air for 90 minutes and that is without buying a drink or rotten burger.

Hardly worth the money and he has spent nothing on the team. He sold the best players and got rid of many staff.

He is not interested in football just the monies.
It cost about 50 quid these days for the average family to see this rubbish team kick balls high in the air for 90 minutes and that is without buying a drink or rotten burger. Hardly worth the money and he has spent nothing on the team. He sold the best players and got rid of many staff. He is not interested in football just the monies. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Greg Peck says...

Mr Brittas wrote:
The attendance figure for last nights game was apparently 1'400. Thats going to fill ten rows of seats in one stand of the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium has to be rented and the income pays the rent, slash ticket prices Mr Hearn will have to inflate them 1000% to break even
Last night's match was a First Round game in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the least popular competition in England. It will be Orient's lowest gate of the season. It can't be used in any sensible discussion about attendances at Orient.
[quote][p][bold]Mr Brittas[/bold] wrote: The attendance figure for last nights game was apparently 1'400. Thats going to fill ten rows of seats in one stand of the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium has to be rented and the income pays the rent, slash ticket prices Mr Hearn will have to inflate them 1000% to break even[/p][/quote]Last night's match was a First Round game in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the least popular competition in England. It will be Orient's lowest gate of the season. It can't be used in any sensible discussion about attendances at Orient. Greg Peck
  • Score: 0

3:54pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Cornbeefur says...

Greg Peck wrote:
Mr Brittas wrote:
The attendance figure for last nights game was apparently 1'400. Thats going to fill ten rows of seats in one stand of the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium has to be rented and the income pays the rent, slash ticket prices Mr Hearn will have to inflate them 1000% to break even
Last night's match was a First Round game in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the least popular competition in England. It will be Orient's lowest gate of the season. It can't be used in any sensible discussion about attendances at Orient.
I was there, terrible boring football, like watching paint dry.
[quote][p][bold]Greg Peck[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mr Brittas[/bold] wrote: The attendance figure for last nights game was apparently 1'400. Thats going to fill ten rows of seats in one stand of the Olympic Stadium. The Stadium has to be rented and the income pays the rent, slash ticket prices Mr Hearn will have to inflate them 1000% to break even[/p][/quote]Last night's match was a First Round game in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the least popular competition in England. It will be Orient's lowest gate of the season. It can't be used in any sensible discussion about attendances at Orient.[/p][/quote]I was there, terrible boring football, like watching paint dry. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

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