Hearn set to gauge fans’ opinion over potential move
Orient chairman wants club to be taken seriously
Chairman Barry Hearn is ready to consult the Orient fans after recently expressing an interest in moving to the Olympic Stadium.
The O’s supremo is seeking confirmation from the London Legacy Development Corporation as to whether they will provide an Olympic Stadium fit for football with tiered seating covering the athletics track in order to determine whether or not Orient will have an interest in becoming a tenant.
“If the stadium will deliver a world class football arena that would feel like a home to our fans, then it would be wrong of us not to declare an interest in order to further investigate the situation,” said Hearn.
“I have always said I will not ask our fans to watch football from behind an athletics track, but if that problem is to be removed then we must evaluate all options.
“If we receive confirmation of the seating installation we will commence full dialogue with our supporters to gauge fans’ opinion of a potential move.”
Hearn, who has been fighting a protracted battle to stop West Ham moving close to Brisbane Road, added: “We have maintained from the beginning that a major football club moving into the Olympic Stadium on our doorstep will have an enormously detrimental effect on our revenues, which will see Leyton Orient struggle to stay in business.”
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The outspoken O’s chairman has also called on the Olympic Games legacy makers to start taking Orient seriously after the bidding process for the Olympic Stadium was altered for a third time.
“An independent report confirms the negative effect on our club. To our knowledge none of the Government, Mayor of London or the Premier League have considered in any way Leyton Orient’s sustainability in the future if a major football club moved into the Olympic Stdium.
“The bidding process for the Olympic Stadium has been shambolic and we now embark on a third process with Mayor of London Boris Johnson already quoted as saying that West Ham were ‘almost certainly’ going to be tenants.
“This, in our opinion, compromises the entire process and we will continue the opposition that has resulted in the bid process twice being halted already.
“It would appear that for the third bidding process the goal posts have been moved again by the LLDC, hence our decision to confirm our interest in a tenancy.”
Hearn’s change of position and constant opposition to West Ham’s move has frustrated the Hammers.
“West Ham’s statement which referred to my ‘ever-changing position’ is patronising to say the least,” said Hearn.
“With three bidding processes and the constantly changing requirements from the LLCD it is hardly surprising that my position also changes to meet the new criteria as it evolves.
“I am glad West Ham think we are providing them with a constant source of amusement. We are a small community club with 130 years of history fighting to stay in business and they need to understand that we will continue to challenge any decision that places the future of our Football Club in doubt.
“The decision as to whether we are involved in dialogue over the stadium or not does not rest with West Ham. It is up to the LLDC and ultimately the Mayor of London and Government.”