O's retain academy status with promotion to Football League
PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 April 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
Leyton Orient's National League title triumph means they can continue to develop young talent from the local area
Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh admitted a cloud had been swept aside now the O's know they can continue to run their academy next season.
The status of the youth-team was dependent on whether the E10 outfit secured a return to the Football League for the 2019/20 campaign.
After two years in the National League, clubs lose funding for their academy and many close them completely because they simply cannot afford to run them without financial help from the Football League.
Last month, Orient revealed two options for the under-18s with one to “create a bespoke college programme aimed for 16-18-year-olds.”
While this would have seen O's continue to produce youngsters, they would have missed out on bringing in players under the age of 16 and people like Josh Koroma, Dan Happe, Sam Ling and Myles Judd all moved to E10 before they were that age.
Not only did Edinburgh's team have pressure on them to get the first-team back into the Football League, the next generation of local talent were relying on the squad too.
However, Saturday's goaless draw with Braintree Town ensured Orient were winners of the National League and it means they can continue to run their highly successful category three academy.
A relieved Edinburgh admitted: “I think people sometimes don't understand the weight of expectation on our shoulders.
“We knew we would lose the academy if we hadn't secured promotion back to the Football League, so it really has a ripple effect and that's a great thing.
“Throughout the whole season we have had some fantastic performances from the youth-team and we have some great young boys coming through, so I'm really pleased. It has been a cloud over us, but we have managed to sweep it aside.”