Leyton Orient news

Orient want Olympic hockey stadium

February 22, 2011
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has told ESPNsoccernet that he has applied for his side to move to the Olympic hockey stadium and that, if it was granted, he would back away from a judicial review over West Ham landing the Olympic Stadium.

Barry Hearn Leyton orient
GettyImagesHearn believes West Ham moving to Stratford could cause the demise of Leyton Orient

• Hearn: Wenger was complacent

FA Cup heroes Leyton Orient drew at home to Arsenal at the weekend and have a chance to face Manchester United in the quarter-finals if they can pull off another shock at Emirates Stadium, and the cup run has brought more attention to the League One club - something that can be used to their advantage according to their chairman.

"Our heroics with Arsenal has done many things, but it has given us the platform to give an even wider debate to the Olympic Stadium debacle and why all those involved from the Government downwards, to the Mayor, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, are so keen to fast track everything toward West Ham without due consideration of the effects to the incumbent club - us,'' Hearn told ESPNsoccernet.

"It is possible that I will spend a lot of money on legal action, and call for a judicial review. On the other hand, our plight needs to be brought to the Government's attention, and they need to review their due process.

"Don't ignore little Leyton Orient. That's my message to them all. We have been going for 130 years and it is essential that we keep going.

"I am not having a pop at West Ham, merely stating our case about how we would suffer if West Ham moved into the Olympic Stadium on our doorstep. All I am saying is ... we have a right to be heard.''

Hearn has had to listen to a number of ideas concerning the future of his club, but believes that he has come up with the right solution.

"I don't think ground share is an option because I don't believe that a football club is the right way to go with a running track,'' he said. ''Neither do I believe that everyone can be allowed to ride roughshod over Leyton Orient.

"There is a temporary Olympic hockey stadium half a mile away, which can be converted into a football stadium and we have applied to take that over after the Olympics. It has suitable car parking and transport links, and quite recently we applied to the Olympic Legacy Committee.

"We could sell Brisbane Road and raise enough money to make it happen and make Leyton Orient into a Championship side. The problem is that this area has been earmarked for posh residential suites. It isn't the way to go, in this area. They need to think again. They need to think about us and our future.

"To me it is a simple solution: give us the hockey stadium, then everybody will be happy."

While Orient would not be allowed to take over the stadium in its current, temporary state, it will be moved to the Eton Manor section of the Olympic Park after the Games and will be given a 3,000 permanent seats, which can be boosted to 15,000 for major events.