Leyton Orient fans planning protest ahead of Colchester game
By Lia Hervey, Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 20/04/17 12:08pm
Leyton Orient fans plan to stage another protest ahead of their final home game of the season on Saturday April 29.
The game, against Colchester United, is likely to be the League Two side's last at the Matchroom Stadium before their relegation from the Football League - they are currently seven points adrift of safety with just three games left.
Relegation will mark the end of an unbroken 112-year spell in the Football League and fans will again demonstrate their opposition to owner Francesco Beccetti.
O's fans, many dressed as clowns, invaded the pitch following the home win against fellow strugglers Hartlepool United on Easter Monday.
In a statement the Leyton Orient Fans Trust (LOFT) said: "We, the fans, will not let our football club die. And that no matter what the inaction of the football authorities in what is happening at Leyton Orient, this club will go on and recover because it is the fans' club."
The rally will be attended by Leyton MP John Cryer who is attempting to secure a Parliamentary debate about what he sees as a lack of effect rules governing the ownership of football clubs.
Yesterday staff at Leyton Orient issued a statement raising concerns about the lack of communication by the Italian owner.
Players and staff have not been paid since the end of February. The PFA have stepped in and loaned £60,000 of unpaid wages to the players.
Leyton Orient was issued with a winding up order at the start of March. On March 20, lawyers claimed £1m would be put into the club to ensure all debts that have been generated over recent months would be paid in full by June 12 when the club are next due to appear in court.
We, the fans, will not let our football club die. And that no matter what the inaction of the football authorities in what is happening at Leyton Orient, this club will go on and recover because it is the fans' club
Leyton Orient Fans Trust
Fans, players and staff are now concerned this promise will not be met and some staff have started to leave.
The supporters group has also said they will not pay the wages out of their regeneration fund, set up to help regenerate Leyton Orient in the event of liquidation or if the fans get the opportunity to part purchase the club.
"The Regeneration Fund cannot and will not be used under any circumstances to prop up Francesco Becchetti's ownership of the football club, through paying for or subsidising any unpaid bills. It would be a betrayal of the members' vote to set up the fund, where this was expressly ruled out, and it would also be a betrayal to all the fans - both Orient's and other clubs' supporters - who have donated to the fund in their thousands on that basis.
"Even using the fund to loan money to the staff would not help the situation. It is the LOFT Board's view that even that would relieve some of the mounting pressure on Becchetti to pay them, and could easily create a situation where staff owe money to the fund that they may face difficulty in repaying if the crisis at the club continues."
The rally will start at the bandstand in Coronation Gardens, Leyton at 1.30pm on Saturday April 29.