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Leyton Orient Fans' Trust
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Fans' forum discusses Olympic Stadium

Below is a report from the latest fans' forum, part of the ongoing dialogue between the club and O's supporters' groups:


Orient fans' representatives from LOFT, the Supporters Club and Orientear fanzine - with apologies received from the Pandamonium editor - met with Matt Porter, Chief Executive of Leyton Orient FC, on Tuesday 1st March to discuss issues surrounding the ongoing Olympic Stadium legacy.

Both the Club and LOFT have been separately investigating avenues for a potential judicial review of the approval given to West Ham United to become the tenants at the Olympic Stadium at Stratford after the 2012 Games, plus other challenges to the various sporting and government agencies involved.

The fans remain wholeheartedly behind our chairman, Barry Hearn, in his efforts to have proper consideration given to the detrimental effect of this encroachment into our immediate locality. We still firmly believe the Premier League has not given sufficient attention to Leyton Orient's predicament before giving its approval, in apparently clear contradiction of its own written criteria for such an occurrence.

Despite the disappointment of the Government announcement ratifying the February decision of the Olympic Park Legacy Company to award West Ham preferred bidder status, we all feel Orient's grievances and concerns still need to be heard - in court if necessary.

As part of this process, the Club has been considering potential relocation sites that would allow us to compete on a better footing should an unwanted Premier League rival be deposited on our doorstep, because all parties at the meeting feel that Brisbane Road may not be the ideal future venue to attempt to survive in this respect.

With the desire to stay within East London paramount, the Eton Manor site within the Olympic Park has been identified as a preferred option over the Hockey Stadium, as this keeps us in our current Borough but would allow for expansion. Indeed, the London Borough of Waltham Forest is now spearheading a feasibility study for us to move there.

Exciting outline aims include the construction of a stadium for a potential 15,000 spectators, a new community sports centre so that we could continue Orient's excellent local initiatives, and 3G training pitches. 

Obviously, the construction of these facilities would rely on favourable funding arrangements. But potential sources have been identified, including ALL the profit from redevelopment of Brisbane Road currently owned by Matchroom, which is an extremely generous gesture by Mr Hearn. Indeed, even if the current Olympic Stadium legacy arrangements are altered, Orient feels a move to this new, local site could still be in the long-term interests of the Club. 

One possible feature of the new venture could see us sharing the stadium with Saracens RFC, which would help to defray expenses and ensure greater utilisation of the facility. 

It is clearly too early to say whether these ideas will come to fruition in whole or in part, but the Club was keen to confirm it is seriously considering this outcome with Orient supporters, and welcomes feedback on this from its fanbase via any of the supporters' representatives with whom it holds regular dialogue.

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