LOFT welcomes intention to stay in E10
LOFT has welcomed the news that there are no plans to relocate the club out of Brisbane Road.
At yesterday's Leyton Orient AGM, club chairman Barry Hearn confirmed what many have believed for some time, namely that potentially relocating to places such as Romford or Harlow is not economically viable. The potential to move to a site at Eton Manor is apparently no longer there, so the club looks set to remain in its home of 75 years.
Mr Hearn also confirmed that he does not intend to charge the club rent when it falls due. There had been much speculation among supporters as to whether or not this would be the case, so this confirmation is welcome. Also welcome is the news that the club remains debt free, and that the chairman will cover future losses through equity, albeit reluctantly. New Football League financial rules should help clubs set more realistic budgets from next season, and we join Mr Hearn in welcoming the turnover-based salary cap that will come into force.
On the subject of the Olympic Stadium, apparently the Football League has confirmed to the club that it will stand by its rules on relocation and proximity of one club to another. We welcome this, having previously called on League to ensure one of its members does not adversely affect the prospects of another member. LOFT has said all along that the Stadium is not fit for footballing use after the Games, and we urge the Olympic Park Legacy Company to choose a bidder that is a better fit for the community and non-football use. If it is true that West Ham United did not have Football League permission to move to the Olympic Stadium when submitting its final bid, then the OPLC should not choose West Ham in any event.
Finally, the news that the club does not intend to raise ticket prices next season is to be welcomed. We do however still believe that an innovative use of standing in the north wing of the East Stand could see use of that Stand increase. Safe standing facilities can be part of a modern entertainment experience if pitched at the right price and right audience, while at the same time provide a lower-cost chance for those new to watching live football. Now more than ever, the club needs to look at all ways to increase support.