Olympic Stadium reaction
Now that Leyton Orient’s application for judicial review into the Olympic Stadium decision has been refused, it’s time to take stock of where we are.
Judging by their barrister’s reference to the Stadium being part of West Ham United’s “brand”, it’s clear that West Ham simply do not want another football club playing at the same stadium as them. Regardless of how such comments stick in the craw when considering the Olympic ‘legacy’, it appears as though the time has come for all concerned with Leyton Orient to stop spending valuable time and resources trying to prevent West Ham moving in to the Stadium, and instead concentrate on differentiating the product offered by Leyton Orient FC.
The club has made great strides this season on its publicity, community and business outreach and overall fan-friendliness. It has also helped that the product on the pitch has been exceptional in the opening weeks of the season, and there is genuinely a feel-good factor around the club.
Last season, Orient chairman Barry Hearn pledged to stand our ground and stay at Brisbane Road, our home of over 75 years, should the club not be able to move to the Olympic Stadium – a move whose possible benefits the majority of O’s fans had yet to be convinced of anyway. We welcomed that pledge then and we hope it remains in place now.
If the experience of watching football at the Olympic Stadium will be as remote from the pitch as the plans suggest, Leyton Orient now has an opportunity to market itself as the only real footballing experience in this part of east London. Proper football, played by decent footballers, up close and personal in a real football ground - not an over-hyped Premier League ‘brand’ played by millionaires on a pitch that’s far away from everything other than the front row next to the corner flags. All the transport links into Stratford are just one stop away on the Central Line from us, and we have the advantage of real pubs and cafes nearby.
So rather than worry about an uncertain future, we all – from the Chairman downwards - need to continue celebrating and building on our uniqueness as a football club.