Winding-up adjourned until 12 June
The winding-up petition against Leyton Orient Football Club has been adjourned until 12 June. Today's outcome is however only a stay of execution.
While it was revealed in court that the debt to HMRC has been settled, other creditors are still owed in total a significant amount. Those revealed in court include more than £18,000 owed to the club's matchday stewards provider, £35,000 to Waltham Forest council and £6,000 to the club's official photographer.
These are not the only creditors; our investigations show a significant six-figure debt has built up. This amount of debt has effectively been confirmed by the club, in the letter read out to the court from club chief executive Alessandro Angelieri. The letter reveals that Francesco Becchetti "intends to inject" £1 million into the club to pay off its debts.
Leyton Orient supporters will remember however previous pledges from the owner; his "passion" for the club and that money would continue to be invested in the team, instead the squad has been decimated to barely more than the youth team.
They will also remember Angelieri's earlier statement "that within common sense, Mr Becchetti will continue to fund the club". Today's letter needs to be considered with these broken promises.
Speaking to the press outside court, LOFT board member Adam Michaelson said: "There are a number of still outstanding creditors, including a number more that were not represented today.
"It leaves the club in a state of significant uncertainty and, frankly, mortal danger. There is everything to suggest up until now that Mr Becchetti's word can't necessarily be relied upon."
"In respect of a potential sale, we would call upon Mr Becchetti now to look to sell the club at the earliest possible opportunity and make good on his promise that he's made in order to do that, in order that it can be passed into the hands of people that clearly understand more about running this kind of organisation than he does."
Today's events leave the club, its suppliers, its employees and all O's supporters in a state of limbo. While the immediate threat of liquidation has been staved off until June, there is clearly a significant level of debt remaining. A further winding-up petition from HMRC cannot be ruled out, if the next bill for unpaid tax is treated the same way by Mr Becchetti as the last one.
It is clear now that the only way Leyton Orient can hope to recover as a football club, both on and off the field, is for Mr Becchetti to sell, and sell as soon as possible.
The three possible scenarios that the Regeneration Fund was set up for - negotiated sale, administration or liquidation - all remain on the table. The fund therefore carries on as planned while this state of limbo remains.
We will update on the fund total once today's bank receipts are known, we can report however that just under £6,000 was raised from bucket collections at Saturday's game against Doncaster Rovers - given the smaller crowd compared to the Grimsby match and the fact there had been a collection just a week prior, this is still a great outcome - our sincere thanks to the bucket collectors, as well as the O's fans and Doncaster fans who donated so generously.
We are also extremely grateful for the other fundraising being organised with the fund in mind - including the various memorabilia auctions, benefit gigs and other pledges (including the generous offer by the Northcote pub to donate some of its takings this past Saturday).
Our thanks to the very many supporters, of Orient and the wider football family, who have sent us messages of support in the past weeks. The fight to save Orient continues.