Letter to Leyton Orient Supporters

Dear Leyton Orient Supporter,

I prefer to communicate verbally either by video or audio. But as we are at the start of a new season, I thought this was a great opportunity to write down some of the important thoughts of your Board.

My spirit was helped by the weekend’s fine win at Forest Green Rovers, coupled with yesterday night’s dramatic late win against Brighton U21.

The last few months have been difficult for the world and the UK, particularly in sports.  I want to take this opportunity to say “Thank You” to all the front-line workers who have supported the health and safety of people globally and especially in the UK.

At the Club we took the opportunity with our unique sponsorship by Harry Kane to recognize these people.  Their dedication and commitment are commended.  We should all feel very thankful.

Like most businesses and organizations, the pandemic was new to us, but we approached it with a desire to be flexible, moving Leyton Orient forward.  I think in the last six months we have achieved those goals keeping ourselves front of fans globally.

This was initially achieved by the Ultimate Quaranteam FIFA tournament, followed by the previously mentioned very high profile sponsorship deal.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Harry Kane very sincerely.”

I want to take this opportunity to thank Harry Kane very sincerely.  He stepped up in a time of need for us and football, demonstrating a true commitment to the game and football at our level. Right now, I am enjoying watching Harry on the Amazon series “All or Nothing”.

Despite our great work that I’ve described, like most businesses globally the pandemic was devastating financially.  We are grateful to the UK government’s furlough program and the flexibility in tax payments.  We are incredibly appreciative of the ongoing support of our sponsors, our landlords and other stakeholders in Leyton Orient. 

Both Leyton Orient Supporters Club and LOFT have been instrumental in helping us navigate through the difficulties of the last few months and we will look for their ongoing support in the future. 

Nevertheless, as I have expressed before, the stark fact is based on the latest version budget, albeit the last of many versions with changing assumptions based on the situation involving the pandemic, we have an additional loss of £1.5M. 

I think it is important to note that the board has ‘put their hands in their pocket’ to support this loss.  That may seem to convey a negative impression of how Leyton Orient stands now, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

“We now have a group of players who are excited and optimistic.”

We are confident in the season ahead as we have a squad that has been carefully developed over the last couple of years by Martin Ling and the team. Our side was significantly reinforced last Christmas. We now have a group of players who are excited and optimistic about the opportunities in the upcoming season.

I am delighted the route to financial stability and sustainability has been significantly progressed by the advent of the League Two salary cap of £1.5M.  I want to thank Danny Macklin for the many hours he invested in this project with the EFL. The Cap will prevent clubs “chasing the dream” which results in financial disaster to many clubs with Bury being a prime example.  In fact, financial mismanagement originally at Leyton Orient led to our takeover by the consortium back in 2017.

I am also optimistic about bringing in new investors to support the plan of steadily progressing back to our rightful position in the upper reaches of League One or potentially the Championship.  Right now, I’m talking to a number of people. They love our culture, the people who manage the Club day-to-day, our plans and most of all the loyalty and support of our fan base in the great city of London, the UK, and around the world.

“We are all excited about the future of the Academy.”

We are all excited about the future of the Academy which is a lifeblood for a club at our level and you will see many young players appearing over the coming months as we maximize the depth of our squad in a shortened season requiring more midweek games

As I write this only days away from EFL action commencing, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your unwavering support since we bought the Club in June 2017.  Despite the hurdles of COVID, I feel we are right on track with the plan we set out at that time.  This year logistically in terms of health, safety, travel and playing circumstances will be different and complicated.

I am sure as fans you will be inconvenienced significantly when conforming to the rules that are being put in place for everyone’s safety. Many hours have gone into planning for the great day when fans can return to the Breyer Group Stadium.

I want to personally thank the season cards holders who have shown faith in our plans by signing up for this coming season.  To have over 3,300, given the circumstances, is simply remarkable. Once again it demonstrates how fantastic the Leyton Orient fan base is.

So, what else can you do to help the Club further? There is only one thing:  We have invested significantly in our streaming platform an over the past few weeks having run numerous dress rehearsals for the big day, Saturday 12th September.  That is the day we launch our new platform and season passes. 

For those who don’t know, prices are not set by us but set by the EFL, We are truly hoping to garner many fans, not only here in the UK but overseas to support the mighty O’s.  We have aimed for a production quality pre-game, during the game, half time and post-game that is unmatched by any other Club in the lower levels of the EFL. Yes, this is complicated, and I apologize in advance for any technical hurdles we may encounter. 

“A major aspect of our streaming service is engagement with our fans.”

Things can go wrong, but we have done everything we can to build in redundancy into our system.  We firmly believe the product will be great.  A major aspect of our streaming service is engagement with our fans.  We will test various ideas for making sure you have the opportunity to have your say, becoming involved in what I’m sure is going to be a great program each match day.  The plan is to stream every game home and away. We are preparing all kinds of instructional materials for those who may not be as technically savvy as others.

In conclusion, your board continues to think forward with optimism. That is why we are looking to bring in new investors.  My promise to you is to do as we have since June 22, 2017, to be very transparent with what is happening with our Club because we truly see it is not a Club owned by the board but a community asset for us all.

Thank you all.

Up the O’s

Nigel Travis

Chairman