Nine months is a long time for fans to be absent from grounds and you have been missed by everyone at the Club. During this time the world has been shaken by the events of the coronavirus and at Leyton Orient, as you all know, we have been impacted by the virus as well.
Despite the very welcome return of our fans to the stadium and football clubs elsewhere in the country, I would ask our fans to recognise that the war against the virus is far from over. Yes, the vaccine is not far away but, in the meantime, extreme vigilance is still required to control the spread of the virus.
As such, for those returning to the ground we ask that you be very cautious in every way and to follow all the guidelines that have been clearly communicated to everyone. This includes the wearing of masks everywhere in the stadium and with this approach we are consistent with the practice in the Premier League. We want the Breyer Group Stadium to be a safe haven for our supporters to visit.
The return of fans is hopefully reward for our very loyal season ticket holders who have signed up for our new season card. So far, we have sold over 3,600, which is a remarkable demonstration of loyalty by our fans to our Club. Thank you.
On the pitch Ross and the team are striving to do their very best and as I write these notes being 8th in League Two positions us well for the rest of the season.
During the pandemic we have held many forums for fans, and you will have heard me say many times that we will not tolerate discrimination in any form. I am horrified by the events at Millwall on Saturday and I want to reiterate again anyone making discriminatory noises or other discriminatory actions will be removed from the ground and banned for life.
We as a Club are supportive of all communities living in both Waltham Forest and our broader catchment area and as a Club our employee and player base are represented by many racial backgrounds.
At this time, I am also encouraged by the support that our Club and others in League Two are receiving from the EFL and in the next few days we expect to receive an initial payment of £250,000. More will be forthcoming, but it will not fill the gap in terms of the extra losses we have had to experience this year with no fans being in the stadium. We will continue to promote what we believe is a league-leading streaming product and we encourage all fans, be they season card holders or not, to follow the O’s home and away on Orient Live.
I want to finish by thanking the staff at Leyton Orient Football Club who have worked tirelessly over many months planning for the day that crowds return to our stadium. We hope that once you have gone through these protocols you will enjoy the experience of being back in the stadium and cheering the O’s to further success this season.
Thank you once again for all your support.