Key issues at E10 discussed at the 2021 Fans' Forum

access_time 2 months ago

The O’s hosted a virtual fans’ forum on Thursday 9th December, giving fans a chance to ask the club’s board a range of questions on everything Leyton Orient.

Key –

NT – Nigel Travis

DM – Danny Macklin

ML – Martin Ling

NS – Nick Semaca

CEO Danny Macklin to leave the club in February after over four years at the club.

NT – “We will never begrudge anyone leaving the club if they want to pursue new opportunities. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Danny, but we are extremely disappointed to see him go. I’ve worked for 50+ years and I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as Danny. He’s got an entrepreneurial opportunity, which we tried to convince him not to take but we will never stand in his way.”

DM –  “It was my ambition to be a football CEO in the 90’s back when I had hair!! I took that opportunity here at the Breyer Group Stadium in 2017 and its been a rollercoaster. Everyone here is brilliant, Martin (Ling) is superb and works so hard. Our fans are also superb and have always supported and got behind us. I will always be supporting the team in the stand and I am confident that they are heading in the right direction. Leyton Orient has got into my blood and will stay in my blood forever.”

On pitch performances –

ML – “Our season has started well. Its been just as confusing for us at times to see the difference in home form and away form. That differential between the results is the thing which we need to narrow down. I am though, confident we have a squad that is capable of getting promotion out of this league. I’ve not seen a team yet that scares me and I think we can beat anyone in this league.”

Finances –

DM – “We as a club this year will lose between 1.5 and 1.8 million. Covid has put a road block in the way of becoming sustainable. But with the board that we have in place, we have the best chance to become self sustainable. We all play a part in making this club sustainable.”

NT – “The EFL is extremely well led by Rick Parry and Trevor Birch. They want to be supportive when the Crouch report goes to MP’s. We are though, going to see a pushback from the Premier League about the proposals. It’s interesting to see the Government involved in football, especially coming from the US where there is no government involvement. The involvement came as a result of the catastrophes at Bury and Macclesfield, but the main catalyst for change was the creation of the European Super League. We support the independent regulator and we support the talk about redistribution of money down the football league pyramid.”

Inclusivity –

DM – “This week we had our rainbow laces campaign but I don’t think we go far enough, so I want to put stepping stones in place to make us the most inclusive club we can be. We met with the council today in order to put some strategies in place. We want to throw ourselves in head first into being the most diverse and inclusive club in the country.”

Alcohol in stand trials  –

DM – “We support the trial. However there is an awful lot to go through first. We will gather feedback at all stages from the trial in both the National League and League Two, and make sure if there is any pitfalls, to try and improve them.”

 

Match day parking –

DM – “It’s certainly a challenge. We are lucky blessed with good public transport around the stadium with Leyton underground station only a six or seven minute walk away, but the realities are that it is difficult to park. We’ve tried everything we can e.g. schools, churches, Spitalfields. We are continuing to try and find places.”

 

Player contracts –

ML – “Our squad is made up of 25 players, with 3 loanees and 11 out of contract at the end of season. Tom (James) is high on the agenda in terms of myself and Kenny. We want him here long term, we know how well he’s done and we deem him an important player. Don’t panic. We know the situation and we are trying to resolve it. I can’t see any reason as to why he won’t want to stay but it’s a long process.”

Ground improvements –

NS –  “There are a lot of options to look at. We need to assess the options as to what could it look like if we made changes? We have no desire to ‘do a Wimbledon’ and move miles away. There are a lack of real spaces in Waltham Forest area but we are looking at possibilities. We want two good options to compare against each other.”

DM – “We know there will be seven or eight teams who will fill the entire stand should we go up. It is a challenge but it’s certainly a challenge that we want to face because it means success for the team.”

Coronavirus restrictions –

DM – “Covid passes won’t be in place here due to attendances being less than ten thousand spectators. However, Face masks are still encouraged and we would like people still to consider their fellow spectators.”

Attendances at the Breyer Group Stadium  –

DM – “We think around half of season card holders didn’t show up to the Swindon fixture. It is a concern but with weather a factor and a distance to travel for fans it does pose an issue. Football for a fiver was great but when you still have season card holders not showing up there is ultimately nothing we can do. We encourage season card holders to tell us if they’re not coming so we can plan around it. The lack of knowledge on whether or not they are going to show up also puts stress on our stewarding plans as we need to plan around the predicted numbers.”

NT – “I played golf with my brother on Wednesday. He said he didn’t come to the game on Tuesday night because he is still anxious about mixing with crowds. It’s completely understandable that people still aren’t ready to return to mixing with thousands of others.”

DM – In regard to ticket prices, we benchmark ourselves against fellow London clubs. Obviously,  the tickers are cheaper when you buy in advance. Season cards are phenomenal value. Pricing is where it needs to be in order for the club to aim to be sustainable. I personally think that the entertainment value is great with the amount of goals we are scoring.

Increase in budget due to cup run?

ML – We have a planned budget already so unlikely, but it does make it easier for Nigel and co. to be able to say yes when we ask them for funds.

NT – Martin summed it up. We increased the budget three times in the summer so we have shown flexibility. However at some stage we need to be sustainable, we have to be balanced. I’d love to go out and spend more money as I am a fan first and foremost, but there are restrictions in place. Our transfer committee is sensible and I’m sure they will make the right decisions