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INTERVIEW: Teague - 'The Club belongs to the supporters'

Vice-Chairman and Principal Investor gives his first official interview following the takeover

5 July 2017

Vice-Chairman and Principal Investor Kent Teague admits he is honoured to be a part of Leyton Orient Football Club.

“I am extremely humbled, I am extremely honoured and I am extremely privileged. The tradition, and the history with Leyton Orient being the second oldest football club in London causes a great deal of awe for me,” explained Teague in his first interview with leytonorient.com.

“I am also really excited. Being a part of a Football Club is always something I have wanted to do. It has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I have talked about owning a Football Club since I was in my mid-twenties, so roughly 30 years ago.

“Also, I have a healthy dose of fear about this. The reason for this is that we have 23 other Clubs in our division who want the exact same thing that we want. They all want to win, and I am also a little bit scared because I believe that we are one of, if not the, biggest club in the National League.

“We have a target on our back and any time that you are of bigger stature those other players and coaches are going to do everything they can to come to that level and bring their best possible game.

“I think that we face 46 incredible matches in the league this coming season, so there is an element of fear about that.”

Having been first contacted regarding a potential takeover with Club Chairman Nigel Travis several months ago, Teague explained the main areas of the Club that appealed to him.

“I received my first email about Nigel back in April, though I had been aware of Leyton Orient from last August through contacts I have in the United Kingdom.

“There are really three key things that attracted me to Leyton Orient,” he added.

“Number one was the history and tradition. Nigel gave me a couple of different books to read about the history of Leyton Orient, and of course Nigel has been helping me with understanding the traditions of the Club.

“The second thing that attracted me is that it is based in London. I wanted a club that had size and potential, as well as having a pretty large stadium.

“The third, and arguably most important, attraction was the supporters level of passion and commitment. I was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm they showed for the final game of last season at Blackpool, and the way that they conducted themselves on that day.”

Since the completion of the takeover on June 22, key appointments have been made at the Club, and Teague revealed his pleasure at working with such committed individuals in Marshall Taylor, Matt Porter, Martin Ling and Nigel Travis.

“I am privileged and honoured to be able to work with these guys,” said Teague.

“Marshall Taylor is doing just a yeoman’s work of starting to pull the Club in the right direction in so many different areas. I have a great deal of respect for Marshall’s entrepreneurial capabilities, and I think he is the perfect Interim Chief Executive. We look forward to hiring the best possible Chief Executive, and expect them to last no less than five years, with the hope they will remain at the Club for 10 years from a stability perspective.

“It is also an honour to have Matt Porter on the Board of Directors. He is so bright and extremely talented, and I don't know if I have met many other people in my life who work more hours or who are more dedicated to what they are doing than Matt.

“A Director of Football is an incredibly important role for the Club, and I am so happy that Martin accepted the position as he has so much character and is so trustworthy. Nigel and I don't have the specialised skill set to know who the best players and coaches are to get us to where we want to be, but Martin does.

“Any time that you own a business, you will always find an area that requires a specialised knowledge and skill set that is tremendously important. It doesn't matter whether it is in healthcare, technology, manufacturing or sports, you always need to have extremely talented people in these areas.

“For us, the fact Martin has so much history with the Club already, and that he is so loved by the fan base, made it so much easier for us to rely on him to make really good decisions.

“Throughout the takeover negotiations, I spent an awful lot of time speaking to Nigel, and I can honestly say he is truly amazing. Nigel has a blend of character and caring that is rare.

“I have talked to Nigel every day, more than once a day, for what seems like years and it has been fantastic every time. I am extremely proud that he is the Chairman of this Football Club, and given his family’s history with Leyton Orient, I am just honoured and excited to get to be a part of Nigel's family.

Inundated with messages following the takeover, the O’s Vice-Chairman admits he is overwhelmed by the reaction from supporters, and expressed just how important he believes the Leyton Orient fan base to be.

“The reception I have received so far from supporters on social media has been phenomenal. They have their Club back and for that they should be ecstatic as we really do mean that.

“The Club truly does belong to them - I am nothing but a steward. It is my responsibility to guide the Club long-term and to help other people make great decisions, though that does not mean the heart and the soul of the Club belongs to me. It belongs to the fans, the coaches, the players and the staff.

“The supporters’ loyalty to this Football Club has been fantastic, and their reaction to the takeover has been overwhelming. They are everything for this Club going forward, because quite simply the supporters are Leyton Orient.

“You can’t be a Club going forward without the heart and the soul, and the fans are one of the four cornerstones of the Club.

“The four cornerstones of any Football Club worldwide are the supporters, the staff, the players and the coaches. Without any of those there is no Club, so that is how important we see the fans to be.

“They have decided that they are going to identify with our Club as being a part of their family, and as being a part of their identity, and for that commitment and decision they deserve everything I can possibly give.”

Due to visit London for the first time since the completion of the takeover next week, Teague finished by expressing his excitement at meeting supporters, visiting pre-season fixtures and the reveal of the National League fixtures later today.

“I can’t wait to learn the tradition of being a fan of Leyton Orient.

“That’s how I view the pre-season friendlies, and I can’t wait to meet everyone at the Harlow Town fixture on July 15," Teague explained as he plans on being at the July 15, July 18 and the July 22 pre-season friendlies.

“I am super excited about these fixtures because I believe it is a great time for the fans to enjoy themselves and truly realise that they have their Club back.

“I can’t wait to meet all the staff and I will be introduced to the players, but I probably won’t have much interaction with them as I don’t see that as being my role or responsibility.

“That is something I see as being Martin and the coaches’ responsibility - I will be more focussed on the supporters, the staff and the community.

“I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to see the fixture list, and our first home game will be sure to be an emotional day,” he concluded.

“I have negotiated with my wife that I get to spend a total of 100 days in London this season, and although it is unlikely I will be able to make all 46 fixtures I will be hoping to make as many as I possibly can.

“I think it will be fantastic if we can have a home game on the opening day, but if the National League chooses not to do that, we know our home opener will still be phenomenal.

“No matter what date it is I am sure it will be a brilliant and emotional day for this Football Club.”


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