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INTERVIEW: Ling - 'It feels like coming home'

Former O’s boss thrilled to be returning as Director of Football

23 June 2017

Newly appointed Director of Football Martin Ling could not hide his delight at once again being a part of Leyton Orient Football Club.

Speaking in his first interview following the announcement of his appointment earlier today, the 50-year-old admitted it was great to be returning to a Club so close to his heart.

“It is really good to be back, if not a little bit surreal to be honest,” Ling told leytonorient.com.

“After eight years of being away following 13 years of working here successfully, it is a real pleasure to be back here and sitting in my old office.

“To be sitting in the same chair in my old office is certainly a strange feeling, but it felt like coming home which is great.”

Ling joins hot on the heels of Eagle Investments 2017 Limited completing the purchase of the Club, and the former O’s boss admitted new Club Chairman Nigel Travis played a key role in his decision to return to E10.

“I’ve been in conversation with Nigel for about five or six weeks now, in which he explained the role and asked whether I would be interested. When I met with him I got a real sense of enthusiasm and the main thing for me was that they have the Club at heart.

“Nigel is a supporter, the people who are in and amongst it – especially Kent – are very enthusiastic, and all I see are people who want the best for the football club. When I saw that I was very excited, it had to be someone with those intentions for me to come back,” Ling explained.

“Looking from afar I could see that things were not right over the past few years but I don’t think there is any point people looking back, including myself.

“I wasn’t here or a part of it. All I am looking for and have expressed to the staff today is that moving forward we get the Club back to where it once was.”

Having served the O’s previously as both a player and manager over recent years, the 50-year-old will now take up a slightly different role as Director of Football and explained it is one that he is very much looking forward to.

“I am very excited about this project, and excited to see what the role does for the Club.

“I will be involved with anything to do with football at this football club, apart from picking the team on a Saturday or the training that goes on at the training ground. That will be dedicated to somebody else such as a first team coach, assistant coach and a youth coach for the younger players.

“It is a step away for me but I think that Nigel and those in the consortium who are not based here expect me to look after their football. It is an engrossing role and people have asked me whether I will miss the training ground, but my response to that has been no.

“A Director of Football can be deemed to be someone who wants to be a manager, but I can honestly say to you that will never happen. Though it will be wrong of me to say never again, I don’t want to be manager.”

“I want to be the Director of Football here at Leyton Orient Football Club and I am excited to be in this role moving forward.”

As part of the role, Ling will continue the search for a first team coach and despite pre-season starting next month, admitted he will not be rushed into a decision as he looks for stability.

“We are doing it as quickly as we possibly can, but I see the role being given to someone for two years at least and will not be rushing into making the decision of who the right person is.

“There are some people who are in my head already, but we will go through a full interview procedure and the right person will be found in whatever timescale it takes. If it takes a bit longer to find the right person, we can cover the early part of pre-season if a coach is not in place.

“The players are due to report back on July 3, but I have no worry about a coach not being in place for the first day of pre-season - it is more about finding the right person rather than the amount of time that it will take.

“We want to bring someone in who has a vision to take us forward whilst also buying into the project of the football club,” he added.

“When I met Nigel, Kent and the consortium that is exactly what they had, a vision and plan for the Club but we have got to get the right people in the right places to make sure that we can achieve our goals.

“I am in charge of the football and want to make sure the right person is in control of the main area that every club is judged on, which is the first team winning games.”

With the announcement of his return greatly received by the O’s faithful, Ling ended with a message for the supporters who have shown great commitment to the Club.

“The support and reaction has been great to see, and my message to you all is one that is pretty simple - I am back where I belong.

“The O’s are on their way back up and in me, you have got someone who has the club’s best interests at heart.”


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