Now Leyton Orient, the club’s owner Barry Hearn suggests it should be called London Orient to become part of the Olympic Legacy. Is this attempt to strengthen Orient’s bid a good one? Hearn intentionally ignores supporters’ sentiments on that issue.
As the selection of preferred tenant is getting closer, Leyton Orient try and push through a last-gasp attempt to win a place at Olympic Stadium. Club chairman Barry Hearn uses a set of PR steps in order to either win against West Ham United (most probable winners of the bidding process) or win with West Ham, as ground-share partner.
As he stresses, Orient aren’t competition to West Ham as it’s a local community club, not a large brand. As such it cannot generate massive income, but can give back a lot to the community, which Hearn emphasizes.
Apart from trying to build a friendly image to both the London Legacy Development Corporation and West Ham, Orient are one step from a major change. To gain more sympathy in the selection process, Hearn wants the club to change name from Leyton Orient to London Orient, which would make the club part of the Olympic Legacy and a possible more appealing brand.
Interestingly, Hearn tries to win his club’s supporters’ approval with promises of investing all revenues from sale of Brisbane Road stadium to strengthen the squad and fight for further development. What about those who still wouldn’t be convinced? He doesn’t seem to care, really.
“Some of the hardcore fans will be grumbling [about changing the name] but we have got to do something dramatic”, he says.
StadiumDB.com comment: All of the above arguments separately sound pretty reasonable and would be understood and we have nothing against Orient having a strong bid. We can agree the club needs to grow, that competition from West Ham in the area makes Orient desperate to win as much as possible when there’s still time. But put together they give an image of a schizophrenic policy in which Orient promise to remain a community club to the authorities and at the same time promise to become a strong brand to the fans. And then there’s the complete ignorance of what Orient supporters might actually think about the proposed change with all those potentially unsure being called ‘hardcore’ and their potential arguments ‘grumbling’. Not as community friendly as was intended to sound. Not even mentioning that if we hear ‘Olympic Legacy’ once more when people are simply trying to secure their business instead of doing something in accordance with the Olympic spirit, we’ll lose hope for any real legacy.