THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Known before as a successful sports promoter, Tom Davies tells us more about Barry Hearn

Distinguishing features Silver-haired, silver-tongued charmer (he would like to think). Bears a vague resemblance to Bill Clinton in a certain light, only tougher, smarmier and more insincere .

Habitat Sports promoter, who once had a vast array of successful boxers and snooker players in his Matchroom stable, but now has next to no one. Recently promoted the ugly Hamed-Soto fight. When not involved in such things, he tells us he works his socks off running Leyton Orient FC and trying to turn it into a dynamic, successful, profitable business. Renamed the ground the Matchroom Stadium, but only his paid sycophants call it that.

What use is he? Took control of the club in 1995 when it appeared to be going bust and helped stabilise it. Made all sorts of outlandish promises – such as to take us to the First Division (and beyond) with a team of home-grown players – but is now happy to hype up League survival. His persistence with floundering manager Tommy Taylor is increasingly questionable and his empathy with fans non-existent. Anyone who voices displeasure about his or the manager’s stewardship is dismissed as a moron or worse. Seems to think that he alone keeps the club afloat, so I don’t know where he thinks all that merchandising and season ticket revenue comes from.

Who remembers his birthday?
Steve Davis (the one-time jewel in Hearn’s snooker crown and now a thoroughly inactive member of the board), the aforementioned Tommy Taylor and perhaps the many national newspaper reporters who continue to give him ample column inches from which to insult supporters, but he is unlikely to be inundated with gifts from the Brisbane Road ­regulars these days.

Quote Unquote “I’m aiming for the Premier League. I’ve decided this is a Premier League club. It won’t be by 2000, but we’re going to get there.” (March 1996).

“I’m not going to take any notice of a fool in a cardboard box” (referring to a fan outside Bris­bane Road “wearing” a sheet of A4 paper urging fans to boycott a League Cup tie with Grimsby – we were 4-1 down from the first leg).

“Those who organise boycotts and jeer are morons. If you don’t like it piss off. I don’t need you or your money and Orient doesn’t need you.”

“If you listened to the fans you’d have no club.”

Other offences to be taken into consideration
Apart from the insults, the gestures, the patronising arrogance, the outrageous on-the-day admission charges (especially for away fans, whose letters of complaint about the £15 they’re fleeced for generally go unanswered), he’s just an embarrassment

From WSC 155 January 2000. What was happening this month

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