Orient have been issued with a winding-up petition and the “regeneration” funds could be used to make them a supporter-owned club
3 March ~ Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust (LOFT) have launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at regenerating the club or, in the event of liquidation, setting up a successor “phoenix” club. Currently in the League Two relegation zone, Orient are facing relegation out of the League for the first time in 112 years.
Orient were bought by Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti in the summer of 2014, just after missing out on promotion to the Championship, but since then the club have been in rapid decline and reportedly owe over £10 million to their holding company.
Meanwhile, on March 1 they announced they were facing a winding-up petition. While Becchetti seems willing to sell, the reported asking price of over £4m could well put off many potential buyers.
LOFT have set an initial target of £250,000 for their campaign, which they plan to use in different ways depending on how the situation develops. One option would be to use the money to enter into an agreement to buy Orient from Becchetti, turning them into a supporter-owned club. This could also be the case if the club enter administration, while in the event of liquidation it would secure the viability of any new phoenix club.