Crisis Club visit this weekend

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Bottom of the League table, a court winding up order – postponed and an Italian owner that no Orient supporter wants – that’s the trouble that Leyton Orient are in at this time. Last Monday the visitors were in the High Court with the owner settling up a £250k inland revenue debt, but with other debts still outstanding they were given until mid-June for them all to be settled or they will be back to face up the winding up order. With all this uncertainty going on, the team have slumped to the foot of the table, conceding 9 goals in their last two matches. On Monday evening I met a couple of Orient supporters at the EFL/SKY fans forum who were at the hearing outside the courts and they are extremely angry at the way the club is being systematically destroyed by the owner. He hasn’t been seen at the ground for some considerable time and failed to turn up at the court hearing.

The Red Devils have had similar grievances in the past with owners and debts but since Ziya Eren has come on board the fans and club are in a better position than before with much more openness and communications between all parties, long may that continue. Even this week we had a statement from Mr Eren asking fans to be patient as it is going to take time to rebuild the club from its extremely low ebb last season. As they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” so its full steam ahead on a steady ship.

I was invited to attend the EFL Fan Forum at Sky’s HQ on Monday evening, so I went along – hoping to hear about the fans concerns over long midweek fixture and to some extent TV arrangements. The only informative part of the evening was given by former Referee Chris Foy explaining the changes in the Laws of the game since the start of the season – this was very helpful and it’s a pity that more weren’t there to hear it. The next part of the evening was basically an EFL & SKY “sales” pitch – they couldn’t answer, even with the EFL fixture secretary in attendance the fans concerns over long midweek matches which either are or aren’t on TV, this was abruptly stopped by the compare as it would have taken up the entire Q & A session, and theirs me thinking this was a “Fans Forum” – so there was no given commitment that they would reduce midweek travelling. All Sky was concern with was getting their cameras in all orifices of the game – in changing rooms, wiring up managers, referee interviews etc. – and off course their match selection of which the Premiership takes priority followed by the Championship. L2 & L1 are well down the pecking order, so when next seasons fixtures are published don’t hold your breath, the long midweek away matches, the long away matches on Bank Holiday weekends will still be there. This season, our final game of the season was put back for a 5.30pm kick off so that Sky could show a game live as they can’t screen a game at 3.0pm so everyone suffers – again no consideration for travelling supporters getting home late at night.

Getting back to this weekend’s match against the “O’s” – it is a must win game for the hosts – the Crewe debacle was largely put behind them last Saturday with the creditable performance at Grimsby – with the 1-1 draw, James Collins scoring the equaliser on the stroke of half time following up another of Josh Payne’s free kicks. In the final 15 minutes, with the hosts down to 10 men the Red Devils could have taken all the points with Jimmy Smith firing over from close range – so that’s now 4 matches unbeaten away – had they matched that at home Crawley could have been sitting around the playoffs.

It was also good to see Matt Harrold back in action following his long injury lay off – coming on for the last few minutes. Why do manager do that? – give a player just 4 minutes or less sometimes. Dermot Drummy’s selection this weekend will be interesting, being at home we have to go out and attack and get out of the continual defending habit that has seen our home form plummet. Our two strikers have to be given decent service in the opposing penalty area to give them a chance of getting on the end of them and score. Week in week out we see the team firing shots at the practice goal during the pre-match warm up – that doesn’t transfer to the pitch in the actual games, as time and time again we fail to have a go – with Lewis Young and Josh Leylan being the main culprits. Talking of Lewis Young, our foul throw expert – please stop doing those and can you take them quicker, so that we don’t give the opposition time to defensively set up.

Orient will be well supported on Saturday and will be hoping to turn their current plight around and get themselves out of the bottom two – they beat the Red Devils on Boxing day 3 – 2 with the visitors just failing to come back from a 3 – 0 deficit at half time. That incidentally was Orient’s last home victory. They have won at Plymouth and Newport County on their travels since then. Trevor Kettle who officiated that game has also been selected for the game on Saturday, he was also in the middle for the 2 – 1 defeat at Stevenage.

The game kicks off at 3.00pm and tickets are available from the club ticket office from now. Buy them early to avoid queuing on the day.

20 gone, 3 to play – that’s away league matches left until the end of the season. Newport County next Saturday 1st April and then Accrington Stanley and Cambridge United. To book on any of the GH away travel coaches to these games please contact Alain Harper on 07771792346 or for more details visit our website www.ghcoaches.co.uk

The final match of the season will be the Sussex Senior Cup Final against Brighton and Hove Albion – full details have yet to be announced by the Sussex County FA – due to Albion’s possible involvement in the playoffs – should they slip up on automatic promotion.

This will be an interesting scenario – if the game is played at the AMEX – we could have more support than Brighton, for many supporters visiting the ground for the first time, something that they might not want to happen – options – they could ask the game to be staged here in Crawley, or hopefully, not at Lancing – something that the SCFA has to consider.

Congratulations to Horsham Football Club who now finally have planning permission for their new initial 1300 capacity ground in Horsham – 10 years after leaving Queen Street. The news was announced after a council planning meeting this week, so the project can now go ahead just off the Worthing Road – with their current ground share agreement with Horsham YMCA not being renewed for next season, the Hornets have also agreed with the Sussex County FA to use their headquarters at Lancing – this will enable them to continue playing in the Ryman League next season.

CHT Sports Reporter”

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