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The Non-League Football Paper

“There is a feeling of excitement mixed with relief” says Orient co-owner Kent Teague

By Adam Ellis

In his first programme notes of the season, Leyton Orient vice-chairman and principal investor Kent Teague praised the club’s staff who perservered through the tough times of the previous regime.

After the sale of Leyton Orient to Eagle Investments 2017, the company Teague helped to form prior to the takeover going through in June, all outstanding debts to creditors and staff had been paid as part of takeover negotiations. But some had been given no option except to leave such was the incompetence of former multimillionaire owner Francesco Becchetti in running the club and provided staff with basic financial security.

Under the ‘new beginnings’ of executive trio Teague, chairman Nigel Travis and interim chief executive Marshall Taylor, Orient have had a hit-and-miss start to their first season in the National League – losing away at Sutton United and beating Solihull Moors at Brisbane Road on Tuesday.

In the club’s official programme, Dallas-based businessman Teague said now was the time for excitement after the relief of securing the club’s existence.

“If the feeling is strange around the pitch, maybe a little different than what you expect, it’s because our lifelong fans have been through a recent journey unknown to most football supporters.

“Not only has the club been relegated two years out of the last three, there have been times when one wondered if there would be a club.

“So there is a feeling of excitement mixed with relief. And for our lifelong fans, the ones who feel the most deeply and intensely, this club means as much as life itself,” Teague wrote.

Orient twice survived a winding-up petition which risked their future as the taxman and creditors sought unpaid sums. With one member of staff waiting from October 2016 to the club’s takeover to be paid – but they remain with the club and have the chance to enjoy life under a new board.

“We know there is a group of people who deserve our applause. A group who lived through the darkest days and hours. A group who has given so much to this club,” Teague acknowledged.

“Our (the members of the board) request is that you say thank you to the current staff members of Orient. We believe they deserve it more than you may know,” the Texan native wrote in a piece of writing laced with impassioned language to the home fans.

A lover of all sports, Teague was contacted by Nigel Travis – chief executive of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand – earlier this year after the latter had been pushed Teague’s way by some mutual business associates at MLS side Houston Dynamo.

With Teague’s approval of the plan Travis and Taylor had in mind to buy Becchetti’s 90% stake, talk of a stripped-bare Orient being unable to fulfil all their National League fixtures were put to bed. Leading to a ‘normal’ home match on Tuesday evening and a 3-1 victory for the hosts to savour after the perils of past seasons.

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