FRANCESCO BECCHETTI’S troubled three-year stay as owner of Leyton Orient is over – and there was more good news as former boss Martin Ling returned as director of football.
The O’s, relegated from the Football League last season, survived a winding-up petition last week but fans were still dreaming of a takeover.
That has now become a reality after it was announced that Eagle Investments 2017 Limited, headed by Orient fan Nigel Travis, had taken control of the club.
Travis, 67, is the CEO of Dunkin’ Brands – the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins – and will be joined on the board by Dallas-based investor Kent Teague.
The deal means Orient can finally prepare properly for the new National League season following months of uncertainty over the club’s future.
New owner Travis, who will serve as chairman, said: “I have been a passionate Leyton Orient supporter for my entire life and feel a great sense of responsibility to the players, the staff, the fans and the community.
“We have challenges in front of us, and I am not under-estimating those. However, over the long-term, we believe we can return the club to the Football League.”
The departing Becchetti added: “I invested a great deal in the club in good faith and have delivered the club to Nigel Travis and his consortium without any debts to the banks, without arrears for taxes and salaries and in a normal situation with its suppliers.
“This is clearly the moment to leave the club to others and I know that in doing so I am leaving it in good hands with Nigel Travis.”
Travis’ first act as Orient owner was to bring back Ling who managed the O’s from 2003 to 2009 – winning promotion to League One in 2006.
He has been out of management since stepping down as Swindon boss in 2015 for health reasons but will serve as director of football at Brisbane Road.
Chairman Travis added: “I am delighted to announce that Martin Ling, who 11 years ago led the club to League One, has accepted the position as the club’s director of football.
“Martin’s immediate goals are to develop the squad for next season and appoint a first team coach.
“His deep ties to the club will help him build on Leyton Orient’s heritage of developing strong young talent through its academy.
“Longer-term, along with the new management team, Martin is committed to return Leyton Orient to its winning days.”