Barry Hearn in Talks to Sell Leyton Orient, O’s CEO Joins Football League Board

By Community | June 27, 2014

Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn is in talks with Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti over the sale of the English League One club. 

Hearn has been owner at Brisbane Road since 1995 and put the club up for sale as long ago as 2009.

A proposed takeover came to nothing then, and Hearn went on to wage a long and unsuccessful battle against West Ham’s sole occupancy of the Olympic Stadium.

The latest disucussions were revealed in a short statement on the League One club’s website weeks after defeat in the League One play-off final.

It read: “Orient can confirm that chairman Barry Hearn is in talks with Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti regarding the sale of his shareholding in the club.

“The sale is subject to due diligence and Football League approval and the club will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

CEO Porter Joins Football League Board

Orient also revealed that their chief executive Matt Porter, has been elected to serve on the Board of The Football League.

He takes up the role of League 1 representative after Carlisle United Managing Director, John Nixon, stepped down following the club’s relegation to League 2.

Porter joined Leyton Orient in 2001 as Press Officer, a role which he occupied for five years before being made the youngest chief executive in English football by O’s chairman Barry Hearn in the summer of 2006, aged just 26. His appointment as Chief Executive coincided with the Club’s promotion to League 1 and he has overseen their progression to an established side in the division which included narrowly missing out on promotion last season. He is also the Chief Executive of the Professional Darts Corporation.

Porter will represent the 24 clubs of League 1 along with Notts County Chief Executive, James Rodwell, who was elected to the Board last year. They will serve alongside Chairman Greg Clarke, Chief Executive Shaun Harvey, Independent Non-Executive Director Richard Bowker, Championship Directors Andy Ambler (Millwall), Keith Lamb (Middlesbrough), Karl Oyston (Blackpool) and League 2 Director Ian Lenagan (Oxford United).

The Football League recently announced that the former Director of Sport at London Olympic organisers LOCOG and current Rugby World Cup 2015 Chief Executive, Debbie Jevons, will join the Board as an additional Non-Executive Director by the end of this year.

The Chairman of The Football League, Greg Clarke, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Matt to the Board of The Football League. His successful stewardship of Leyton Orient as well as his experience with other professional sports will prove a great addition to the Board. I look forward to working with him.”