Orient ‘should be proud’
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Chairman Hearn tries to lift spirits
Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has told the O’s players that they should feel proud by this season’s performances, despite the agonising play-off final loss against Rotherham.
The east Londoners had been top of the league for 22 weeks of the season but faded in the second half of the campaign to finish behind Wolves and Brentford.
They overcame big-spending Peterborough in the play-off semi-final but were cruelly beaten on penalties by the Millers at Wembley.
However, Hearn believes the O’s should be proud of their achievements over the campaign which included setting records for best start and the most points over a season.
Hearn told the dejected players in the Wembley dressing room: “You had a great season and in 24 hours time you will see this game differently.
“For the moment, you’re absolutely gutted which is understandable but looking back on it you’ll say you performed well at Wembley on the biggest stage of all, now go and do it again [next season].”
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Orient fans will be afraid the likes of Dean Cox, Moses Odubajo and others might be snapped up by Championship sides this summer.
But Hearn insisted that any side looking to buy the O’s key players would have to match their valuation.
“They’re all under contract,” he said. “I don’t need to do anything, as usual, but we’re in the commercial business.
“We’ll see if people come in but we’re not looking to make any changes. We’re happy to go into battle next season with the same squad we have now and the same manager.”
Last season’s losing play-off finalists Watford and Northampton struggled the following season, with only Brentford moving forward, but Hearn believes Orient have a chance of emulating the Bees’ promotion next year.
“I take heart from breathing God’s air and trying my nuts off on everything I do,” he said.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As long as we’re alive and we’re kicking, we’ve got a chance.
“I think the team did fantastic with the resources and the squad size. They’ve done an amazing job this year and I’ve got to ask them to do it again next year.”
Hearn had said the club wouldn’t have made any money from reaching the national stadium and revealed next season’s budget would be partly dependent on season ticket sales.
“It depends on our turnover as 60 per cent of what we take goes on players,” he said.
“It’s very straightforward - no egos, no nonsense, no Bertie big bollocks, no fur coat, no knickers with us. It’s what it is.”
Hearn was not going to allow anyone to feel sorry for him and looked to put the penalty pain into perspective.
“That’s life. You get beat. Some games you win, some games you lose,” he added.
“Devastation only lasts a little while. When you look back on it, devastation is when something really, really serious happens in your life.
“This is a game of football and we haven’t been promoted. That’s not real devastation.
“Devastation is when your house has disappeared along with your wife and children. That’s devastation.
“This is a game of football. We tried our best, we nearly got it. It wasn’t our day.
“We have to say that’s the game and now go on and try again. Keep it all in perspective.”