Stars Romesh Ranganathan and Attila The Stockbroker come out to help Leyton Orient’s cause

Leyton Orient supporters urge their team on against Doncaster Rovers (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient supporters urge their team on against Doncaster Rovers (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust chair Doug Harper praises support of football fans from around the UK

TV comic Romesh Ranganathan and punk poet Attila The Stockbroker are an unlikely pairing, but a shared love of football has seen them join the fight to save Leyton Orient.

The duo are teaming up with local names to play benefit shows at Walthamstow venue Ye Olde Rose & Crown to boost the Leyton Orient Regeneration Fund – the Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust (LOFT) initiative which was recently launched to help preserve the threatened club.

Welcoming the new names to the Orient roster, LOFT chair Doug Harper says the reaction to the appeal has been ‘almost overwhelming’.

He said: “Football supporters around the UK have responded in a big way, and our own fans have been digging deep to save OUR club.

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“In less than two weeks, we raised over £100,000 for the fund, which is incredible for a club our size; more proof that the wider football family looks after its own.”

Most recently seen on screen during Comic Relief, devoted Arsenal fan Ranganathan is a regular guest on TV panel shows like Play To The Whistle, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You. In late 2016, he released his first DVD, Irrational Live.

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However, for one night only, he’s swapping the likes of the Hammersmith Apollo or London Palladium stage to appear in the intimate setting of the Rose & Crown on April 10, co-headlining with fellow TV name (and lifelong Orient fan) Bob Mills, supported by Nig Lovell and Ninia Benjamin.

The £25 tickets have been flying out the door for the fundraiser, organized by local stand-up Susan Murray’s Red Imp Comedy club.

Performance poet/singer-songwriter (and Brighton and Hove Albion fan) Attila The Stockbroker will be joining local folk-punk legends Steve White & The Protest Family and live scene veteran Graham Larkbey at the same venue on April 1 (tickets £10/£8 concessions).

Initially championed by the late John Peel in the early 1980s as part of the ‘Ranting Poet’ movement, Attila’s career since then has encompassed a string of albums and books – most recently his autobiography ‘Arguments Yard’ (Cherry Red Books).

Steve White & The Protest Family’s latest album, ‘Protest For Dummies’, was released in 2016.

The two Rose & Crown shows are part of a planned series of benefits for the Regeneration Fund, launched on March 2 by LOFT with an initial target of £250,000. The monies will help regenerate Orient in the event of liquidation, administration or a negotiated sale of the club involving LOFT.

Orient faces an uncertain future, deep in the League Two relegation zone. Current owner, Italian waste disposal magnate Francesco Becchetti - who bought O’s shortly after it reached the League One play-off final in May 2014 - has indicated he is willing to sell the club.

It emerged on March 1 that a winding-up petition over an unpaid tax had been filed by HM Revenue and Customs, but a hearing at the High Court on Monday led to an adjournment until mid-June after the unpaid tax debt was settled.

Harper added: “Our remit as a supporters’ trust means that we have to plan for the worst – but we are doing everything we can to ensure that there is still a Leyton Orient in the future. This is our club and we will NOT let it die.”

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