Former Orient captain ‘gutted’ about relegation and picks key mistake made by the club
PUBLISHED: 16:30 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 17:36 27 May 2015
John Mackie discusses managerial changes throughout 2014/15 campaign and what president Francesco Becchetti got wrong more than anything else
While Leyton Orient supporters continue to wait for a new manager to be appointed, former captain John Mackie believes the most significant mistake made last season occurred back in October.
Fabio Liverani, the fourth O’s boss under the president Francesco Becchetti, left the Brisbane Road club by mutual consent on May 13 following relegation.
Ian Hendon is expected to replace the Italian with an announcement anticipated tomorrow, but Mackie believes the departure of former chief executive Matt Porter on October 1 was when the problems really started for the E10 outfit.
Porter was CEO of Orient during Barry Hearn’s time at the club but once Becchetti took charge last summer, Alessandro Angelieri replaced him.
He remained at Brisbane Road as a director before being told by Angelieri that he needed to resign and depart the club.
Mackie, 38, believes that was a key mistake made by the Italian president and even more important than having four managers throughout the campaign which resulted in them suffering relegation to League Two.
“I am shocked and gutted really that the club got relegated. I went to the Crewe Alexandra game on November 22 and I said after that I thought Crewe would go down because they weren’t up to much,” said Mackie.
“Orient won 4-1 that day so I didn’t see any problems. I went to the Port Vale game on March 28 and it was 3-1 and I couldn’t see that they would go down.
“I don’t know why relegation happened? Obviously there has been drastic changes throughout the club from top to bottom in such a small space of time and it hasn’t worked. I said from day one the biggest regret, and I still think this, was getting rid of Matthew Porter, the chief executive.
“They have had four managers but it doesn’t matter how many managers they appoint or sack, allowing Matt to leave was always going to be the biggest regret because he was a fan foremost, but he was also excellent at his job.
“He was the go between for the fans and the players, the players and the manager and the manager and the chairman.
“I think once he went, looking from the outside, it seemed there wasn’t anybody to turn to for the players if they needed something sorted out upstairs, and the fans were asking questions and not getting answers so I think letting him leave was a big, big mistake from the club.”
Mackie, who captained O’s to promotion from League Two during the 2005/06 campaign, also felt Kevin Nugent wasn’t given long enough in charge.
The 46-year-old took over as caretaker manager at Brisbane Road after Russell Slade left in September but Mauro Milanese was named as new Orient boss on October 26.
Nugent, who presided over seven games whilst in charge of the club, only secured two victories as caretaker – one against Dagenham & Redbridge in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, but Mackie felt he deserved a crack at the top job.
He admitted the decision to appoint two Italians managers afterwards, with little experience of the lower leagues, backfired badly on Orient.
“The president gave Kevin Nugent a chance but not for very long and then Milanese was appointed,” added Mackie.
“Becchetti hasn’t really come out and said too much so you don’t know what he is thinking.
“He probably thought Orient have got to the play-off final last season and were one kick away from the Championship so with his input of money, they would get to the Championship straight away, but it doesn’t always work like that.
“Becchetti got rid of Russell straight away, well he left or whatever the situation was, but he obviously wasn’t wanted.
“Kevin wasn’t given enough time and the next two didn’t know too much about League One football and really it was just a recipe for disaster.”