Francesco Becchetti to blame for Leyton Orient's sad relegation from Football League
PUBLISHED: 14:30 26 April 2017
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The Italian has ripped the heart out of the Brisbane Road club and they are in a mess ahead of their first ever National League campaign
The inevitable finally occurred as Leyton Orient’s relegation from League Two was confirmed following a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Crewe Alexandra last weekend.
In all fairness, it had been expected since January and despite some brief moments of hope, O’s went down with a whimper at Gresty Road.
The loss against the Railwaymen came with Orient’s fifth manager of the campaign – Omer Riza – fielding eight players aged 20 or below in his starting XI.
Normally when relegation occurs the blame can be shared between several different people, but in this case it is virtually down to one man and that is arguably O’s chairman Francesco Becchetti.
The Italian has ripped the heart out of the Brisbane Road club and they are in a mess ahead of their first ever National League campaign.
We could focus on his whole time in E10, but looking at this season – Becchetti is the main reason O’s are going to be a non-league side for the first time in 112 years.
Several players were forced out at the beginning of the campaign like Dean Cox and Scott Kashket and inadequate replacements were brought in to cover their absence.
It was the start of a terrible season and when Andy Hessenthaler was sacked, Becchetti turned to Alberto Cavasin – an Italian manager who had not taken charge of a club since 2011 and not managed in England.
After a disastrous two-month spell, Cavasin left and O’s ex-Academy Director Andy Edwards had to pick up the pieces and initially did well.
But Becchetti made Edwards’ life incredibly difficult towards the end of December and then in the January transfer window, which was a crucial period in the season.
The Italian decided to put senior players up for sale and, in the end, that virtually forced the respected Edwards to resign.
Danny Webb was next to be asked to pick up the baton, but was left with a depleted squad of inexperienced teenagers and players who had been told they could leave.
To his credit, Webb managed to galvanise the players and fans, but yet again Becchetti couldn’t help himself and tried to have a say on Orient’s team selection.
After some heated rows, Webb, quite understandably, felt he couldn’t carry on and resigned days after bemoaning the lack of any long-term planning at Brisbane Road.
If this wasn’t bad enough, O’s had already been in court once over an unpaid tax bill, before Webb resigned, and although Becchetti settled the debt with HM Revenue and Customs, his promises on March 20 have failed to be followed through.
Riza was made Orient’s fifth boss of the season on March 30 and one of his first tasks was to handle the deflating news that staff and players at the club hadn’t been paid their wages for March.
Despite some more brief respite, relegation was finally confirmed on Saturday, but the main concern now is for the club employees and the future.
They are due their wages for April on Friday, but only received pay for March at the start of this week, which was close to four weeks late.
With Orient now down, Becchetti has to sell up and leave and take his lieutenants with him.
Chief Executive Alessandro Angelieri hasn’t been seen in 2017, while chief operations manager Vito Miceli’s relationship with staff is in tatters.
Relegation is just a backdrop to the chaos behind the scenes at Brisbane Road and something needs to be done fast.