Saturday’s events at Brisbane Road were a first for Leyton Orient boss Omer Riza
PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 May 2017
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The O’s game with Colchester United was disrupted by a fans protest and then they ended the match with a strange ‘keep-ball’ session
Leyton Orient manager Omer Riza admitted the events which occurred on Saturday were a first for him.
O’s supporters invaded the pitch at Brisbane Road with five minutes of their match with Colchester United remaining.
The Orient fans refused to leave the field despite repeated requests and continued to chant for chairman Francesco Becchetti to leave.
Eventually at 5.47pm the game was declared as abandoned, but just under an hour later it restarted again and finished close to 7pm.
If that was bizarre, the fact O’s and Colchester played out the final exchanges with a keep-ball session concluded a controversial day in strange circumstances.
Riza said: “I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that before. I can’t remember if in my career I have seen an occasion like that.
“I have had problems in Turkey and we won a game once and the fans still wanted to wreck our coach because we didn’t play well enough, so things like that happen, but this was a little bit different.”
The Orient boss went on to say he respects the decision of the supporters to invade the pitch to protest against Becchetti.
But Riza hoped they also understood his position, adding: “ It is what it is and I have said from day one I respect the decisions of everybody like I hope people respect my decision to get the team to perform and play and be as professional as we can be.
“This has happened now and whatever the repercussions or whatever situation occurs from it remains to be seen.”
After O’s relegation was confirmed on April 22, Riza revealed he hoped to meet with Becchetti to discuss the future before the Colchester game.
The 37-year-old wasn’t able to, but reiterated his desire to sit down with the Italian at some point soon.
He added: “There has been nothing with the president yet. I was hoping to have a meeting with him last week, but apparently he had some prior engagements.
“I am hoping we can have a meeting this week. I will keep trying to do what I am doing and keep trying to steady the ship.”
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