Leyton Orient: President Francesco Becchetti will "consider offers" for club

Francesco Becchetti
Francesco Becchetti bought Leyton Orient from Barry Hearn in the summer of 2014

Leyton Orient president Francesco Becchetti will consider "appropriate offers" for the east London club.

Becchetti took over the O's in 2014, after the side had been beaten in the League One play-off final by Rotherham.

Nine different men have taken charge of the first team since then, but Orient are now 20th in League Two, two points above the relegation zone.

Chief executive Alessandro Angelieri says Becchetti has already received one offer, but it was "not acceptable".

In a statement on the club website, Angelieri said the actions of the club hierarchy since their takeover from Barry Hearn had always been "in good faith" and they were "fully confident" they would avoid relegation to the National League.

Players 'miss Becchetti's charisma'

The statement comes after BBC Sport posed a series of questions to Orient on Thursday, enquiring about; the club's future under Becchetti, recent transfer policy, plans in case of relegation and whether the running of the club had been affected by Angelieri suffering a minor heart attack late last year.

Despite his own ill health, the Italian said Becchetti's inability to be around the club in recent weeks because of his business commitments had had "a more negative impact" on the squad.

"Mr Becchetti has a great charisma and the players definitely feel his absence." Angelieri added.

Angelieri also described the contribution of Jordan Bowery, who joined Crewe on loan this week, as "imperceptible" and accused the striker and former players Darius Henderson, Jobi McAnuff and Jay Simpson of lacking commitment and desire.

Becchetti's colourful ownership

Since buying the Matchroom Stadium side, Italian businessman Becchetti, 50, has hit the headlines several times during his stewardship of the club, including;

  • Broadcasting a reality TV show on his Albanian channel for Italian players to win a contract with Orient
  • Successfully fighting an extradition treaty issued by the Albanian government with charges of fraud, forgery and money-laundering over a failed hydro-electric scheme
  • Making the squad train after the season had finished following relegation from League One in 2015
  • Ordering the first team to stay in a hotel for several days during a dip in form under former boss Ian Hendon
  • Receiving a six-match stadium ban and a £40,000 fine from the Football Association for aiming a kick at assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler
  • His high turnover of managers, including appointing three Italian coaches who had no previous experience of managing in England

Becchetti rarely gives interviews to the media, last speaking to BBC London in February 2015.

The supporters' view

Becchetti putting the O's up for sale finally clarifies his position to fans, following months of uncertainty about his intentions.

Leyton Orient Fans' Trust (LOFT) organised a protest against his ownership during a home match against Blackpool on 19 November, calling on him to change the way he runs the club or consider selling.

LOFT spokesperson Tom Davies told BBC Radio London this month that they could not see "sustainable success" being achieved under Becchetti's ownership.

Supporters are also concerned by both on-field performances, with Orient in danger of being relegated to non-league for the first time since joining the Football League in 1905, and the financial situation at the club.

In a further statement to BBC Sport, Angelieri said Becchetti "didn't like" the protest in November, and "is not interested in what LOFT generally does".

However, LOFT said they remained committed to turning the club around rather than forming a phoenix side in lower non-league like FC United of Manchester or AFC Wimbledon.

"The Orient, throughout our history, have been up against it at various times but we have always survived and been able to compete," Davies added.

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