Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn says the club will become London Orient if they move to the Olympic Park

Barry Hearn: Happy to change club's name

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Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn has revealed that he has proposed changing the club's name as part of their plans to move to the Olympic Park.

Orient, along with West Ham United, are hoping to become tenants of the Olympic Stadium and as part of their plans Hearn says the club are looking to replace Leyton with London to become 'London Orient'.

London mayor Boris Johnson is expected to make the decision over the future of the Olympic Stadium before the end of the month and Orient are desperate to be a part of it, even if that includes sharing with West Ham - an idea the Premier League club are not keen on.

"West Ham might not like it but a ground share with Orient makes a lot of sense to the legacy company and for the Park," Hearn told the Daily Telegraph.

"You would have the commercial Premier League entity coupled with the local community club serving the community. To enhance the point I am going to make Leyton Orient as attractive as possible as a bidder.

"Now our television rights are around £750,000, not £65 million, so commercially we are not as attractive, but we can offer a huge amount as a community club.

"We are going to change the name of the club to London Orient. We are going to give free season tickets to under-18s in London, students and members of the Armed Forces, and free family season tickets to new residents of the Olympic Park housing.

"We are going to try to go from 5,000 capacity to 30,000 by giving things back to the community. We are not interested in making money. It's very handy but we have only managed it once in the last 19 years.

"We are saying to the LLDC they can put someone on the board to make sure that we fulfil our legacy commitments. We are saying that if we are lucky enough to go up the divisions we will pay more rent, and we are also saying that any profits from the sale of Brisbane Road will be directly invested into the squad to give us the chance to succeed.

"Some of the hardcore fans will be grumbling [about changing the name] but we have got to do something dramatic. That begins with the name change and it begins with opening our arms to a whole new audience."


Hearn insists that West Ham taking on the stadium alone would amount to nothing more than a state subsidy.

"They are owned by two of the richest men in the country so why should the taxpayer effectively service their debt after years of mismanagement by previous owners?," he said.

"The stadium needs more than one football club so it is open and attracting people every weekend."

Hearn also wants retractable seating installed at a cost of £200million.

"As we have said all along the stadium was badly designed and it does not work for football without seats on the track. Temporary seats will make the stadium look like a mishmash. We can get it right but it will cost money," he said.

"It is a bitter pill to swallow, but I think Boris will try and do it properly."