Sutton United v Leyton Orient (Saturday 12:30pm) - Preview
By Brian Jeeves
LEGENDARY Leyton Orient striker, Peter Kitchen, is as buoyant as any O’s fan ahead of their first campaign in the National League.
The recent takeover of the club by life-long supporter, Nigel Travis, has led to a wave of optimism, and Kitchen was no different: “What a difference a few weeks make, Kitchen told Yellow Sport ahead of the trip to Sutton United.
“The O’s fans must believe this is a fairytale. Nigel Travis and Kent Teague, major investors from the United States, have waved their magic wands, banished the wicked witch, and given the club a new lease of life.
“The pair have rebuilt the club at a rapid rate and although Orient will be playing non-league football for the first time in 112-years, there is a feeling of positivity that hasn’t been evident at Brisbane Road for many years.”
Kitchen continued: The O’s supporters have responded magnificently, snapping up 3,200 season tickets, the highest total in ten years, while the Fans Trust raised nearly £200.000 to safeguard the clubs future ahead of the takeover.
“Former owner, Barry Hearn, as returned as Life President, with previous Chief Executive Matt Porter back on the Board and Martin Ling returning as Director of Football. All popular choices with the fans.
“Some very committed staff have also returned and in new Manager, Steve Davis they have an Englishman back at the helm with experience of the lower divisions and National League football.”
Kitchen was impressed with the new players brought in by the O’s, adding: “There have also been a host of excellent new signings offering a mixture of quality, experience and leadership. Add that to the youthful exuberance that was blooded at the end of the last campaign and Orient have built themselves a useful squad.
“Pre-season has gone particularly well, preparing the team for a trip to last seasons FA Cup giant killers, Sutton United. This will be a difficult challenge, and I’m sure it will take Orient time to adjust and get the balance right. Nevertheless, there is now a feeling that the club can and will return to the Football League in the not too distant future"