After suffering humiliation, despair and relegation last season, iconic Leyton Orient FC have re-grouped and re-energised since the long-awaited change in ownership. If one thing became crystal clear during those challenging times, it was the resolute loyalty of both the Orient fans and their key staff. No one demonstrates this better than Martin Ling.
Ling, who was born just 2.5 miles from the O’s stadium, and who managed the O’s for more than five years, between 2003 and 2009, leading the club to League One, has now been appointed as Leyton Orient FC’s Director of Football, and has already helped changed the general mood and perception at the Matchroom Stadium. Not even 24 hours had passed since former owner Francesco Becchetti sold his stake in the club, before Ling had signed back with his former club, as Director of Football.
It is clear that Ling considers Becchetti to have been the worst thing ever to have happened to Leyton Orient, telling The Sun “If there is to be a textbook on how NOT to run a football club, Becchetti would be the author.” Ling’s own son, Sam, had played at the club during the chaotic period, and experienced six managers in just two years – highlighting the ridiculous turnover under the hapless Italian.
Ling is clearly focused on getting the Orient squad up to full strength, and seemed happy with the flurry of recent acquisitions like Craig Clay, Macauley Bonne, George Elokobi, Christian Scales, Alex Lawless, Jake Caprice, Charlie Lee and Joe Widdowson – explaining that players with experience in the National League were going to be of great value to the team in the year ahead. But, he also stressed the importance of the more experienced players, like Mooney and Grainger, in giving the Club some real backbone and inspiring the younger guys. Ling joined Mooney and Teague in conveying his optimism and confidence in the team for the approaching season, and also revealed that there are a few more signings still to be made.
Exciting times indeed!