Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Won't Allow Orient to Be Bullied, Insists Slade; LEYTON ORIENT Having Shown Their Fight on the Pitch, Manager Says Club Will Prove a Point off It in Their Bid to Overturn Olympic Stadium Decision

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Won't Allow Orient to Be Bullied, Insists Slade; LEYTON ORIENT Having Shown Their Fight on the Pitch, Manager Says Club Will Prove a Point off It in Their Bid to Overturn Olympic Stadium Decision

Article excerpt

Byline: Julian Bennetts

IT is almost a year since Barry Hearn took over snooker and began his mission to transform the sport.

He has had some success -- just look at the attention the World Snooker Championship Final got a couple of weeks ago when John Higgins edged Judd Trump in a thrilling contest.

Hearn's other love, Leyton Orient, have been in the headlines almost as much over the last year after what has been a campaign fans won't forget.

Having avoided relegation by a point in 2009/10, one win in their first seven games last season saw Orient's odds on dropping into League Two cut dramatically.

Since then, the club's renaissance has been astonishing and they fell just one point short of making the play-offs.

They also enjoyed a fine run in the FA Cup, culminating in a fifth-round replay against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium which earned the club around [pounds sterling]1million and manager Russell Slade and his players the all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas courtesy of their chairman, Hearn.

Yet the club's best finish to a season since 1993 has been played out against a backdrop of the ongoing Olympic Stadium saga, which many supporters fear could ultimately force Orient out of business.

Hearn has indicated he will not allow the move to go ahead without a bitter legal fight but Slade is clear the issue has been the only cloud on what has been a memorable season.

"It has been fantastic, this season has been a great journey for us," said Slade, who was appointed full-time manager after arriving last April and avoiding relegation. "Having said that, there is the disappointment that we finished outside of the play-offs.

"As a club we have shown we will fight on the pitch and now we have to do the same off the pitch as well, with the Olympic Stadium.

"We need to ensure we won't be bullied in all of this and that we won't lie down and take it. Ultimately, it's prob-ably helped us this season and that showed in the FA Cup run and the publicity that gave us. …

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