CEO defends Newcastle switch

AS Orient prepare for their first home friendly of the season against Newcastle United on Saturday, chief executive Matt Porter defended the club s decision to play the match. The O s were scheduled to travel to Luton Town at the weekend, but pulled out o

AS Orient prepare for their first home friendly of the season against Newcastle United on Saturday, chief executive Matt Porter defended the club's decision to play the match.

The O's were scheduled to travel to Luton Town at the weekend, but pulled out of the game when the opportunity to play Newcastle came along.

The Blue Square Premier side were upset at losing the fixture last week and Hatters managing director Gary Sweet condemened the O's for pulling out so late on.

A statement on the Luton website from Sweet said: "We are very disappointed that an arrangement which was set in concrete has been withdrawn at this late stage by Leyton Orient."


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While Luton Town director Antony Brown added: "We are extremely dissatisfied with Leyton Orient's approach.

"If we were in a similar situation, under no circumstances would we have cancelled the game."

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But Porter defended Orient's decision and told the Recorder: "I can understand Luton's disappointment and it was not a situation we intended.

"The offer from Newcastle to come and play us was very appealing and it created a difficult situation.

"But we have offered Luton a suitable sum for pulling out of the fixture."

The O's chief executive also revealed that season-ticket sales have held up well this summer despite the recession.

Last year the club had almost 3,000 season-ticket holders and Porter added: "We are very close to last season's figure. We have cut prices because of the financial climate, but sales have been stable and we are close to touching last season's levels."

With Charlton, Southampton and Norwich dropping down from the Championship, Brentford, Wycombe and Gillingham coming up and Leeds United missing out on promotion, Porter expects crowds to rise at Brisbane Road this season.

"We're expecting eight or nine very big crowds," he said and he insists the club will be able to cope with the prospect of several sell-out fixtures.

"We will be able to handle crowds of 8,000 without a problem," he added.

"There will be a few occasions when we will give over the East Stand to the visitors.

"But each season we have less and less season ticket holders in that stand, so the number of our supporters we have to transfer to different areas of the ground is not so great.

"Looking at the fixtures, we would hope to average around five-and-a-half thousand this season," added Porter.

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