Leyton Orient boss slams football debt culture

Posted on March 7, 2010

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*Article originally appeared in The Hackney Post

Leyton Orient manager Geraint Williams has attacked the debt culture of British football, saying it makes his task of bringing success to Brisbane Road all the more difficult.

Williams, who saw his side succumb to a 1-0 defeat at MK Dons on Saturday, said football would have to change its ways to avoid disaster.

“The amount of money that has gone in at the top is unbelievable,” he said. “It’s unbelievable that clubs can be in so much debt, and the only ones that aren’t have got someone very, very rich behind them footing the bills.

“I think that football’s going to have to learn to cut its cloth accordingly otherwise a lot more clubs will be in financial peril.”

The Orient manager, who recently celebrated a year in the job, bemoaned the limitations of the club’s budget compared to other sides in League One.

“I think that if you look at our league now, apart from maybe one or two clubs, it’s probably almost in ascending order of budget,” he said. “More money doesn’t guarantee success, but it does mean you’ve got the opportunity to pick up better quality players.

“We are short on numbers. We’ve got nineteen outfield pros, and that’s with three or four young lads, so we are very short on numbers at the moment. But to get the quality in the starting 11 that I want, that’s the way I’ve gone with the budget”.

In spite of the lack of funds, Williams said the club was building for the future.

“We’ve tried to make improvements as we’ve gone along, not just in first team results. We’ve looked at the scouting network at first team level, also at youth level, and we’ve looked at the youth set-up.”

He joined chairman Barry Hearn in saying that a move to the Olympic Stadium in 2012 was unfeasible, but suggested that the club’s long-term future lay away from Brisbane Road.

“I think if you want to build a club up then you’ve got to have bigger crowds than the 9,000 capacity that we have at the moment. Having said that, you’ve got to fill the [current] stadium first before you build a bigger stadium, so it’s a progression”.

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