Leyton Orient CEO lauds NHS and explains why League Two club have offered free tickets to medical staff as thanks for tireless work during coronavirus pandemic

Leyton Orient may have hit the headlines for their Ultimate QuaranTeam FIFA tournament in recent weeks – but that’s not the only good work the League Two club are doing off the pitch during the coronavirus crisis.

The O’s announced earlier this week that they will be offering 100 free tickets to NHS staff for all home games starting from next season to say thank you for their excellent work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, Orient will also be offering season tickets at a discounted rate for NHS workers, those who work for the emergency services and armed forces, and Waltham Forest Council employees.

There has been much praise directed at NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the ongoing pandemic
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The east London side don’t intend to stop there, either; Orient CEO Danny Macklin has confirmed the club are also exploring ways they can help to support other key workers when the pandemic is over.

Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Macklin said: “First and foremost, we, throughout normal business, are genuinely a community club.

“We are very proud of our roots and we wanted to make sure those who are on the front line, especially with the NHS and care workers, are given a really small reward.

“We have an awful lot of fans who are in that sector and are doing a sterling job. We have heard first-hand from nurses and doctors and cleaners in hospitals about the work they are doing and that can’t be praised enough.

“We already offer hugely discounted season tickets to those groups, as well as other sectors, and we wanted to make those available for matchdays for every game next season at the Breyer Group Stadium.

“We will make it very clear, very concise, and very simple for them to apply for those tickets, and I think we’ll be inundated.

“We want to recognise that, at the moment, all we can do is stand with the nation and applaud; but we will be coming up with some creative ways that we can do as a club to thank those and perhaps even other sectors, like supermarket workers.

“Whilst we are at a club that has got to make sure we look after ourselves, we also at the same time want to make sure we are looking after all our stakeholders and all our community, and we can’t thank people enough for everyone that is doing their bit.

“Whether you are a refuse collector or a doctor, the effort they’re putting in puts an awful lot of perspective into the hardship that many are facing, and we’d be suffering even more hardship if it weren’t for the hard work that they are putting in.”

All Premier League and Football League action is currently suspended until April 30 at the earliest due to the global pandemic, while all National League action has been suspended indefinitely.

All non-league football at Steps 3 to 6 has already ended, however, with the entire season being expunged by the Football Association.


The coronavirus pandemic has not just affected teams on the field, though, with many clubs having to ask players to take wage cuts or put members of staff on furlough leave, a decision already taken by Premier League sides Tottenham and Newcastle .

However, Macklin says the League Two club will be doing everything to look after its community, and he also confirmed the two Orient players who had been diagnosed with coronavirus are recovering well.

“They [the two players] had very mild symptoms and I’m pleased to report that they are very much recovering and recovered from that,” he finished.

“They’ll be champing at the bit like the rest of the squad, when it’s safe and appropriate and under the right advice, to be back out there training and hopefully prepping to continue the rest of the season.

“As a club and to be completely open, we are looking at every option that is available out there to help us through this very difficult time. We’re blessed with having a very successful dynamic and engaging board, but that doesn’t address our cash flow issues completely.

“We have to make sure we are thriving during this difficult period and when we come out, we want to be an even stronger community club and even stronger in its roots.

“We’ll be reviewing all options and doing what is required to make sure we are a sustainable football club moving forward.

“We want to put our thanks out there to all of our staff at the moment that are putting in a huge amount of effort to make sure the club can achieve those aims.”