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West Ham should be ‘petrified’ of Leyton Orient under Becchetti as the only way is up for O’s, says Hearn

New Leyton Orient owner Francesco Becchetti at his unveiling at Brisbane Road on Thursday. Pic: Simon O'Connor New Leyton Orient owner Francesco Becchetti at his unveiling at Brisbane Road on Thursday. Pic: Simon O'Connor

Friday, July 11, 2014
4:34 PM

Former O’s chairman Barry Hearn admits near neighbours West Ham United should be ‘petrified’ of Leyton Orient under new owner Francesco Becchetti.

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Hearn sold all his shares to the Italian in a deal which was confirmed on Monday ahead of yesterday’s press conference.

And having spent plenty of time with Becchetti, Hearn feels he can now sit back as a fan of the O’s and enjoy the good times.

“The future is unbelievable,” said Hearn. “This guy wants to be a winner yesterday, that’s in his DNA. I am a winner, but this guy is another level.

“I want to watch it and I am excited. Orient fans must be excited, if they aren’t what are they going to get excited by?

“If I was West Ham I would be petrified of this man. This guy can do anything he wants to do if he has the belief and the passion.”

Talks between the Italian and Hearn had been taking place for some time, with a deal in place even before the O’s play-off final penalty shoot-out defeat to Rotherham United in May.

And when asked why he sold to Becchetti, Hearn felt he could see a ‘glimmer’ in his eye, and a little bit of himself.

“I listen to this friend on my right and I look in his eyes and I see a little bit of Barry Hearn 20 years ago,” he added.

“He has excitement, vision, enthusiasm but most of all, as all Italians have he has a wealth of passion. This guy is not here to mess around.

“It didn’t effect the result of the play-off final, we were talking before that. Francesco and I basically had the deal in place before that because I knew win or lose this man was still the right man to take the club to the next level.”

And under the new leadership of Becchetti, Hearn believes the only way is up for ‘his’ club.

But if he had turned down the advances of the Italian businessman, he admits it would have been the worst thing he could do for the club.

“Over the years I have always been consistent in saying the moment I find someone in my view that can take this club further than I can, I am out,” remarked Hearn.

“After six/seven/eight different approaches from various companies over the last 10 years, none of which have ticked my boxes, I suddenly find a man who ticks all my boxes and I am very happy to hand over the custodianship of this great club to Francesco.

“He has a team that he’s brought with him, and I believe he is the man that will take this club to a level that is perhaps beyond my imagination and I as an Orient fan am excited to be watching this happen.

“I’m 66, I have a great business and I love every single day of my life, but I also understand my limitations.

“I would never have forgiven myself for what I had done to Leyton Orient had I turned down this approach from Francesco. At the end of the day I came into this club as a fan and I stay on as a fan.

Becchetti will make a complete break from his Italian roots with his family making the move to the capital.

And that commitment makes Hearn feel this venture will be a success for the new O’s chief, and the club as a whole.

“I hate boring people. One thing I will tell you about Francesco, he is not going to be boring,” said Hearn.

“When I looked at Francesco and the make up of the team he has brought with him, and the fact that he’s moving to London, actually making a commitment there, it speaks volumes.”

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