A £1m pledge from the owner of Leyton Orient FC has saved the club from a winding-up order, but fans believe the club is still in "mortal danger".
A judge at a Bankruptcy & Companies Court hearing in London adjourned a winding-up order brought by HMRC after hearing that the club had settled around £250,000 of unpaid taxes.
The club’s barrister, Andrew Shaw, urged the judge to adjourn the hearing after explaining that owner Francesco Becchetti had promised to provide £1m within the next eight to ten weeks to pay any unpaid bills.
Registrar Nicholas Briggs gave the Italian businessman until 12 June to pay off all remaining debts or sell the east London club, which is currently bottom of League Two and in danger of dropping into non-league football.
The hearing was told the club has four other creditors and its debts included £35,000 owed to a council, £18,000 owed to an events management firm and £6,000 owed to a photographer.
Tax officials abandoned their winding-up order, but the events company, Central Circle Event Management, is considering launching one of its own.
Adam Michaelson, of the Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust, said he thought the total debt was probably more than was detailed in court and said: This club is still in mortal danger.
In respect of a potential sale, we would call upon Mr Becchetti now to look to sell the club at the earliest possible opportunity and make good on the promise that he’s made.
Kelly Kaye, who has been a fan for 32 years, said: It would be good if the club could be sold.
I would like it to go to somebody who can actually take care of it and look after it properly. We’ve got a great history, she added.
In January, Becchetti said he would be willing to consider selling the club, which has been in existence for 112 years and which he bought in 2014.
The club’s latest set of accounts, from the year ending 30 June 2015, showed it had debts of around £5.5m, slightly more than the value of the club’s assets.
(c) Sky News 2017: Leyton Orient stave off winding up order after £1m pledge by owner