The National League leaders were surprised to find themselves on the receiving end of a derogatory comment from snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan, but they weren’t about to take it lying down
It’s a wonderful time to be a Leyton Orient fan right now. After a disastrous three years under the ownership of Italian ‘businessman’ Francesco Becchetti, who oversaw two relegations in three years, whilst hiring and firing eleven different managers, the Os were taken over by East London-born executive Nigel Travis in the summer of 2017.
Now, after a season of steadying the ship, Orient are flying, sitting atop the National League, losing just one game in their opening 23 fixtures, selling out matches at Brisbane Road, setting club records left, right and centre and generally enjoying life again.
But this seemed to escape the attention of Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has constantly complained about the amount of tournaments in world snooker and the amount of travelling expected and has openly discussed plans to form a breakaway ‘Champions League-style’ snooker tour.
He recently said:
“The public will have the choice of the best playing each other every week. You don’t see Leyton Orient turning up to play Lionel Messi at Barcelona. It does not happen. It is demotivating.
“Messi would get fed up having to playing Huddersfield Town and Orient. He wants to play against Cristiano Ronaldo and wants to hear the Champions League music. It gets you excited. There is space for two tours. Everyone loves choice.
“As a sportsman, I like to see the green jacket in golf, I like to see Roger Federer in tennis coming out looking slick at Wimbledon. I don’t want to see Federer at Richmond Park having to qualify for Wimbledon.
“The guy deserves a bit more than that. If they asked him to do that he would probably swerve it. John Higgins is no different to Federer or Rafael Nadal, they are in different sports but at the same level of class.”
Leyton Orient, though, were not about to suffer this slur lightly, with their Twitter account posting this excellent tweet:
The Os are bang right: while they’ve lost just one league match all season, Barcelona have lost two - meanwhile, Orient have played 23, while Barcelona have played just 14.
Another fan was quick to point out the fact that Barcelona actually do play smaller teams than Orient:
Of course, not everyone got the tongue-in-cheek nature of Orient’s post:
O’Sullivan’s choice of Orient in his example was no doubt motivated in part by his constant clashes with World Snooker boss Barry Hearn who, of course, owned the club for almost 20 years.
For once, though, Orient could stand up for themselves after being used as the butt of a joke.
Perhaps Ronnie should go down to Brisbane Road and see for himself the glorious football the Os are playing this season? I’ll meet you in the West Stand mate.