Leyton Orient match ends behind closed doors after fans invade pitch in Francesco Becchetti protest

tom dutton
PA

Leyton Orient's match against Colchester United was abandoned after fans invaded the pitch in the 85th minute to protest against the club's owner Francesco Becchetti, eventually finishing behind closed doors.

The O's dropped out of the Football League for the first time in 112 years following last week's defeat to Crewe.

Around 250 fans swept onto the field of play as the players darted off the pitch and down the tunnel, with play suspended five minutes from time.

Efforts were made to restart the game, while Colchester tweeted that the match had been announced as abandoned over the Tannoy system at 5:48pm - over an hour after the game was originally due to finish.

However, the players and officials took to the pitch once again after 6:25pm after the stadium had emptied, with play resuming once again.

Leyton Orient staff were paid their wages for March on Monday, 24 days after they were due.

Before receiving their pay, Orient employees issued a statement calling on the FA and the EFL to help them.

The EFL have sought answers from owner Becchetti about his plans for the club in written form, but received no reply. The EFL said: “Silence is not an acceptable response.”

And fans have now weighed in to make their voices heard.

Orient supporters on the pitch were heard singing "Orient is ours, F*** off Bechetti, Orient is ours" and "sit down for the Orient" as a sit-in protest commenced.

Visiting Colchester fans remained in the stands, but applauded those on the pitch.

Journalist Iain Macintosh: "There's no way that this game is getting finished today. Orient fans in open rebellion now."

The wages saga is just the latest off-field issue to hit the club.

Danny Webb became the fourth manager to leave the club this season when he resigned in March just days after the the club faced a winding-up order over an unpaid tax bill in the High Court.

The winding-up petition was adjourned until June 12 after the club settled a £250,000 debt.

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