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Hearn denies 'compo' charge

Filed: Tuesday, 1st October 2013
By: Staff Writer

Leyton Orient empresario Barry Hearn has vowed to keep on fighting the decision to award use of the Olympic Stadium to West Ham United - whilst denying that his motivation is greed.

The 65-year-old Essex-based businessman, whose bid to overturn the LLDC's decision ended in failure after his call for a judicial review was rejected by the High Court last month admitted that he understood why some viewed financial gain as his primary incentive.

But speaking in an interview with (Tottenham supporter) Mihir Bose for today's Evening Standard, Hearn rejected such claims, insisting that his crusade was "a moral issue" instead.

"I can understand the mentality of people who think that. Because my nature is fairly loud and brash, they think Barryís after some compensation," he said.

"Actually, compensation is a waste of time. If youíre going down the slippery slope, all youíre doing is delaying the demise of a League One club. That is inevitable if a Premier League club move in only 750 yards from their doorstep.

"We understand youíve got to have a major team in there. But what about us? Are we just to be forgotten?

"Itís not about Jack the Lad, Barry Hearn, trying to nick a few quid or cause trouble. The biggest issue is the moral issue. Iíve been fighting in the courts for three years and itís not in my nature to fund lawyers' holidays and expense accounts to the tune of £750,000 just to cause trouble.

"What is ludicrous is that people see me as the sort of operator thatís always looking for money. I am not in football to make money."

Once again, Hearn's claims were dismissed by West Ham who reiterated the fact that Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road ground was actually one-and-a-half miles from the Olympic Stadium, not 750 yards as Hearn continues to claim - and outside the London Borough of Newham, unlike both Upton Park and Stratford.

And Hearn's apparently altruistic motives are in sharp contrast to comments he made in 2006, when he told the Daily Telegraph: "I'm going to put enough in to keep it [LOFC] going and hopefully to have some fun myself. It's quite selfish.

"I'm doing this for Barry Hearn. I'm not doing it for the fans. The number of chairmen who say 'I'm doing it for the community'? To be honest that's a load of b*llocks. I'm doing this for me."

You may read the entire interview with Barry Hearn on the Evening Standard's website.

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