Leyton Orient served with winding-up order over unpaid tax bills

01 March 2017

Leyton Orient have been served with a winding-up order over unpaid tax bills and will appear in court next month.

The struggling League Two club will have the case heard at the High Court on March 20 after a petition was presented on February 2.

Orient are already in danger of dropping out of the Football League and now face liquidation if they cannot settle their debts to HM Revenue and Customs.

They currently sit second-from-bottom of League Two and six points adrift of safety.

Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti bought the club from Barry Hearn in July 2014 but their fortunes have plummeted under his ownership.

When Becchetti arrived, the O's had just been denied promotion to the Championship following a penalty shoot-out defeat to Rotherham in the play-off final.

They have since had nine different managers and dropped to the brink of relegation from League Two.

Chief executive Alessandro Angelieri announced in January that Becchetti was prepared to sell Orient and that one offer had been rejected, deemed "not acceptable for a number of reasons".

The club would become less attractive to potential investors if they are relegated to the National League.

The Leyton Orient Fans' Trust will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss setting up a £100,000 'fighting fund', to be used if Becchetti either agreed to sell the club to its supporters or Orient fell into administration.

The fund could also be put towards launching a new 'phoenix club' in the event of liquidation but will not be used to pay off debts currently owed.

Orient face a crunch trip on Saturday to bottom-club Newport, who sit three points behind the O's but with a game in hand.