Crisis club Leyton Orient have been taken over by a consortium headed by the British-born boss of the company that runs Dunkin’ Donuts.
Lifelong fan Nigel Travis, 67, and Eagle Investments 2017 have bought out Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti, who had been urged to sell up by fans following a period of rapid decline that saw them relegated to non-league level at the end of last season and face a winding-up order.
Travis, from Woodford in east London, is chairman and chief executive of Dunkin’ Brands, the American company that owns Dunkin’ Donuts and ice cream retailers Baskin-Robbins.
“I have been a passionate Leyton Orient supporter for my entire life and feel a great sense of responsibility to the players, the staff, the fans and the community,” he said.
“We have challenges in front of us, and I am not underestimating those. However, over the long-term, we believe we can return the Club to the Football League.”
In his previous role as president of Papa John’s, the pizza chain became a sponsor of Orient. He has also held senior positions at Blockbuster and Burger King.
The new Orient chairman says he intends to hire “an experienced chief executive” and that season tickets will go on sale “soon and will be priced to reflect the National League status”.
Becchetti bought Orient from multi-sport entrepreneur Barry Hearn in 2014 but has seen them drop two divisions in three years and fall into severe financial difficulties.
The club avoided administration earlier this month when Becchetti settled debts with four creditors but, with a shortage of players and kit doubts remained over the club’s viability.