Leyton Orient’s new owners have wasted little time in making their first appointment and it is likely to be a welcome one for O’s fans as a familiar face has returned to the club. It has been announced that Martin Ling will take on the role of Director of Football.
New Chairman Nigel Travis made the following statement regarding the appointment:
[blocktext align=”center”]I am delighted to announce that Martin Ling, who eleven years ago led the Club to League One, has accepted the position as the Club’s Director of Football. Martin’s immediate goals are to develop the squad for next season and appoint a first team coach. His deep ties to the Club will help him build on Leyton Orient’s heritage of developing strong young talent through its academy. Longer-term, along with the new management team, Martin is committed to return Leyton Orient to its winning days.”[/blocktext]
Martin Ling has a strong, long-standing connection to the club, a wealth of experience scouting, coaching and managing at both youth and senior levels. Therefore, he appears to be an ideal fit for his new role.
Ling signed for the O’s as a player in 1996 and went on to make over 150 appearances in an Orient shirt over four years. He briefly left E10 in 2000 to join Brighton & Hove Albion but returned later that year to become youth coach at Orient.
In October 2003, Martin Ling succeeded Paul Brush as manager of the first team. At that time the O’s were second from bottom in the fourth tier. Ling managed to steer Orient away from relegation as they finished 19th and in the following year, he took the O’s up to 11th place in his first full season in charge.
Orient’s improvement under Ling continued in the 2005/06 campaign as a dramatic final-day win against Oxford secured 3rd place for the O’s and the club’s first automatic promotion for 36 years.
After surviving a relegation battle in the first campaign in League One, Ling led the O’s to a 14th place finish in 2007/08. A bad run of form during the season that followed led to Martin Ling’s departure in January 2009.
During almost six seasons in charge at Brisbane Road, Ling managed 280 games. Of those games, 98 were victories, giving him a 35% win percentage as O’s boss.
Ling went on to have managerial spells with Cambridge United and Torquay United. The 50-year-old’s most recent role was as manager of Swindon in 2015.
Since then, Ling has been focusing on youth coaching and commentary with BBC London sport.
The announcement of Martin Ling’s return is expected to be the first of many over the coming days as there is much work ahead as the new regime prepare for the National League campaign.