Leyton Orient chairman Nigel Travis explains Carl Fletcher sacking after 29 days: ‘We don’t blame him, we blame ourselves – we screwed up’

15 Nov

Leyton Orient chairman Nigel Travis has revealed just why he took the ruthless decision to sack manager Carl Fletcher after just 29 days in charge, saying ‘we screwed up’.

The League Two club ended their long search for the late Justin Edinburgh’s successor last month by appointing former Plymouth Argyle boss Fletcher on a two-year contract.

But he was dismissed by Orient on Thursday evening after less than a month in the job having failed to win any of his five matches as boss, and his short spell raised plenty of eyebrows.

And so Travis joined talkSPORT on Friday to lift the lid on Fletcher’s brief stint, but insisted the blame is on the club and not the coach.

Speaking to Jim White, he explained Fletcher’s ability as a football manager was not in question, he simply did not fit with the club’s ‘unique’ culture.

“It’s gone spectacularly wrong, and we recognise that,” the Brisbane Road chief said on Friday.

“We did a very thorough search, Carl came in and we thought he was going to be the perfect person.

“He has a very strong technical background, great coaching pedigree, a very strong history at Bournemouth a club we really admire and previous manager experience in League Two.

“But what happened, in short, is the fit wasn’t right.”

Travis – a boyhood O’s fan – divides his time between his role with the London club and his job in Boston, USA, as chairman of American food chains Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.

He recently wrote a book called The Challenge Culture on the subject of leadership, and he conceded he is embarrassed he did not spot the problems sooner.

And he added he would have no hesitation to recommend Fletcher to other clubs, saying he already made an impact on the training pitch during his brief spell in charge.

Former Wales international Carl Fletcher lasted just 29 days as Leyton Orient boss
Getty Images – Getty

“The cultural fit just wasn’t right, and it’s kind of embarrassing for me, having written a book on culture, that I failed to see it,” he explained.

“But we don’t blame him, we blame ourselves.

“We’d recommend Carl. He did some terrific things on the training field, he is a great coach and he demonstrated that, but it just wasn’t the way we did things.

“The thing that didn’t work was the engagement with our community, the engagement with the coaches, the players, the club the fans.

“We could see people were not enjoying themselves they weren’t having the joy we believe is important in our club.

“I think somehow we put him in a spot where he had to step up and handle a culture that probably needs some unique talents.

“You have to find a way to break into that culture to really engage with the fans, coaches and players to energise them, and somehow that didn’t happen.

“So we decided that rather than let this go on, be fair to Carl and be fair to us, we had to make a change.”

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Nigel Travis, a lifelong Leyton Orient fan, led a consortium that took over the club in June 2017
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But Travis insists the experience has been worthwhile as Orient look to the future.

Orient are now set to relaunch their search for a new boss, and the chief admits he now knows they will do things very differently.

“You have to learn from these situations,” he added. “Every bad situation you have to learn from.

“We do have this strong culture, in many ways this is a unique club and the culture in unique.

“The fans are part of it and we’re a club without a hierarchy. I hate being called chairman because we’re all in this together.

“So I think next time we have to really test the cultural fit stronger. I would have someone come over to spend some time is Boston to see how it fits, a suggestion from fans is to have a panel interview, which is not a bad idea.

“We will take a breath and learn – but I think the key thing is we screwed up. Carl didn’t screw up, we screwed up.”

Listen to a clip of Leyton Orient chairman Nigel Travis on talkSPORT above

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