Norwich City trip ‘fabulous’ for Leyton Orient says Hearn
Orient's colourful chairman Barry Hearn believes lightning can strike twice ahead of his club's FA Cup third round trip to Carrow Road.
The Os took a large step towards League One safety in the closing weeks of last season with a surprise midweek 2-1 win at Brisbane Road as Paul Lambert's men closed in on the title – a result Hearn is still thankful for.
'We're very happy to be in the third round, we're very happy to be coming up to Norwich; Delia and her little team always make us very welcome – and the food's not bad either,' said the sport's impresario.
'They're a very good side. We managed to get one over them last year at our place, which saved our season really because we were in the relegation zone when they came and what you didn't want to be then was at home to Norwich.
'So we know we can do it. Can we do it again? It's doubtful, they're the big favourites. But it's cup football.
'It's a game we're looking forward to, it's a fun day out and we'd love to beat them. We'll give it our best shot. It's the FA Cup. There's a special type of magic about that.
'No-one in their right mind doesn't want to win it. For us it's a lovely journey, but for them it's a chance to get to the fourth round and possibly get drawn at home to Manchester United for the fans.
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'So it's a very significant game despite all the others pressures that exist in football.'
Hearn admitted an FA Cup adventure can bring vital income alongside national exposure.
'We are a small club that loses money every year,' he said.
'There's only two ways we can make money: We have players that quite a few clubs are interested in and we're not interested in selling, so that leaves us with the FA Cup.
'So yes, it can make a huge difference and a game against one of the bigger sides, away draw, wherever, can wipe out your losses for a year.
'And let's be honest, a game with Norwich if it's a sell-out brings us much needed finance.
'But at the end of the day it's just a game of football and that's what we're in it for.
'For me, the football club is therapeutic. And the fact it loses money – it loses a controllable amount of money.
'I spoke to Delia once and asked her what it's like to owe that type of money. I mean, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night – that's my nature – but I do understand that other world when you're going for gold.
'That's fabulously exciting for the fans and, you know what, you've got little Leyton Orient going to come and upset the apple cart on Saturday for you.'
Hearn insists Norwich as a club is well equipped both on and off the pitch to reach the top flight.
'The Premier League, what's it worth – �90m or something? It's an astronomical figure; Norwich are a big club and deserve to be there,' he said. 'At the moment they must be looking at that land of milk and honey just over the rainbow: you're halfway through the season, in prime position and playing well; goodness me, it's exciting.
'No one can deny they've got the facilities and the support to dwarf clubs like Blackpool and Wigan in the Premier League, and of course it is something where only an idiot would take his eye off that big pot.'