Leyton Orient manager Richie Wellens has voiced strong disapproval of the EFL’s decision to replay their home match against Lincoln City after the original game was abandoned due to the tragic passing of lifelong Orient supporter Derek Reynolds in the 83rd minute.
Despite Orient leading Lincoln deep into the second half and being in control of the match, the EFL ruled, two weeks later, for the game to be replayed in its entirety following the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Derek’s cardiac arrest in the crowd.
Wellens, speaking to the official club media ahead of the rescheduled game, argued that the initial result should have stood “out of respect for Derek and his family.” He expressed his opposition to the idea of reliving the traumatic fixture in which Derek passed away and called for a new rule to allow results to stand in exceptional cases like this, even if the full 90 minutes hadn’t been completed upon abandonment. Wellens found it surprising that such a rule wasn’t already in place, stating, “It’s frightening that there is no rule in place at the moment.”
With changes in the Lincoln City management since the original clash, as Mark Kennedy was replaced by Micheal Skubala, there’s an acknowledgment that Tuesday’s match might unfold differently from the first.
Wellens’ comments not only raise awareness but also prompt the question of whether the EFL should establish a process for handling extraordinary circumstances like this.
The hope is that such action will prevent future replays after tragic incidents, ensuring that when the teams step onto the field under the floodlights, it will be the last time a game has to be replayed following such a traumatic incident.
In remembrance of Derek Reynolds, a loyal Leyton Orient supporter, both teams will observe a minute’s silence before kick-off, and The Real EFL extends its well wishes to Derek’s family.