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Blue plaque tribute to Leyton Orient legend, Laurie Cunningham
A blue plaque honouring Leyton Orient legend, Laurie Cunningham, will be unveiled on Saturday, exactly 39 years to the day that he made his debut for the club.
Mr Cunningham played youth football for Arsenal before joining Leyton Orient in 1974.
In 1981 became the first English-born player to sign for Spanish giants Real Madrid.
He was killed in a car crash in Madrid, aged 33.
Mr Cunningham’s brother, Keith Cunningham, said: “My brother and I were very close. I am extremely proud of his achievements and the contribution he made to football.
“On behalf of the Cunningham family, I would like to thank everybody for their involvement of keeping Laurie's memory alive".
The plaque, organised by Nubian Jak Community Trust in partnership with Leyton Orient Football Club, is to be unveiled at Kitchen Court, opposite the Brisbane Road stadium at noon, ahead of a home fixture against MK Dons at 3pm.
Leyton Orient chief executive, Matthew Porter, said: “Laurie is one of our most fondly remembered players both for his talent and character.
"Arguably our most naturally gifted player of all time, his spirit very much lives on at the club and every fan of his generation can recall watching him play.
"As a club we are committed to keeping his memory alive and hope that he can continue to inspire many future generations.”
Former team mates from Laurie’s era, including Cyril Regis and Brendon Batson from his days at West Brom and former Orient players Peter Allen and Phil Hoadley will be answering questions in the Olympic Suite before the game and on the pitch at half time.
An ITV documentary that was aired earlier in the year, 'First Among Equals, The Laurie Cunningham Story' will be shown on the screens around the stadium just before 2pm.
Chair of the Nubian Jak Plaque Commemorative Plaque Scheme, Jak Beula, said: "Laurie was more than a footballing phenomenon, even more than just a pioneer, he was a force of nature ahead of his time.”
The Nubian Jak Community Trust commissions plaques and sculptures to commemorate important figures from ethnic minority communities in the UK and Europe.
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