Search

Leyton Orient favourite Laurie Cunningham honoured with statue in Coronation Gardens

PUBLISHED: 10:30 07 December 2017

Laurie Cunningham poses for a picture while a Leyton Orient player prior to the 1974-75 season (pic: PA Images).

Laurie Cunningham poses for a picture while a Leyton Orient player prior to the 1974-75 season (pic: PA Images).

PA Archive/PA Images

Fundraising campaign, started by Waltham Forest Council and backed by Leyton Orient and Kick It Out, saw Laurie Cunningham statue unveiled last week

The Laurie Cunningham statue in Coronation Gardens (pic: Leyton Orient Football Club). The Laurie Cunningham statue in Coronation Gardens (pic: Leyton Orient Football Club).

Leyton Orient, Waltham Forest Council and Kick It Out all played their part in helping honour the legacy of Laurie Cunningham last Thursday (November 30).

Back in March 2016, a fundraising campaign was started to build a statue in Leyton to celebrate the story of the O’s favourite.

Cunningham shone in E10 and was one of the first black players to play for England during the 1970s when racism was prevalent in the game.

Success at Brisbane Road led to a high-profile transfer to West Bromwich Albion where his performances earned him a Three Lions call-up in 1979 before a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid occurred – making him the first British player to join Los Blancos.

At Madrid, Cunningham won the double before spells with Manchester United, Sporting Gijon, Marseille, Leicester City, Rayo Vallecano and Charleroi followed.

Then in 1988, 14 years after his Orient debut, he was involved in the Wimbledon squad which won the 1988 FA Cup with a shock victory over Liverpool.

Unfortunately, Cunningham was killed in a car accident in Madrid in 1989 at the age of just 33.

Nevertheless, his feats in the 1970s and 80s paved the way for other black athletes across the country to enjoy sporting success.

The idea for the statue was initiated by the former leader of Waltham Forest Council, Councillor Chris Robbins and the renowned sculptor Graham Ibbeson was commissioned to design the statue.

The statue is modelled on a famous photograph of Cunningham, taken when he was in action for Real Madrid.

At approximately 2.2m tall, it has been constructed entirely from bronze and is now proudly located in the Coronation Gardens, a stone’s throw from Brisbane Road.

Hundreds turned out to witness the statue unveiling with Cunningham’s son Sergio paying tribute to his late father.

Orient chairman Nigel Travis expressed his delight at seeing the O’s great recognised when speaking to the official club website, he said: “I have seen many great players during my 58 years of supporting Leyton Orient, but Laurie had something special from the first time he pulled on an Orient shirt.

“For him to go on and represent West Bromwich Albion and then Real Madrid is something we have never had with anyone else.

“It is absolutely perfect that we are having this statue put up to remember arguably the most famous player in our history.”

Latest Ilford Stories

17:28

Belgium and Tunisia have met on three previous occasions in all competitions, with a win apiece and a draw. The encounters have been tight affairs, with victories decided by one-goal margins, but today’s match didn’t follow the same trend.

13:15

A man who threatened a mum at knifepoint while she was dropping off her children at school in Seven Kings and pulled out a knife on a taxi driver in Ilford has been handed six years in prison.

Nottinghamshire required just an hour and three-quarters on the fourth morning of the Specsavers County Championship game at Chelmsford to remove the last six Essex wickets and claim victory.

12:57

Lakeside Hammers team boss Will Pottinger admits his side have “momentum” after a nail-biting away win at Scunthorpe on Friday night.

12:00

Gareth Southgate’s promising young England side look ready to make a mark on the world stage and help atone for the disappointments of recent tournaments.

14:12

A 21-year-old man has been injured after a brawl in Gants Hill.

Just over five years ago, the Ilford Recorder ran a front page article with the headline “Police swoop on the homeless taking sleeping bags and food parcels in co-ordinated raids in Redbridge”.

Yesterday, 19:15

Essex (206 & 88-4) trail Nottinghamshire (380 & 266) by 352 runs

PROMOTED CONTENT

An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now