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Kitchen hoping to help future generation understand Orient’s great history

PUBLISHED: 13:00 15 November 2018

A memorial in the village of Flers to the players, staff and supporters from Clapton Orient who served with the Footballers' Battalion and fought in the Battle of the Somme in World War One (pic: John Walton/PA Images).

A memorial in the village of Flers to the players, staff and supporters from Clapton Orient who served with the Footballers' Battalion and fought in the Battle of the Somme in World War One (pic: John Walton/PA Images).

PA Archive/PA Images

The O’s legend explained how he got involved in ‘The Greater Game’ and praised the club bringing out the commemorative kit

Peter Kitchen knows Leyton Orient fans are proud of their history and hopes future generations of fans get the chance to see ‘The Greater Game’ play to understand the club’s significant role in World War One.

Michael Head’s ‘The Greater Game’ has now sold out at the Waterloo East Theatre - such has been the success of the show based on Stephen’s Jenkins book ‘They Took The Lead’ on O’s players and staff signing up en masse to fight for King and Country.

There is talk the play will return again next year and Kitchen, who played for Orient in the 70s and 80s and earned legendary status in E10 as a result, discussed how he first got involved in the project.

He said: “I have had a great interest in World War One for many years and when I heard about this story I was fascinated by it.

“I wrote the foreword for Steve’s book and then I was involved in this project and this story about Clapton Orient is unique.

“We have said if it was Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal then someone would want to make a film about it, but it is Leyton Orient.

“Orient are a Cinderella club and everyone’s second club, so O’s fans should be very proud of their history and this is a way of telling that and hopefully it helps Orient fans of future generations look back on this great period in their history.”

Kitchen will be back at his old club on Saturday and signing books before and after kick-off in the Supporters’ Club.

Tony McDonald has a new book coming out titled ‘Orient in the 70s’ and Kitchen’s attendance is poignant for many reasons.

Bromley are the visitors to E10 for O’s 20th National League match of the season and this game will see the hosts wear a special commemorative kit in honour of those from Clapton Orient who fought for King and Country in World War One.

Orient players will support a jersey which features the iconic red chevron design with blue shorts and socks, which was worn by the players before they signed up en masse to fight in the war.

This game is also the club’s closest to Remembrance Sunday so Saturday is set to be an emotional occasion.

Kitchen is delighted the current players will don the kit which actors in ‘The Greater Game’ are also using while performing the play at Waterloo East Theatre.

He added: “If you ask most O’s fans they will say their two favourites kits are the braces kit from the 70s, when I was playing, and the red chevron from World War One and I think the club bringing this out is a major bonus for us.

“It is mutually beneficially because it has raised the profile of the play and the history and story and it has also connected the story with the fans because there is so much interest in the story now.”

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