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Plaque unveiled to Orient legend
A blue plaque honouring a Leyton Orient legend was unveiled today.
The plaque remembers Laurie Cunningham played youth football for Arsenal before joining Leyton Orient 39 years ago to the day, in 1974.
In 1981, he 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's installation was organised by Nubian Jak Community Trust in partnership with Leyton Orient Football Club and unveiled at Kitchen Court, opposite the Brisbane Road stadium at noon, ahead of today's 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.”
Chairman of the Nubian Jak 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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