Former Leyton Orient, West Brom & Real Madrid legend has statue unveiled

Laurie Cunningham is again gracing Leyton after today’s unveiling of a bronze statue of the legendary forward, close to the club’s Matchroom Stadium.

He rose to prominence in the 1970s, at a time when racism was prevalent in the game and very few black players played professionally in England. Those who did face appalling levels of racism.

Cunningham made his debut for Orient in 1974, paving the way for black sportsmen and women across the country.

In 1977, he moved into the top flight with West Brom — lining up alongside Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson in only the second side in League history to field three black players.

Later in his career he made the unprecedented move, for an English player, and was signed my European legends Real Madrid.

His plaque delivers the quote “If I can get through this maybe it will lead others to get a fair chance.”

Lord Herman Ouseley gives a speech at the unveiling of a statue of the late former Leyton Orient and Real Madrid player, Laurie Cunningham, who was the first black player to play for England at senior level. The statue was unveiled in Coronation Gardens in Leyton, East London. November 30 2017

Statue unveiled of the late former Leyton Orient and Real Madrid player, Laurie Cunningham, who was the first black player to play for England at senior level. The statue was unveiled in Coronation Gardens in Leyton, East London. November 30 2017

Statue unveiled of the late former Leyton Orient and Real Madrid player, Laurie Cunningham, who was the first black player to play for England at senior level. The statue was unveiled in Coronation Gardens in Leyton, East London. November 30 2017

Sergio Cunningham at the unveiling his father’s statue. The statue of the late former Leyton Orient and Real Madrid player, Laurie Cunningham, was unveiled in Coronation Gardens in Leyton, East London. November 30 2017

Statue unveiled of the late former Leyton Orient and Real Madrid player, Laurie Cunningham, who was the first black player to play for England at senior level. The statue was unveiled in Coronation Gardens in Leyton, East London. November 30 2017

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