Fisher lauds Cunningham’s impact
- Credit: Archant
Former O’s captain hails old team mate who would have turned 60 yesterday
Laurie Cunningham’s former Leyton Orient team mate Bobby Fisher has paid tribute to the winger’s impact on and off the pitch.
The 59-year-old was back at Brisbane Road on Monday to speak at an event to start a campaign to get a statue in memory of the former Real Madrid player erected.
Waltham Forest Council have received backing from the O’s and Kick It Out to have a statue in Coronation Gardens.
And Fisher, who captained the east Londoners during his playing career, discussed what Cunningham did for the game, he said: “The statue is a great tribute for someone who deserves to be remembered.
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“Laurie will be remembered for so many different things. For how he broke down barriers on the pitch and getting through the abuse he faced throughout his life.
“I’m sure he found it quite challenging to go out there in front of thousands of people and when it was away from Orient, or London, he could have 15,000 people giving him abuse about our colour. It was very challenging.”
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Fisher went on to explain how difficult it was at times for Cunningham, but revealed his play changed the perception of opposition fans.
“He sussed it very early that the only way to fight against the abuse was not physically or to get involved, but to show them what a great footballer he was,” added the former Orient captain.
“There were games where he would get abuse in the warm up and throughout the match, but then at the end he would get a standing ovation from the very same people who were totally against him.
“He turned those people round, he changed people’s views and that will stick with those supporters.”
Cunningham would have celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday (Tuesday) and this isn’t the first project Fisher has been involved in regarding his old team mate.
He is confident that a lot of football supporters will get behind this campaign and a statue of the former Orient winger will occur soon rather than later.
“I think interest will build and build now. I was involved in a documentary a few years ago and this will push on,” said Fisher.
“I get the feeling there will be a lot of momentum so the statue has come at a great time.”
If you would like to make a donation to the statue, visit www.walthamforest.gov.uk/laurieslegacy.