Leyton Orient honoured former player and ‘fantastic gentleman’ Ray Wilkins ahead of National League match with Barrow

Ray Wilkins, who passed away on April 4, at a Samsung Hope Relay event in 2012 at The Score Centre o

Ray Wilkins, who passed away on April 4, at a Samsung Hope Relay event in 2012 at The Score Centre opposite Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road stadium (pic: Matt Alexander/PA Images). - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ross Embleton hailed the 61-year-old, who played for Orient in 1997, after he passed away on April 4 following a heart attack

Leyton Orient assistant Ross Embleton paid tribute to Ray Wilkins after the 61-year-old passed away last Wednesday following a heart attack.

Wilkins, who played three times for the O’s in 1997, was honoured at Brisbane Road on Saturday as everyone inside the stadium took part in a minute’s applause before the National League outfit faced Barrow.

Embleton, an Orient fan, remembers the former Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan and Rangers midfielder turning out for the east Londoners and reflected on how much of a gentleman he was.

The one-time O’s ace suffered a cardiac arrest on March 30 and after being placed into an induced coma at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, he died on April 4.

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Various tributes have been paid for the former England international and Embleton conceded it is more than simply a huge loss for the world of football.

He said: “It was a massively emotion moment before the game and it certainly left a lump in my throat and I’m sure everyone else felt the same.

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“I remember Ray Wilkins playing here and he was a proper footballer. He played in a few teams where the ball spent a lot of time in the air, so you didn’t see the real Ray Wilkins if you like.

“But I’ve been fortunate enough to meet him once or twice, not in a huge amount of detail, but like everyone else has said, he was a fantastic guy and a real gentleman.

“A lot of stories have come out from former Chelsea players which does tell you what sort of person he was.

“People say it is a huge loss to football, but it is more than that. It is a huge loss to his family and a massive shock for everyone.”

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