Leyton Orient striker Harrold on the ‘shock’ of boss Justin Edinburgh’s passing

Matt Harrold sweeps home Leyton Orient's second goal against Walsall (pic Simon O'Connor)

Matt Harrold sweeps home Leyton Orient's second goal against Walsall (pic Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Former Leyton Orient striker Matt Harrold has revealed his genuine shock when former manager Justin Edinburgh passed away last June and how long those five days felt after he had fallen ill, writes Jacob Ranson.

Experienced manager Edinburgh passed away on June, 8, at the age of 49 – five days after suffering a cardiac arrest, to the disbelief on the entire O’s squad.

And 35-year-old Harrold revealed where he was for both of those important messages and just how hard it was to take.

“I was in my car on the way to Leigh-on-Sea for a walk and a coffee and the message came through on the group chat from Ross Embleton and I read it and just thought ‘what?’,” he told the Essex Charity Cup Youtube channel.

“I was thinking ‘how can you predict that?’ He was healthy, he was fit and looked well for his age, I couldn’t believe it.

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“I rung a couple of the lads, I rung ‘Brillo’, and my initial reaction was like other managers he might have issues, but he’ll get over them.

“He might not be in charge for the first game, but we will get him back, so then in those five days we had a lot of different news and stuff that came out on Twitter.”

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He added: “It’s mad that it was only five days as it felt much longer to me, it felt like two weeks, and I was actually in Greece with the family and Simon Francis funnily enough who played for Southend.

“We were having dinner and Martin Ling, our director of football, put a message in the group saying there is a conference call with the owners, so this is what you need to do, dial this number, and the dread just come over me as I thought why would we be doing that?

“Messages then started coming through on the lads group chat like ‘no, it can’t be’, and we got on the call and was all told then come off the call and broke down a little bit.

“It was more shock at the time and it was really hard to take, especially because I did really expect him to pull through.

“It’s crazy even thinking back to it now, but the holiday was hard as I kept thinking of him all the time, but it was good to have friends around me and family.

“It was really tough as any time I found myself on my own I would think of him a lot and a lot of the lads were grieving as well.”

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