One of the former greats of English football and probably the first of those players paving the path for black English youngsters to come through was Laurie Cunningham.
In his early days a player at Leyton Orient and shining for the O’s before moving to West Bromwich to hit it off in the top flight. He was so good that Real Madrid decided to pay £950.000 for his services.
He was an odd fellow and not a regular type of a footballer, being a bit easy living and taking life as it comes. Leyton Orient loved him, but he could be out until the morning and dance, as he liked that almost as much as playing football.
His years at West Bromwich under the management of Ron Atkinson was fantastic, but hit by many injuries during his days at Real Madrid he just played in 44 league games, did win the La Liga in 1980, in almost four years and missed on Euro’s and World Cup’s as England entered.
He did appear 6 times for England and also played in the European Cup final v. Liverpool in 1981, but had to see his Real Madrid defeated on the night. After his days with Real Madrid he moved to Marseille, and continued his career in France. He had during his time at The Bernabeu also had loan spells with Manchester United and Sporting Gijon.
Then in 1985 it all happened, Leicester had seen themselves in a bit of a struggle and to be able to sign Laurie Cunningham must have been a real scoop as Gordon Milne did get his man to Filbert Street.
The stay became short as injury trouble stopped his chance to play on a regular basis, adding up only 15 league games for the club before heading out again, this time signing for Rayo Vallecano. We all do remember Laurie Cunningham for his contribution as he made a number of great peformances to help the team avoid relegation.
After his time and return to Spain Cunningham tried his luck in Belgium with Charleroi, but after playing just one single game he was on the move again, this time to Wimbledon and during that season picking up a FA Cup winners medal coming on as a sub and getting his revenge on Liverpool.
A new return to Spain and Rayo, but during his time with the club he tragically he was killed in a car crash. A grand player and one of those special talents that you would love to watch playing day in and day out, but he was never seen as a key player during many seasons at Leicester and during his career probably not seen as one being much connected to Leicester City, absolutely one of the guys in disguise.
- Full Name: Laurie Paul Cunningham
- Position: Winger
- Date of Birth: 08.03.1956
- Birthplace: Archway, London, England
- Nation: England
- Caps / Goals: 6/0
- Major Career:
- 1974-77, Leyton Orient (75/15)
- 1977-79, West Bromwich Albion (86/21)
- 1979-84, Real Madrid (44/13)
- 1984-85, Marseille (30/8)
- 1985-86, Leicester City (15/0)
- 1986-89, Rayo Vallecano (56/2)
- 1988, Wimbledon (6/1)
- Links: Wikipedia
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