A day to remember and pay tribute to Justin Edinburgh

It is difficult to comprehend quite how difficult the summer must have been for everybody connected with Leyton Orient Football Club.

Friday, 4th October 2019, 10:16 am
Justin Edinburgh was appointed Cobblers boss in January, 2017

The death of manager Justin Edinburgh at the beginning of June, the former Cobblers boss suffering a cardiac arrest just hours after returning from watching his beloved Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League Final, sent shockwaves through the football world.

There was an outpouring of emotion and love for the 49-year-old, who was clearly universally liked by those who had come into contact with him over the years, within and without football.

It was obviously a traumatic time for Edinburgh’s family, and it will have also been a devastating time for everybody connected with the Brisbane Road club, from the supporters, to the tea ladies to the first-team players.

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Justin Edinburgh and his assistant at the Cobblers, Dave Kerslake

Edinburgh died just a matter of weeks after the Os had gone through the euphoria of him leading the club to promotion back to the Football League.

It was supposed to be a summer of excitement and anticipation, of a new dawn - and instead there were far more important things to be concerned about than football.

The club it has to be said, handled Edinburgh's passing beautifully, with total dignity, and in a way that paid the utmost respect to their manager.

But as time moved on, the club had no choice but to get back to every day business, and under the stewardship of interim head coach Ross Embleton, who had been an assistant to Edinburgh, they got on with the recruitment of players and preparing for the new season.

Justin Edinburgh was in charge at the Cobblers for eight months

It must have been hard for everybody involved, but they got through it, and the fact is the Os are back in Sky Bet League Two.

Although it has at times been a bit of a struggle on the pitch, they will arrive at the PTS Academy Stadium on Saturday just five points adrift of Keith Curle’s side, with a respectable two wins and four draws from their 11 fixtures, although they are without a win since August 20.

Of course, this is one of those weeks when the real importance of football is brought into sharp focus for everybody.

There is no doubting the passion every supporter has for their team, and there is also no doubt that a win or a defeat can shape how you feel over a weekend.

Justin Edinburgh

But, there is no question that football it is also just a game, a distraction.

The world will keep turning no matter what the result or the performance, no matter if your team wins 4-0, loses 4-0, lets in a last-minute equaliser, or loses to the last kick of the game.

There are some things that are much more important, and this Saturday gives the Cobblers supporters the chance to show their appreciation for a man who did his utmost for their club during his eight months in charge, helping Town to avoid relegation from league one in the 2016/17 season.

Justin Edinburgh was well liked at Sixfields, he was popular among all the staff, players and media as well, and I am sure any supporter that will have met him will have been left with nothing but a positive impression, because that is how he was.

Justin Edinburgh celebrates with Jobi McAnuff after Leyton Orient clinched the National League title in April

This should have been a week where I would have contacted Justin to talk about his return to the club for the first time, one I am sure he will have been looking forward to with relish.

I am also certain he would have got a warm reception from the Cobblers faithful.

The fact that can't happen is a tragedy, and is something I am sure his family and everybody at Leyton Orient is still coming to terms with.

But as a club, Northampton Town does get the chance to pay tribute to Justin this weekend, and to say thank you, on what is sure to be an emotional afternoon.

An afternoon where football doesn't really matter.

Tottenham Hotspur fans paid tribute for former player Justin Edinburgh at their opening Premier League match of the season