When Justin Edinburgh arrived in E10, Leyton Orient sat 20th in the National League and without a win in 14 matches.
It had already been a bleak time to be an O’s fan, having seen the club plummet out of the Football League thanks to gross mismanagement from the previous owner.
Edinburgh’s task wouldn’t be an easy one, but his impact was immediate – he steered the club to safety over the course of the next six months, losing just seven times in 23 matches.
But that was just the start. You could tell something special was happening in the air over the course of last summer.
I had spent some time with Justin during pre-season, and the positivity he was showing about the new season was infectious.
Throughout the club, he had instilled belief and confidence that the O’s could achieve something special, and it didn’t take long to see why Justin had talked enthusiastically about his group of players in the opening weeks of the season.
A 13-game unbeaten streak to kick off the campaign saw the O’s sit at the top of the table, and we started to believe Justin would lead us back to where we belonged – the Football League.
His style was exactly what the players needed at the time – he was a strong leader, caring with the players and lifted them immediately when the occasional setback came their way.
The football was exciting, too. This season I’ve seen some of the most enjoyable, attacking football I’ve seen in over 20 years at the O’s.
Then, we became champions. It probably wouldn’t have happened without Justin Edinburgh, and as a fan I owe him everything for bringing the joy back to East London once again.
Words cannot express how heartbreaking it feels to know of Justin’s untimely passing, but it was an enormous privilege to have seen him work so tirelessly to get Leyton Orient back into the Football League.
Thank you for everything, Justin. You allowed us to all dream again when hope was all but lost.
Your name will live on forever at the O’s. Rest In Peace.