‘He could have been a Spurs manager in the future’: Heartbroken Gary Mabbutt says tragic former team-mate Justin Edinburgh had potential to take charge of the club he loved, after his sudden death at 49
- Gary Mabbutt insists Justin Edinburgh could have been a Tottenham manager
- Edinburgh tragically passed away on Saturday after suffering a cardiac arrest
- He guided Leyton Orient back to the Football League six weeks before his death
- The pair won the 1991 FA Cup together and Mabbutt paid an emotional tribute
Gary Mabbutt has paid an emotional tribute to former team-mate Justin Edinburgh, insisting he could have been a Tottenham manager in the future.
Edinburgh tragically passed away on Saturday after suffering a cardiac arrest, just six weeks after leading Leyton Orient back into the Football League by winning promotion from the National League.
The 49-year-old was hospitalised on Monday after returning from watching his former team Tottenham in the Champions League final before his untimely death.
Gary Mabbutt insists ex-team-mate Justin Edinburgh could have been a Tottenham manager
Edinburgh (second left) and Mabbutt (second right) celebrate winning the 1991 FA Cup final
The former defender made more than 200 appearances for Tottenham between 1990-2000
Edinburgh (left) celebrating a goal with David Ginola during his time at Tottenham Hotspur
2003-2006: Billericay Town
2003-2006: Billericay Town
2006: Fisher Athletic
2007-2008: Grays Athletic
2009-2011: Rushden & Diamonds
2011-2015: Newport County
2017: Northampton Town
2017: Leyton Orient
FA Cup: 1991
League Cup: 1999
Conference play-offs (2013)
National League (manager): 2018-19
Edinburgh played for Spurs between 1990 and 2000, featuring more than 200 times, winning the FA Cup in 1991 and the League Cup eight years later.
Mabbutt, who played alongside Edinburgh in the 1991 final and was with him in Madrid earlier this month, believes his former team-mate could have gone on to manage Spurs.
He told the Evening Standard: ‘Justin had the potential, if he was able to carry on, to manage at the highest level.
‘I always thought that maybe some day, seeing the progress he made, he could have even been a Spurs manager in the future.
‘That is probably the highest praise I can give to him as a coach and manager because he worked at the lower levels to learn the ropes and to move that forward.
‘He managed to get everybody behind him. At 49 he passes away… sadly life is just so cruel at times.’
Mabbutt spent time with Edinburgh around the fan zones in Madrid and said he ‘looked as fit as he was when he was playing and he was full of life’.
Edinburgh (second left) was last pictured before watching Spurs at the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1 with fellow Tottenham legends Clive Allen (left) and Paul Allen (2nd right) and Benny V of Souped Up records
Edinburgh (left) looked fit and well before the Champions League tie in the Spanish capital
Edinburgh in Madrid with ex-Spurs team-mates Steve Sedgley (left) and David Howells (right)
Further tributes have been paid at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road home after his tragic passing
Leyton Orient placed a framed photograph of Edinburgh on his seat in the manager’s dugout
Tributes continue to be paid at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road home after the tragic passing of the club’s manager.
On Sunday his former club paid tribute by placing a framed photograph of Edinburgh on his seat in the dugout.
Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff and goalkeeper Dean Brill were clearly emotional as they laid their club shirts in the home dugout at the Breyer Group Stadium.
McAnuff’s shirt bore the hand-written message: ‘Thanks for everything you did for me and the club. Will carry your memory with me forever. R.I.P, gone but never forgotten.’
Speaking to assembled media in the ground, McAnuff said Edinburgh was ‘much more than a manager’.
‘We are completely heartbroken’, said Orient chairman Nigel Travis of Edinburgh, pictured here with his wife Kerri
Edinburgh leaves behind his wife Kerri and their children, Charlie and Cydnie
Edinburgh smiles with Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff as they celebrate promotion
He added: ‘Football aside, Justin was a hugely positive man, loved his family. Every day he came in he had that lust for life, a real zest about him, a real willingness to enjoy himself.
‘I think he would want us to carry that on… I know for sure he would want us to approach this in the most positive way we can, that’s very much what he was about, being on the front foot.
‘Together, using those lessons that he taught us, it can help us deal with such tragic circumstances.’
The stadium will remain open on Monday and Tuesday so fans can continue to pay their respects and the club is reportedly in talks with Tottenham over tributes.
Edinburgh left behind his wife Kerri and their children Charlie and Cydnie.