One of the club’s oldest and most well known fans, Alan Ravenhill, has sadly died, aged 77 and O’s fans and Club Historian Alan Chandler and Neilson Kaufman have penned respective tributes to Alan.
Alan was first taken to Brisbane Road to see the O’s by his father in the 1940’s and he became an avid fan from the first moment (how many of us can say that we, too, were first taken by our own fathers to watch The Mighty O’s?). With his vast knowledge of the club and wealth of statistics he collected over the years, Alan R was a ‘natural’ co author of many of the groundbreaking works on the club’s history.
I was helping him collect team photos and learned he had nearly every one since the club turned professional in the early 1900’s! Amazing.
In 2006, together with Neil Kaufman – the club’s Official Historian – they produced their ‘Magnum Opus’ , The Complete Record of Leyton Orient, a must read for any Orient fan and a publication many of us refer to almost on a daily basis. Alan’s knowledge of the club and its history was immense. I would frequently phone him to chat about this game or that. Whichever game I mentioned, he knew the scores, scorers and a brief synopsis of the match. I even used to joke that he knew what the weather was and the state of the pitch!
As an Ambassador for the LOSC, I was honoured to be asked to present former players with a gift when they reached 80 years of age. Alan was fascinated to know how the likes of Messrs Dunmore, Lea and the sadly recently departed Malcolm Graham were and what their memories were. Did they, he once asked, recall this game or that? He would reel off a list of statistics, as far as I could tell from memory.
Alan was only one of half a dozen supporters I know of who saw that magical game at Anfield in October 1961. We drew 3-3 and Dave Dunmore gave the performance of his life, scoring twice. Alan revelled in the first, when ‘Big Dave’ nutmegged the gargantuan Ron Yeats and smashed in from 30 yards. Some things, he once told me, you never forget.
No obituary or tribute can possibly describe someone like Alan R. A true Oriental in every sense. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.
Neilson Kaufman, historian to Leyton Orient for nearly 45-years writes about his friend Alan Ravenhill who sadly died on Sunday 6 September 2015.
Alan was born in Walthamstow during 1937 and the first O’s match he saw was on 23 August 1947, a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, being one of 18,243 in attendance at Brisbane Road.
My first memory of Alan goes back to the end of 1973, when I received a letter from him in response to my programme column on O’s history in the club match programmes and on how happy he was someone was writing about the clubs’ history.
When I was asked by Brian Blower then club commercial manager, Brian Winston (club chairman) and Arthur Page (club President) to write the first history on the club in 1974, I got in touch with Alan and we met at his house in Forest Road, Walthamstow to plan the book. I was amazed at his collection of O’s memorabilia, programmes, player notes and statistics.
I remember with great fondness our many visits to local libraries and the British Library in Colindale to research about the clubs’ early days and its players. We found some wonderful information concerning the club and its foundation and on all the early great players like Richard McFadden, unknown to us at that time other than his playing record.
When I was transferred to South Africa back in August 1981 we continued our friendship through letters and later we worked together on two O’s Complete Record books and everything was done by post as Alan never had a computer or used the email.
Alan was a true O’s fan and no matter how the team were doing he would never had a bad word for the manager or players but would support them thick and thin a true and loyal O’s fan who will be truly missed.
Alan’s funeral is to take place on Friday, 25th September at Pardon Wood Crematorium at 1pm.
Any floral, please send to the Co-operative Funeralcare, Whitta Road, Manor Park E12 5DA by 10am.