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The Greater Game: From football fields to the battle fields

28 September 2016

The true story of the men who went from the playing fields to the battlefields is being told at the Southwark Playhouse this September and October.

The Greater Game tells the moving tale of the men of Clapton Orient FC who swapped the football fields of London for the battle fields of the Somme in 1916.

Based on the book 'They Took The Lead' by Leyton Orient historian Stephen Jenkins, The Greater Game is more than just a story about football or war, but a poignant one of comradeship and camaraderie.

With the incredible story of Orient’s star players Richard MacFadden, William Jonas and their team-mates central to the play, The Greater Game is an emotional story that touches all aspects of life, of love, friendship, laughter, family loss and ultimately death.

It has been heralded as one of the great true stories yet to be told and now, 100 years after the men went off to the trenches of WW1 France, their amazing story is being brought to life.

After a reading starring Tom Watt, Danny Mays and Neil Dudgeon, things looked very positive for the play, with interest from West End producers and rave reviews from both industry professionals and the public alike, however the project was shelved and the story of these brave men looked set to be left untold forever.

The Royal British Legion then heard of the project and wanted to make it part of their 100 centenary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme and a component of their ‘Sports Remembers’ campaign, and thanks to the efforts of Leyton Orient Supporters' Trust, the PFA and others, the play is being staged in Southwark until 16th October.

Bermondsey-born comedy writer Michael Head said: “As soon as I heard the facts about this story I knew it was one that had to be told, it was also important to me to make it funny and well as powerful and moving.

“It is an honour to have the play go out in my home town and to be able to tell the story of these great men, a story which I truly believe cannot be surpassed.”

The show runs from 15th September to 16th October, with shows Monday to Saturday, matinees on Tuesday and Saturday. To book tickets please contact The Southwark Playhouse box office on 020 7407 0234 or visit

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