The Stories of the First Black Players to Represent the 92 League Clubs
A new perspective on the lives, careers and experiences of groundbreaking black footballers in England.
Ninety-two chapters tell the unique stories of the first black footballers to play for each of the English Football League clubs. Four years of original research have not only identified each of these history makers for the first time in a definitive and permanent record. They have also uncovered a wealth of fascinating, often eye-opening personal tales, which now comprise a collection of rich and hugely varied short stories.
The stories span the period from Arthur Wharton’s debut for Sheffield United in 1885 to Forest Green fielding six black players in their first league game in 2017, covering over 130 years of social history.
Includes personal interviews with many first black players – Chris Kamara, Viv Anderson, Tony Ford, Neville Chamberlain, Roland Butcher, Tony Cunningham and Carl Valentine, to name but a few – along with countless family members of players from the more distant past.
Football’s Black Pioneers features an incredible variety of emotive human stories and forgotten characters, together with a powerful theme of struggle against now-unthinkable attitudes, and the revelation of many unexpected historical facts.
Read the stories of the first black players to represent the 92 League Clubs, and you will discover:
• The first black player to represent England at any level (and it isn’t Anderson, Cunningham or Odeje)
• The player who was picked for England and then dropped when the selectors discovered he was black
• The only black Busby Babe
• The footballer/psychologist who served 12 years in a US jail for acid attacks on his wife and her attorney
• The first black player to play for Wales – almost 50 years before Viv Anderson appeared for England
• The clubs that went over 100 years before fielding a black player
• The first black player to play cricket for England, who was also the first black player for a Football League side
• The first Jamaican to play in the First Division, who went on to become a TV personality back in the Caribbean
• The player attributed as the first Australian to play in the Football League – who has no connection whatsoever with that country
• The player who went on to become the first black manager in England
• The player who went on to become a comedian and showbiz personality
• The player who made over 1,000 League appearances (second only to Peter Shilton)
• The player whose career was ended when he was run over by two team-mates
• The family whose origins we have traced back to enslavement in Jamaica that has provided one past and one current England international
Click here for more info on the book and the authors, and to pre-order Football’s Black Pioneers – to be published in August, RRP £16.