Search for Black Sports Stars on The Black Presence in Britain



Andrew Watson – Black Scottish Footballer

Andrew-Watson-scotland-captain

Andrew Watson was the perhaps, world’s first black international football player, capped three times for Scotland between 1881 and 1882 and considered as one of the top ten most important players of the 19th century.Andrew Watson (born May 1857, Demerara, British Guiana; died in Sydney, Australia, date unknown) was the world’s first black international football player, capped three times for Scotland between 1881 and 1882 and considered as one of the top ten most important players of the 19th century.

He was the son of a wealthy Scottish sugar planter Peter Miller and a local girl Rose Watson. At the age of 14, he was schooled at the exclusive King’s College London, where school records show he excelled at sports including football. He later studied philosophy, mathematics and engineering at University of Glasgow when he was 19, where his natural love of football blossomed.

After first playing for Maxwell F.C., in 1876 he signed for local side Parkgrove F.C. where he was additionally their match secretary, making Watson football’s first black administrator. After marrying in Glasgow, he soon signed for Queen’s Park F.C. – then Britain’s biggest football team – and later became their secretary. He led the team to several Scottish Cup wins, thus becoming the first black player to win a major competition.

Black Scottish Footballer

Soon Watson won three international caps for Scotland including captaining them to a 6-1 victory against England on March 12, 1881, making him the first black international player and captain.

In 1882, he was the first black player to play in the FA Cup when he turned out for London Swifts F.C.. In 1884 he was the first foreign player to be invited to join the most exclusive of football teams, a team that only allowed only 50 members of high elite to join – Corinthians F.C. – created to challenge the supremacy of Queen’s Park and the Scottish national side.

Andrew Watson - Scotland Footballer

Andrew Watson – Scotland Footballer

It had been maintained that the first black footballer was Arthur Wharton, until it was only recently noted that Watson pre-dates him by 11 years. One reasons is that when historians consider black footballers, they tend to concentrate on professionals and not amateurs such as Watson. Another is that there are no known written records or match reports that mention the colour of Watson’s skin. One match report is more interested in that Watson played in unusual brown boots rather than the customary black boots of that time.

The colour of his skin was of no significance to his peers and there is no historical record of racism on the part of the Scottish Football Association. As written in the minutes, before one match where Watson was injured and unable to play, an SFA vice-president said if Watson had been fit he would have happily drugged a fellow Scottish international to give Watson his place.

Watson’s entry in the Scottish Football Association Annual of 1880-81 reads as follows:

“Watson, Andrew: One of the very best backs we have; since joining Queen’s Park has made rapid strides to the front as a player; has great speed and tackles splendidly; powerful and sure kick; well worthy of a place in any representative team.”

There is almost no record of his later life; however, it is known that Watson later emigrated to Australia, as he died in Sydney and is buried there.

 

   

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Jack Leslie

Jack F. Leslie was a former black football player in Britain. He signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking Town in 1921.Jack F. Leslie is a former football player. He signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking Town in 1921. Leslie scored over 400 goals in his career, 134 of those for Plymouth in 400 appearances. He retired in 1935. A call-up to the national team was cancelled when officials realized he was a “a man of colour.

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie

 

Despite an impressive 15-year run which saw him playing to crowds of over 40,000 people and notching up an impressive 400 match appearances with over 130 goals, Leslie suff ered catcalls from the crowd, who discriminated against him because he was black.

“I used to get a lot of abuse in matches. ‘Here darkie, I’m gonna break your leg,’ they’d shout.

“There was nothing wicked about it – they were just trying to get under my skin.”

Argyle co-ordinator Peter Hall reminisces about the times he saw Leslie play.

 

“On August 26, 1933 – I was six years old – we played Manchester Utd and won 4-1. “I always remember that Jack Leslie played a huge part in that win – it was a real treat to watch him play. He was everywhere, his passing was first class, and his shooting power was enormous. If there ever was an Argyle legend, it was Jack Leslie.”

No Black Footballers for England

Leslie proved himself as a top goal-scorer, holding the record for the most league goals scored (35) between 1927 and 1929, but this still wasn’t enough for officials who believed he wasn’t fit to join the esteemed national side.

“They found out I was a darkie and I suppose that was like finding out I was foreign.”

This shattered Leslie’s dreams of an international career.

He famously commented to Pilgrims teammate and later journalist Brian Woolnough,

“They must have forgotten I was a coloured boy.”

 

Jack Leslie retired in 1934, later he went to work for his local club West Ham United as part of their back room team.

Related Links

BBC – Footballer Jack Leslie
Wikipedia – Jack Leslie

 

 

 

   

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Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis is an English Athlete from the City of Sheffield in South Yorkshire.

Jessica was born on 28 January 1986 is one of two daughters of Vinnie Ennis and Alison Powell and has a younger sister named Carmel.  Jessica is of mixed parentage, her father Vinnie was originally from Jamaica and her mother was a social worker from Derbyshire.

Ennis went to School at Sharrow Primary School and King Ecgbert School in Dore.  Which is on the outskirts of the Sheffield.  Jessica stayed at school enrolling in the 6th Form.  There she took  her GCSEs gaining  three A-Levels, before going on to study psychology at the University of Sheffield and graduating in 2007.

Her Parents introduced her to athletics by taking her to a ‘Start:Track’ event at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium during the 1996 school summer holidays. Jessica Joked that she thought “I think my mum and dad wanted me out of the house!”. This is where Jessica won her first athletics prize – a pair of trainers.

More significantly, it was where she met the man who was to become her coach, Toni Minichiello.   Jessica proved to be a natural at sport and joined the “City of Sheffield Athletic Club” the following year, aged eleven.  By November of 2000, aged just fourteen, she won the Sheffield Federation for School Sports Whitham Award for the best performance by a Sheffield athlete at the National Schools Championships, where she won the high jump competition.

Charitable Work

Jessica is a patron of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital charity and also of the “Barrie Wells’s sports foundation”. She is also an Ambassador for the Jaguar Academy of Sport. The Times Newspaper asked her to write a column for them.

During the 2012 London Olympic Games Ennis was referred to as the “Face of the games“, her image appeared on all kinds of promotional advertising for the games, particularly notable was the advertising for the British Olympic Kit.

Her looks and physique mean that she is in high demand from corporate sponsors too. Jessica has appeared in advertising campaigns for Aviva, Powerade, BP, Adidas, Omega watches and Olay ‘Essentials’, and was featured on the cover of the August 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

London Olympics 2012

In August 2012 Jessica Ennis won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Beating silver medallist Lilli Schwarzkopf by 306 points. Her first-day score included two personal bests: 12.54 seconds in the 100 metres hurdles and 22.83 seconds in the 200 metres. The time she set in the 100 metres hurdles was a new British record and the fastest time ever run in a heptathlon. Ennis achieved another personal best of 47.49 metres in the javelin and won the final event, the 800 metres, in a time of 2:08.65.

Jessica Ennis Commemorative Stamp

Jessica Ennis Commemorative Stamp

The Royal Mail decided to honour Ennis, along with other British 2012 Olympic gold medal winners by featuring them on a special Royal Mail commemorative postage stamp.The royal mail also had a post box on the corner of Division Street and Holly Street in Sheffield city centre painted gold in her honour. Jessica’s efforts and triumphs mean she joins the many other Black British Athletes listed on the Black Presence in Britain.

 

   

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Racism In Football: Time To Get The House In Order

Article by Phil Gregory: Editor, Black Presence in Britain Website

I’m in my late 30′s now and I remember the dark days of racism in English football.   When I used to play in the youth leagues, it would be common to hear some father of an opposing player shout “get the nigger”, or some other lovely vernacular, designed to put me off my game.

Of course it annoyed me, but it never put me off my game.  I just sucked it up which was what you did in the early eighties.  You sucked it up and carried on.  I’d like to think though that we might have moved on a bit since then.

However, recent events over the last year have shown that, in fact whilst we may have taken great strides in combating racism on a superficial level racism is still a scourge that is hiding right under the surface of football.

What has been done to combat racism in football?

Firstly, I’d like to focus on some of the positives. What has been done, a reasonable amount. Firstly Clubs have been made aware that black players can actually play, just as well as any other race. When I was playing in the 1980′s you would often hear statements from managers bemoaning the “stamina” or “commitment” of black players.

Black Players were few and far between in the major leagues. Ones that spring to mind are Remi Moses, Lawrie Cunningham,  Viv AndersonCyrille Regis, John Barnes, Luther Blisset, Paul Mcgrath and Mark Chamberlain. These guys were the top black player in England. But they were very few and far between.

Today however, over 25% of all the players in the top league are black. What’s more they are not just black Britons, they come from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and south America. So that’s good. Black players have featured in the hearts of the majority of football fans for the last 20 years or more. We have seen such talents as Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, Faustino Asprilla, Patrick Vierra, Sol Campbell, Stan Collymore and Thierry Henri to mention just a few of the players who set the 90′s alight.

When black footballers retire

Black players both current and former have found their way into punditry and and on to television, so not just vanishing forever, as though they never existed but continuing to have an influence on young people.

Some former players have found themselves as managers.  Paul Ince, Chris Hughton, Terry Connor, Ruud Gullitt, have all managed at the top level in England. However today only Chris Hughton and Chris Powel remains. Paul Ince, and John Barnes have both spoken about the difficulties of being a black manager in the English football League. Ladies football saw Hope Power appointed as the England Manager, a post she has held for thirteen years. She has performed reasonably well, despite calls for her to go when England failed to beat Germany in the final of Euro 2009 .

Black Managers are a rarity in the Football League

Black Managers are a rarity in the Football League (image:http://fourfourtwo.com/)

Anti Racist Football organisations

Anti Racist organisations such as kick It Out came into football in the 90′s they actually got the issue into the public consciousness. they made the racial abuse from fans and from other players largely unacceptable. With foootball clubs giving the campaign visibility for the first time. smaller groups like FURD (football unites Racism Divides), have sprung up to provided local coverage.

All this is good.  I honestly think that there has been a massive change in the way football operates. I see more and more black and Asian fans at matches, However, the work isn’t over yet. The influx of minority players and fans is only reflected in the top leagues. Look in the lower divisions and it’s not the same. Why is this?  Could it be that the change is superficial, done to appease the do-gooders, to make football more globally appealing to the masses. After all black money for merchandise is as good as white money right?

What hasn’t been done to combat racism in Football?

It’s clear that theres plenty still to be done though.  We had two high profile cases of on the pitch racism last year with the Luis Suarez / Patrice Evra and the Anton Ferdinand / John Terry Cases.  the National team seems to keep running into racism without anything of note being done.  Firstly, Rio Ferdinand became a victim of the fallout between team-mate John Terry and his brother, Anton.  Terry was selected to play for England whilst the Race related trial was going on, Ferdinand was left at home.  That can’t be right can it?

Then more recently, we saw the England Under 21 players being subjected to a barrage of “monkey chants” from Serbian football fans.  Fifa, lamely charged both teams with bad conduct instead of Fully condemning Serbia. A decision on the matter is imminent, but it’s depressing that virtually nobody in football expects a Serbian ban, except perhaps the Serbians.

with all these race related issues currently flying around in football. It should come as little surprise that black players are becoming jaded with the whole situation.   Many players feel that the F.A and “kick it out” are simply not doing enough to combat racism on the football pitch.
there has been talk of a breakaway Black Players Association being formed. The idea has received luke-warm reactions in the media.  One has to ask one’s self what benefit such a group would actually bring to football. Would it better represent the interests of black players, or create a them and us situation with even greater disparities?  With all this going on in England, one of the more racially tolerant countries in Europe, one wonders what can be done to calm the situation?

Steps to take to put Football’s house in order

  • Equal attention applied to the lower divisions to ensure that black players get fair treatment and that black and Asian fans feel welcome at football grounds.
  • The F.A to work more closely with groups such as kick it out. All penalties for “Proven” racism need to be standardised to a zero tolerance penalty.
  • Equal opportunities for Black managers. Similar Scheme to the Rooney Rule.
  • More pressure applied by the F.A to Fifa to combat racism at an International level.
Whatever is actually done, it is clearly time to take some action.  Good work has been done since the 70′s and 80′s we do have a better, more integrated league.  I think one of the best in the world, we are a beacon of Multi-racial, multi ethnic football, but things still aren’t fully equal yet.  This country’s black footballing pioneers such as Arthur Wharton and Walter Tull would have expected better by now. Can we deliver?

An Article by Phil Gregory: Editor, Black Presence in Britain Website

Have your say.

What do you think should be done to combat racism in football?  Leave a comment below.

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Black History Month 2012 – Africa Channel

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

To mark Black History Month, The Africa Channel will be broadcasting some specially selected documentaries to inform, commemorate, inspire and raise debate. The UK Premiere of the intriguing five part series follows the life of Nelson Mandela, and uses his biography to tell a much broader story about the politics of struggle and reconciliation in South Africa.

Cuba, An African Odyssey is a second addition to the new Africa Channel’s programming this month and brings a transatlantic perspective to the history of Africa’s liberation. This intriguing documentary contains unique interviews alongside rare archival footage.  In addition, a host of inspirational African figures feature in our ‘Great Africans’ series, including Kofi Annan and Wole Soyinka.

NEW DOCUMENTARY SERIES: Mandela

A stunning five-part series that casts new light on the life of one of the most revered people of our time. This biographical series charts the life of Nelson Mandela, and begins with his early years in the rural Eastern Cape, and the irresistible lure of the city that increased as he grew older.

Episode two documents the systems of racial oppression so ingrained in city life, and tells the story of Mandela’s rapid politicisation and fervent campaigning against apartheid. Following this, narrator Chris Nicklin takes us through the infamous Rivonia treason trial and the subsequent dark days of political imprisonment.

Finally, the unprecedented series of negotiations that led to Mandela’s release take us on to the story of South Africa’s liberation and first democratic elections.

The strength of this series lies in its ability to bring original and surprising content to this well-known narrative. Through meticulous research and appealing cinematography, Mandela brings a refreshing angle to this iconic period in history, telling a much broader story about the politics of struggle and reconciliation.

> UK Premiere
> Thursdays at 8pm from 4th October.

DOCUMENTARY: Cuba, An African Odyssey

This film unravels the little-known story of Cuba’s involvement in Africa during the independence and post-independence periods, when countries like the Congo, Angola and Mozambique were used as battlegrounds on which the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were played out.

Beginning with Nelson Mandela’s first foreign visit (to Cuba) after his release from prison, the film asks: why did an international icon of freedom make this visit to see Fidel Castroand pay homage to a country that many feel limits the freedom of its own citizens? The viewer is then taken back to the start of Cuba’s long engagement with Africa from 1960 onwards, beginning with independence in the Congo, and the subsequent assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Intriguing interviews with some of the key figures of this period illuminate the narrative, including Fidel Castro, Larry Devlin (the CIA officer in the Congo during the 1960s) and Pik Botha (the former South African Foreign Minister).

> Part one: Tuesday 25th September at 9pm

> Part two: Tuesday 2nd October at 9pm

PLUS GREAT DOCUMENTARIES FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Wole Soyinka: Child of The Forest
The career of a Nobel Peace Prize winning author and intellectual

>Thursday 4th Oct at 9pm

RFK In The Land of Apartheid
Robert Kennedy’s visit to South Africa in 1966

>Saturday 13th Oct at 5pm

Kofi Annan’s Suspended Dream
An intimate interview with the former Secretary General of the UN

> Thursday 18th Oct at 9pm

Berlin 1885: The Division of Africa
A historical re-enactment of the Berlin Conference

>Tuesday 16th Oct at 9pm

Mwalimu: the Legacy of Nyerere
The architect of Tanzania’s independence

>Saturday 6th Oct at 9pm

Bhambatha: War of the Heads
A remarkable story of resistance in 1905

>Thursday 11th Oct at 9pm

CONTINUING: New Dramas and Wildlife

Jacob’s Cross
Season 7

One man’s quest to build an African empire

> Mondays at 9pm

4Play: Sex Tips for Girls Season 3
Love lives of ladies in Johannesburg

> Mondays at 10pm

Planet Africa
Features dynamic, positive environmental projects.
> Tuesdays at 8pm


Contact

For further information please contact Aurelie Brault

abrault@theafricachannel.tv  T: 0207 148 6919

http://www.theafricachannel.co.uk/

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Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath

For many in Ireland, Paul McGrath is a living legend. No player in Ireland’s history has had so many column inches written in his honour, yet the defender has always remained modest about his ability.

Born in London, With an Irish mother and a Nigerian father, McGrath spent the first 16 years of his life in an orphanage and started his football career with Dalkey United before joining St Patrick’s Athletic. He won the Young Player of the Year award in 1982 and joined Manchester United for a bargain £30,000 the following season.

On the pitch, McGrath settled in easily alongside Manchester United’s superstar, winning a FA Cup medal in 1985, but off the field he turned to alcohol to deal with the pressures of being a professional footballer.

In 1985, he won the first of his 83 caps though it wasn’t until Jack Charlton became manager that McGrath became a key member of the side. Chosen regularly in midfield by Charlton, McGrath helped Ireland to the European Championships in 1988 and World Cup two years later. Four years later, he was also part of the Ireland side that qualified for its second World Cup.

However, the story was not as straightforward as it may sound. McGrath’s drinking problems meant that on two occasions, he missed Ireland matches, while at club level, Manchester United decided to cut their losses and let him leave for Aston Villa. He was also injury prone and during the course of his career he had eight knee operations, which meant that towards the end of his career, he was not training in the accepted sense.

It is testament to his natural fitness that despite this, he still played football at the highest level until he retired in 1998. To this day, the greatest player ever to play in two world cups and don a green jersey.

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Racist Ads

Black History is full interesting images. Today advertisements such as these would be called racist adverts.  This ‘Old Gold Cigarettes’ advert in Time Magazine, featuring Eddie Cantor in Blackface. 1930.

Old Gold Cigarettes

Old Gold Cigarettes

You can see the Full spread Old Gold Cigarettes advertisment here

It would be argued that the actor was in blackface not out of racism but because the studios required him to do it.  In the 1930′s Black Actors had not yet broken through into the hollywood mainstream in their own right. White actors regularly played in  “blackface”.

Old Gold would also argue that they also tried to produce positive images of African American people.  One of their 1948 Baseball Card features  Jackie Robinson, with a short biography.

Old Gold Cigarette Card - Jackie Robinson

Old Gold Cigarette Card – Jackie Robinson

Black Baseball players were featured on Cigarette Cards from the late 1940s

Black Baseball Players on Cigarette Cards

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Giles Heron – Footballer

Giles Heron

Giles Heron

Giles Heron became the first Afro-Caribbean player to play first team football for Celtic.

Heron scored on his debut, a 2-1 win against Morton during the 1951-52 season and was quickly bestowed the nicknames “Black Flash” and “Black Arrow”.

Giles Heron became the first Afro-Caribbean player to play first team football for Celtic.

Heron scored on his debut, a 2-1 win against Morton during the 1951-52 season and was quickly bestowed the nicknames “Black Flash” and “Black Arrow”.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1922, Heron played as centre forward for the Jamaican national team as well as playing for the American club side Detroit Corinthians. On a North American tour he was spotted by a Celtic scout and later signed for the Glasgow club in 1951.

At a time when Scottish football was notable for its physical nature, Heron soon struggled – as one local newspaper put it: “lacking resource when challenged.”

The writer Phil Vasili notes that Heron was criticised in Glasgow for “being unable to transfer his pugilistic tenacity” (Heron had previously been both an athlete and a boxer). He was released barely a year later and signed for Third Division Lanark.

Heron also played for Kidderminster Harriers before returning to play for his original club, the Detroit Corinthians, where his son, the acclaimed Jazz musician and poet Gil Scott Heron, was born in 1949.

Shortly before Giles Heron’s son visited Scotland to promote his new book “The Last Holiday,” a local journalist asked about his father’s experiences of playing football in Glasgow.

Despite Heron’s relatively brief spell at Celtic, it is apparent that Giles Heron Jnr still retains fond memories of his time in Scotland. “My father still keeps up with what Celtic are doing. You Scottish folk always mention that my Dad played for Celtic,” said Scott-Heron, “it’s a blessing from the spirits! Like that’s two things that Scottish folks love the most; music and football and they got one representative from each of those from my family!”

It has become a tradition of studious Gil Scott-Heron fans to show up at his Glasgow shows in the green and white hooped shirt of Celtic. “There you go again,” said Gil Scott-Heron jokingly, “once again overshadowed by a parent!”.

Mike Lee, November 2001

 

 

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Open the Door for Black Coaches

Open the Door for Black Coaches
Submitted Article by Carla Palmer

Andrew Palmer

Andrew Palmer

There are 92 professional football clubs in the UK and about 25% of the players are black. Despite the fact that the number of black players has continued to rise there are only two black managers. This situation is contributed to by a lack of recognition and opportunities for community, grass roots and youth coaches. Many of these coaches dedicate their time and energies into working with youth from inner city areas that rely on football as a way to stay out of trouble. Many of these are black and desperately in need of role models during their youth and as they progress in the game. “They need people who understand their backgrounds and the issues they face as young black men”. These are the words of coach Andrew Palmer from Nottingham.

Despite having worked successfully with many young people from Nottingham for over 15 years as a coach, scout and mentor Andrew says,  “it is extremely difficult for me to progress within the FA”.  There are not only a lack of opportunities it may seem for black players to progress into top coaching and managerial jobs. It is practically impossible for black coaches who have not been players to secure positions in the boardroom regardless of how much knowledge they have of the game, how many years they have dedicated to coaching or how effective they have been. They have a uniquely valuable connection with their communities and invaluable relationships with the young players they coach, scout and mentor. This it seems is overlooked.

Given his history in youth football in the Midlands a coach like Andrew should be turning down job offers. Despite sending several job applications for positions within the FA he has not even been invited for an interview. He like many others suspects that this has to do with having a face that does not fit. On this Andrew says, “ I don’t know if it’s because I am black or because I haven’t been a professional player and don’t have a reputation in the media or a combination of all of these things”.

Andrews experience and history in football include becoming the first black coach and manager for the Nottingham City Schools Football Association in their 117 year history. He was invited by the Nottingham City Schools Football Association to accompany the Nottingham under 14s team on a trip to Karlsruhe Germany. “We played against two club sides Siemens Football Club and former Bundesliga Champions Karlsruhe SC,” he says. He ran the u13s and has coached all age groups starting from u11s up to the u15s culminating in playing the English Schools Football Association Cup.

Having guided various age groups, won numerous trophies and cup finals every year since 2005 and become the first black manager to lead the team to a cup final at the Nottingham Forest F.C Academy and also at Meadow Lane home of Notts County F.C (oldest football club in the world) Andrew feels he is deserving of more recognition for his hard work and dedication. He is also certain that the future of his career in football lies in finding opportunities outside of the UK.

Andrew is well known to the Nottingham City Schools Football Association. He became a member of the Management Committee, the first black man in 123 year history and by the end of the coming season will be enrolled on the English Schools Football Association’s roll of honour for eight years service as a coach.

He became the first black manager of the Nottinghamshire Football Association Youth u18s in their 100 year history playing against numerous counties all over England in the FA County Youth Championship and FA County Youth Cup.

In the last season Andrew became a member of Nottinghamshire Football Association Representative Youth Committee. In 2005 he became a scout and coach for Leicester City FC and directed the first Development Centre for u9s for them in the city of Nottingham.

Andrew successfully scouted and mentored youngsters who are currently at Leicester City FC, three of whom are scholars at the Academy. Two are currently scholars at Notts County FC one of whom Curtis Thompson made his first team debut against Wolverhampon Wanderers FC and played against Juventus in Turin.   Subsequently Curtis has just signed a professional contract with Notts County FC at 18years of age. On this Andrew proudly says, “I coached Curtis from the age of 12 and selected him to play for the Nottingham side. For four years I took him to Leicester City Academy three times a week for training and to matches playing against the likes of Chelsea, Man United and Scunthorpe. After he wasn’t selected for Leicester for a scholarship I contacted someone from Notts County for him to be signed there so I am very pleased that all my hard work paid off.” Andrew also scouted and mentored three scholars at Burton Albion FC amongst others.

Andrew has had to start his own projects which include developing, establishing and directing  ‘Football For Fun’ for three years where he applied and received funding to co-ordinate and deliver Football camps to children aged seven to 15 from Nottingham and the surrounding area. He also delivered and coached The F.A After Schools Development programme over two years and was a Futsal Coach who developed Nottinghamshire’s first Futsal team from 2008 to 2009. Nottinghamshire Futsal u19s and Nottinghamshire u14s played matches all over England against various counties. The u14s won a trophy at a Midlands Futsal Festival.

As well as coaching Andrew has been a tutor and worked in schools as a Learning Mentor, coach and PE teacher. He set up and coached girls and boys teams for primary schools that played in the Nottingham Schools Football Association Area League. The closest Andrew has come to an award for his achievements, was being nominated for Nottinghamshire Coach of the Year Award in 2005-2006. Andrew feels that there is a desperate need for change and hopes that by sharing his story others will be encouraged to speak out despite the fact that conversations about race make people feel uncomfortable.

On the merits of his CV following one telephone conversation and a few emails Andrew was invited to be Camp Director for Premier Soccer Camps held in Lawrenceville New Jersey and Cornwall on Hudson, New York in July and August of this year. This conformed his feeling that  “taking FA coaching badges in the UK is a waste of time and there are better opportunities elsewhere. America has opened my eyes to the fact that no matter what colour skin you have you are rewarded and given recognition for hard work.” Given the different response to his experience and skills working with young people by those he has met in the US Andrew is certain that the future of his career in football lies in finding opportunities outside of the UK.

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John Conteh-Boxer

John Conteh - Boxer

John Conteh - Boxer

John Conteh was born in Liverpool in 1951, to an Irish mother and Sierra Leonean father. He was raised in a rough neighbourhood, and his father encouraged him to box at the Kirkby Athletic Club when he was 10 to keep him from joining the local gangs. John excelled in boxing,

As an amateur boxer, John remarkably notched up wins against the worlds best at the 1970 Commonwealth Games. He won a record three Gold Medals at the Commonwealth Games and quickly followed up by winning ABA titles at middleweight in 1970 and light-heavyweight in 1971.

The early promise shown by John as an amateur soon blossomed and developed into a prolific career at a professional level. Taking on the worlds best, he defeated at light heavyweight, British, European and Commonwealth champions before becoming the (WBC) World Boxing Councils World Crown Holder in 1973,defeating Jorge Ahumada of Argentina.

After successfully defending his world title three times he eventually lost his title in 1977. John tried in vain to regain his title three times.

He was rightly hailed as the most talented British boxer for many years, however, persistent hand injuries and unsettling relationships with various managers unfortunately shortened Johns boxing career.

As his all round ability showed by winning the all sport British Superstars TV competition in 1974, John is no slouch when it comes to playing other sports. he is a serious golfer Playing off a handicap of eight. John is Asked regularly to play on celebrity golf days, John always puts a smile on everyones face with his own brand of jokes, observations and hilarious stories.



Related Links
John Conteh – Official Site

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Tommy Martin – Black British Boxer

Tommy Martin - Boxer

Tommy Martin – Boxer

Tommy Martin was born in Reading in 1916. In 1917, the family moved to Deptford. At 14 he ran away from home and joined a fairground, working in a Boxing Booth. In the late 1920s / early 30s there was always a token black boxer in a troupe, which helped draw crowds along with the slogan “have a go at the n…..”
Tommy got lots of practice and developed a fast punching style. Hebecame a professional boxer in November 1933 and soon became known as the British Brown Bomber. By Christmas, he had fought and won four bouts. His first full season as a boxer was 1936 when he fought 25 bouts, losing only three.
Despite Tommy Martin’s success as a boxer, he was having increasing difficulty finding fights. Already championship material, he sailed to the colonies in search of suitable opponents. Boxing Magazine already ranked him as the 4th Best Cruiser Weight (between middle and lightweight) in the world.In 1937, after having put on weight, he fought and won his first heavyweight bout. Boxing Magazine reported,
Martin did exceedingly well to give two stones in weight and a boxing lesson to Jim Wilde.
Although he had many victories under his belt, Martin was unable to fight for the British Heavyweight Championship. He was barred from fighting for Britain by a colour bar, introduced in 1909 and not repealed until 1947.  Only Britain and South Africa didn’t allow black fighters to contest Empire titles. Even American segregation didn’t prevent US boxers fighting for their country. As if to prove a point, in 1939, Tommy won every one of his fights.
Then the war and the colour bar stopped his career in its tracks.While he campaigned against the colour bar, Boxing magazine and the local mayor championed his cause. The MP for Deptford raised the case in Parliament. Unable to fight for Britain in the ring, Martin joined the RAF and later, when he was invalided out to the Merchant Navy. After that, he moved to the US, joining the Marines before setting up his own gym in Hollywood.
It was not until 1947 that the colour bar was finally abolished from British boxing. It was too late to benefit Tommy Martin and a shameful chapter that has been hidden from sports history. Without thestruggles of fighters like Martin, today’s black boxing stars like Lennox Lewis and British Olympic boxers, Audley Harrison and David Haye, would have been unable to fight for their country.

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Len Johnson – Black British Boxer

Len-Johnson - Black British Boxer

Len-Johnson - Black British Boxer

Len Johnson was a Black British Boxer from Manchester rising through the fairground Boxing Booths.

Johnson had an Illustrious career. He started his professional career in 1921although he had fought in boxing booths before turning professional.

He used the boxing booths for practise, and in particular the booths of Bill Moore. Moore was a very respected boxing booth proprietor. Len Johnson had nine fights for Moore and won seven of them in Manchester. Later he was to travel further afield to fight Jimmy cox of Wigan at Scottish Stadium,Govan.

Ex – Seaman Jimmy Cox and Len Johnson. The latter is a coloured gentleman of refined appearance, exceedingly clever in defence andattack and in the true sense of the word a boxer who delights in showing the finer points of the ‘Noble Art’. Johnson has beaten Pat McAllister, the Irish champion and hero of over 100 contests..

He continued his career over the next four years and continued to work in the boxing booths. Between 1927 and 1928 he was recognised as beingone of the best boxers in the world in his division. However the boxing authorities refused to let coloured boxers compete for the Lonsdale belts in those days. This caused much anger in his home town of Manchester. One local newspaper recounts….

Johnson has won his way to the front of the middleweight division and yet is denied the opportunity of competing for the coveted Lonsdale Belt which would set the seal on his fame…All of which is strange in a country which has bestowed honours on men irrespective of race and creed, the sole consideration being outstanding merit in the particular spheres of life in which they have distinguished themselves.

Len Johnson - Boxer

Len Johnson - Boxer

Len became increasingly disillusioned with the Boxing Authorities, and set up his own boxing booth. He retired from the ring in 1933 after losing three of six fights. He then concentrated on his boxing booth. He appeared annually at the Nottingham Goose Fair, putting on 14 shows a day.

His show attracted many skilled boxers including Benny Lynch whom Len recommended to Elky Clarke, former boxer turned Journalist with Scottish paper ‘The Daily Record’. Len’s Hunch turned out to be right, Lynch went on to become a World Champion.

Len sold his Booth in 1940 and then left the Fairgounds. His standing was so great amongst his showland colleagues that he became a member of the Lancashire section of the Showmans Guild, (usually reserved only for those born into the community).

In 1945 Len became a Communist and between 1947 and 1962 stood for local elections six times in Manchester.

Sources:

Never CountedOut:The story of Len Johnson,Manchester’s Black Boxing Hero and
Communist.-Micael Herbert (Manchester dropped aitches Press,1992)

A Fair Fight:An illustrated review of Boxing on british
Fairgrounds;-Vanessa Toulmin (Worlds Fair
LTD,Oldham,1999)

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