Tag Archive | "Celtic"

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



Posted in African American History, Black Britain, Black History, Black History Month UK, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (0)

Ian Wright – Footballer

Ian Wright - Footballer

Ian Wright - Footballer

Ian Wright was one of the best known footballers in the British game, he started off as a low paid plasterer and ended up being one of the most recognised footballers of our time.
He was recognised as an extremely talented young striker which his managers soon noticed. He was getting paid very little and was sent to Chelmsford Prison for not paying motoring fines,. Ian said he had learned a very valuable lesson and he said he never wanted to go to prison again because he saw what it was doing to people.

He imagined God saying “Is this where you want to go? cause other wise you better change”.

At 17 scouts from Crystal Palace saw him and recognised a very hard working and very talented striker. He was signed up as soon as possible. He was only offered one hundred pounds a week. His first game came in 1985 when he came on as a substitute against Oldham F.C. He came on and with in minutes he set up Palaces equalizer. He spent six years at palace.

He joined Arsenal for 2.5 million pounds, which at the time was a record. Wright won the Golden boot award in his first season and went on to be Arsenal’s top scorer for the next six seasons.? When he joined arsenal he never guessed how famous he would be when he finally left. After only one year at the club he had picked up several medals. He won the F.A cup in 1993 and the Coca Cola up in the same year.
In the 1993-94 season he was starting to head for the big time. Arsenal won the European Cup  Winners Cup. The next year was almost as successful, a big almost.  He managed to score in every conceivable debut game for Arsenal which was a great achievement. On the 13th September 1997 Wright scored a hat-trick against Bolton the first goal of which equaled with Cliff Bastins record as the top all time Arsenal goal scorer on 178 goals.
Ian joined West Ham United where he spent 15 months. ? He had subsequent short spells at Nottingham Forest, Celtic, and Burnley (whom he helped to promotion to Division One) before retiring in 2000. He finished his club career with 323 goals in all competitions.

He left football to concentrate on his own T.V show,? “The Ian Wright Show”.? He was awarded the RIMA award of Television personality of the year in 2003.

Since then Wright has presented a whole host of Television shows such as Gladiators and Live from Studio 5

Ian sons are all involved in football playing for a variety of clubs.? Wright is also the patron of the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, he was awarded the MBEfor his services to charity.

Posted in Black Britain, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (5)

John Barnes – Footballer

John Barnes

John Barnes

John Barnes was an exciting Black footballer playing for Liverpool in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Three years after his spectacular solo goal for England against Brazil at Rio’s Maracana Stadium the exciting Jamaican-born winger was signed from Watford for 900,000 pounds by Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish in 1987 as part of his team reshaping following the departure of Ian Rush to Juventus.

Barnes linked up with other new recruits Peter Beardsley, Ray Houghton and John Aldridge in a swashbuckling lineup that swept to the Championship in style, with Barnes scoring 15 times in 38 outings.

John Barnes will always be remembered as a brave man though as he shrugged off racist abuse in 1987, bananas were hurled at him during a match.Liverpool also equaled the record of 29 League games unbeaten from the start of the season and reached the FA Cup Final, losing to Wimbledon.

The impact of Barnes earned him the votes of both the football writers and his fellow professionals of the PFA as the 1988 double Footballer of the year. The following season he won a FA Cup medal and in 1989-90 his 22 goals earned him a second title medal.

During Graeme Souness’s period as manager Barnes was appointed club captain and switched from the wing to a central midfield role.
After Roy Evans had taken over as manager, Barnes won a Coca-Cola Cup medal in 1994-95.

He joined Newcastle United in 1997, received an MBE a year later and after a loan spell with Charlton became Celtic coach in 1999, though he was to part company with them early in 2000.

In 2008 Barnes took over as manager of the Jamaica National team, and had some success, guiding the team to the 2008 Caribbean Championships, qualifying as the top Caribbean side for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

However Barnes was hankering to be back in club football and after an unsuccessful bid to manage Port Vale, he was appointed Tranmere Rovers manager in June 2009.

Tranmere had a terrible run of form resulting in Barnes being sacked after just 12 games.

Barnes is also involved with the creation of TEAM48 motorsport, a team aiming to promote young racing drivers of Caribbean background.

Posted in African History, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (2)