Tag Archive | "football"

Four very British Race Rows..Almost


Race in the Media

Race in the Media

If , like me, you keep an eye on the British media and the way that it reports race, then you will not have let events of December 2011 go unnoticed.

Seasoned observers of the media will recognise that headlines seem to be on a perpetual carousel, every now and again racism rears its ugly head. This December there were four prominent articles regarding racism all at the same time. The way the media handled each one was different let’s take a look.

Firstly, we had the race row that erupted during the football match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United. In this match Mr Patrice Evra said that Mr Luis Suarez racially abused him Mr Suarez denied the claims the press would very quick to side with ever, was this right ? you look at this later .

Then we had the re-trial of the suspects accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence back in 1993 back in football, we had John Terry accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Then in the world of politics. Labour MP Diane created a storm amongst voters and political opponents with a very foolish tweet.
The way that the media handled all of these cases was completely different.The reason for writing this post so far after the facts is simplyt to look at the hypocrisy that exists within the British media, and to reflect on how some of us in the British public seemed to just love to go along with it all.

People of colour have been subjected to racism for years, it’s nothing new to us. that doesn’t make it right. However, if we are to remain credible all cries or claims of racism have to be objectively substantiated. If someone cries racism and that accusation results in someone being punished because of that claim, then it is paramount that claim must be true, it must be proven to be true, by the presentation of facts. In the absence of facts, all we have is our memory, our account, however accurate is not evidence or proof.

Presenting our account without facts, should really be completely invalid as evidence in a court or tribunal. Anyone who cries racism when there is no proof of racism, is only making a statement, they are retelling their version of events.

To have someone punished on the basis of a claim of racism without any substantiated evidence seems to me completely bogus. Would you want to be convicted or found guilty of committing a crime when there was no evidence other than an unsubstantiated claim of someone who said that you did something.

Racism in Football

The Evra / Suarez case is particularly unique because none of the other footballers on the pitch heard any racial slur come from Mr Suarez It is my opinion that this counts as one man’s word against another. So many people condemned Suarez before the Official report even came out. When you read the F.A’s report Suarez admits saying the word “Negro” (Neg-ro). I think that it is important to get the use of this word into context. We must be clear that the Spanish use of “Negro” (Neg-ro). The way the Spanish use (Neg-ro) is not the same as the word The British and Americans use the word Negro (knee-Grow).

The crux, in this case basically rests on the fact that Suarez made reference to the other players colour. That is what got him bang to rights, this is what made him guilty, it wasn’t about whether he meant offence, whether the word was offensive in his country or in Britain, but the fact that he made a reference to another players colour. To claim that this was racist is not correct in my opinion, What were his motives, check Luis Suarez’s family history, his own grandfather was black. Maybe you have already made up your mind based on the facts presented by the media. I’d recoment that you read the Report, and then search around the Football Forums and make up your own mind. I enclose a link to the FA’s report:
Terry  V Ferdinand

Terry V Ferdinand

Terry V Ferdinand

Then there was John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. Apparently John Terry, the England Football Captain racially abused Anton Ferdinand of QPR. People posted video footage online claiming it as evidence of abuse. The CPS are taking this allegation seriously, Terry has been charged and will appear at Magistrate’s Court. Yet Prior to the notification by the CPS did you notice little the F.A said about this perhaps it is because John Terry is the England captain. Racism in this case has not been proved yet but it’s surprising how much vitriol Suarez recieved from the press as opposed to Terry. Is it because Suarez is from Uruguay and Terry is English? It certainly seems like double standards to me.

I am of course glad that the F.A is now taking a more robust stance on racism. I remember Everton fans throwing bananas at John Barnes, in the 1980’s, and we have all seen the disgusting treatment England’s black players get when they travel to Eastern Europe. Yet I can’t help thinking that the suarez verdict was a perfect way for the F.A to cock a snook at Sep Blatter’s disgusting dismissal of racism. I only hope that if John Terry is found Gulty, that he will recieve the same treatment as Suarez. Should he be found innocent, he should be supported by the F.A and not thrown to the baying mob.
BBC News – Terry -Ferdinand – Disputed Remarks

Stephen Lawrence Trial

Then we had the conviction of the Accused Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, 17 years ago at the bus stop in Eltham. Finally these two were back in court, again charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence, this time they were found guilty and the press went to town. Despite their crowing. very little was said about how despicable it is that it took 17 years to bring the killers to justice. At least they are behind bars now, yet it will be interesting to see if the media keep the pressure on the existing suspects because there are still several members of the original accused who are still at large.

Dianne Abbott causes Twitter Storm

If that wasn’t enough news on the Race category, Hackney MP Diane Abbott got herself into a storm over making “racist” comments on twitter she tweeted that “white people love to play divide and rule”, is it just me or was this a stupid tweet? If miss Abbott thinks white people love to play divide and rule she would be sensible to keep such thoughts to herself, given that many of her constituents are White. A politician should not be seen to be discriminating against any racial group. In her defence Miss Abbott said that the tweet was taken out of context, but she is an intelligent woman who holds a degree, and is an experienced a politician. Opposition politicians, the press and the Twitterati called for her head, she was lucky to have survived and to have kept her place in the shadow cabinet. As someone who no longer cares about the political parties in Britain, it is my conclusion that Ms Abbott has damaged her credibility, she is quick to vocally attack racism when ift affects black people, yet seems to think that making sweeping generalisations about the white race can be somehow excused.

When it comes to racism we black people have to be objective. It is no good sticking up for Diane Abbott when she makes stupid mistakes, she shames herself and ridicules the cause of anti racism. It is no good crying “racist” without providing evidence to prove that someone behaved in a racist manner. It’s simply degrades the cause and fight against real racism.

We live in a country where racism is supposedly dead. Yet it is telling indictment upon our society when we read the reason why Neville and Doreen Lawrence buried their son in Jamaica because they were so scared that if they had buried him in England his grave would have been desecrated by those who would glorify the acts of the racists.

As a final though if only the media only taken a stronger stance on racism before the 1990s Stephen Lawrence may still be walking amongst us today. It took his death for the establishment to open one eye.

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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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Racism: on the pitch but off the agenda

Racism: on the pitch but off the agenda

By Jon Burnett :  Original Article IRR

24 November 2011, 5:00pm

What should we make of recent allegations of racism in football?

Show Racism the Red Card

Show Racism the Red Card

UNTIL recently, the narrative on racism in English football resembled something of a self-congratulatory redemption story. The forms of racist abuse that were explicit in the 1980s – fans throwing bananas at black players, spitting at them when they took a throw-in, making monkey-noises when they received the ball, not ‘counting’ the goals they scored for the national team – were all seen, by and large, as things of the past. Similarly, the racial abuse that footballers had to endure by opposing players (and in some cases team-mates) was generally explained away as a regrettable reminder of a bygone era. ‘Moved on’ was the general perception: football, aside from the odd remark from the odd bad apple, had ‘moved on’.

The question as to exactly how far the game has moved on has been thrown open with the allegations that England captain John Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand in October and, in November, with the Football Association (FA) charging Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. These may be especially high-profile incidents, yet they show a reality in football in which racism is very much a factor in the present.

In the last two months alone five high-profile footballers, Sammy Ameobi, Jay Bothroyd, Frazier Campbell, Anton Ferdinand and James Vaughan, have had racist comments sent to them through twitter; and the former footballer and now ‘Talksport’ pundit Stan Collymore was threatened with violence through the same format for speaking out against racism. On the pitch, Chelsea fans allegedly sang racist chants to Daniel Sturridge, a striker playing for their club, recently. Arsenal supporters chanted ‘it should have been you’ to Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor, referring to an incident last year when he was on a bus with team-mates from Togo and gunmen shot and killed the driver, the media officer and the team’s assistant coach. (Tottenham fans, incidentally, also racially abused him when he was playing for Real Madrid against them earlier this year.) The Blyth Spartans player, Richard Offiong, claimed that another footballer said to him ‘where are your bananas? Show me your passport’ a few weeks ago.[1] And, returning to social media, Worcester City footballer Lee Smith tweeted on Armistice Day that ‘Illegal immigrants’ should f**k off out of are (sic) country … kill um’, before initially defending his comments and saying he was not really serious about inciting murder.[2]

Read full article

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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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Stan Collymore

Stan Collymore is a black British former footballer who played for Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Aston villa

Stan Collymore

Stan Collymore is remembered as being one of Footballs bad boys. He has now retired from professional football. He was an extremely successful Striker.
Born January 22, 1971 in Stone in Staffordshire.

He joined Walsall in 1989 but the club later canceled his Y.T.S contract. In July 1989 Wolves agreed to complete his trainee term but despite scoring 18 goals from 20 games for their youth team he was released. He started to make his name with Vauxhall Conference side Stafford Rangers when Steve Coppell signed him for Crystal Palace. His appearances in the Palace first team were infrequent as a result of the Chris Armstrong occupying his favoured striking position. So Southend United bought him 150,000 Pounds in October 1992.

Collymore was suddenly a bigger fish in a smaller pool and his 18 goals in 33 games at Roots Hall won him a big money move to Nottingham Forest. Brian Clough had seemed set to take him after selling Teddy Sheringham but had baulked at Southend’s 2,000,000 Pounds asking price. It was new manager Frank Clark who signed him in July 1993 for Forest’s then-record 2,200,000 Pounds fee.

Scoring 19 goals in 28 League games really helped Forest’s return to the top flight. He then proved that he could produce at the highest level by again top-scoring with 25 goals (22 League) including 10 in the last two months to help the club to third place in the Premiership and a return to European competition.

Alex Ferguson failed in a bid to sign him just prior to signing Andy Cole. In April, Aston Villa also met with a rejection after offering 5,000,000 Pounds but, in the same month, he received his first England call-up for squad training. He won his first England cap in June 1995 against Japan but was substituted after a disappointing performance.

He also came on as a late substitute against Brazil. He left the City Ground for a British record 8,500,000 Pounds in July to move to Liverpool. He scored a notable winner on his League debut against Sheffield Wednesday but the next three months brought only one more goal and he was replaced by Robbie Fowler. An interview given to a football magazine in which he criticised the club and manager Roy Evans led to him making a humiliating apology.

Stans ability to get himself into trouble, has ultimately and overshadowed his footballing talent and probably damaged his reputation as a player

However Stan formed a formidable partnership with Robbie Fowler and ended up scoring 14 Premiership goals in his first season. Collymore was unlucky not to make the England squad for Euro 96. The 1996-97 season saw more off-field rows with Roy Evans, and injuries restricted his appearances to 25 in the Premiership. However he still scored 12 premiership goals in a seasons tally of 16.

Brian Little-Aston Villa Manager expressed his admiration for Stan who was a Villa supporter as a boy. Liverpool’s failure to win the Premiership enabled Little to get his man, and 7 million Pounds tempted Liverpool into parting company with their record signing. But after only a few months Stan was hell raising again, the media loved his drink fueled outbursts and his rocky relationships with female TV personalities. Villa had had enough and Stan was bought by Leicester City. Stan finished his career with brief periods at Bradford City and Spanish club Ovieda.

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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.

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Cyrille Regis – Footballer



Cyrille Regis, Is a famous black British footballer, he was one of the earliest black players in the modern leagues. The striker, whose trademark was scoring highly spectacular goals, began his playing career at West Brom with star players like Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson, Derek Statham, Len Cantello and Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown.

Regis broke into the first team at West Bromwhich Albion within a few months of signing for West Brom in May 1977 and remembers some of the racial abuse that he endured initially from some of the Hawthorns crowd;

“I think they were rebelling against me ’cause I’d taken a white guy’s place in the team.” (Quoted in Cashmore, 1981, p154).

However, the West Brom fans, impressed by his early scoring exploits were quick to warm to the former electrician who had joined Albion from non-league Hayes. Regis believed that it was this early recognition and acceptance of his talents by both the club and fans alike, which allowed his career at West Brom to develop.

Large black communities in nearby Handsworth also provided support for Regis and his colleagues at a time when black fans were reluctant to attend matches for fear of their own safety. Regis would later reach the pinnacle of his career in 1987, when he was a key figure in Coventry City’s F.A. Cup winning triumph.
He stayed at Coventry City where another seven years winning the only major medal of his career. He then played two years for Aston Villa and ended his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester

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Black Footballers in Britain-Walter Tull

Walter Tull was born in Folkestone on 28th April 1888. His father was a carpenter from Barbados who had moved to Folkestone and married a local woman. By the age of nine, Walter had lost both his parents, and when he was 10 he and his brother Edward were sent to a Methodist orphanage in Bethnal Green. His brother left the orphanage two years later, was adopted by a Scottish family and became a dentist. Meanwhile, Walter played for the orphanage football team, and in 1908, began playing for Clapton FC. Within a few months he had won winners’ medals in the FA Amateur Cup, London County Amateur Cup and London Senior Cup. In March 1909 the Football Star called him ‘the catch of the season’.

In 1909 he signed as a professional for Tottenham Hotspur, and experienced for the first time spectator racism when Spurs travelled to play Bristol City. According to one observer, ‘a section of the spectators made a cowardly attack on him in language lower than Billingsgate.’ The correspondent continued:

“Let me tell those Bristol hooligans that Tull is so clean in mind and method as to be a model for all white men who play football whether they be amateur or professional. In point of ability, if not actual achievement, Tull was the best forward on the field”

In October 1911 Tull moved to Northampton Town where he played half-back and scored nine goals in 110 senior appearances. When the First World War broke out, be became the first Northampton player to sign up to join the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and in November 1915 his battalion arrived in France.

The Army soon recognised Tull’s leadership qualities and he was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant. In July 1916, Tull took part in the major Somme offensive. Tull survived this experience but in December 1916 he developed trench fever and was sent home to England to recover.

Tull and other officers

Tull had impressed his senior officers and recommended that he should be considered for further promotion. When he recovered from his illness, instead of being sent back to France, he went to the officer training school at Gailes in Scotland. Despite military regulations forbidding “any negro or person of colour” being an officer, Tull received his commission in May, 1917.

Lieutenant Walter Tull was sent to the Italian front. This was an historic occasion because Tull was the first ever black officer in the British Army. He led his men at the Battle of Piave and was mentioned in dispatches for his “gallantry and coolness” under fire.

Tull stayed in Italy until 1918 when he was transferred to France to take part in the attempt to break through the German lines on the Western Front. On 25th March, 1918, 2nd Lieutenant Tull was ordered to lead his men on an attack on the German trenches at Favreuil. Soon after entering No Mans Land, Tull was hit by a German bullet. Tull was such a popular officer that several of his men made valiant efforts under heavy fire from German machine-guns to bring him back to the British trenches. These efforts were in vain as Tull had died soon after being hit. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medal and recommended for a Military Cross.

He was the first British-born black army officer and the first black officer to lead white British troops into battle.

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Who was your favourite footballer and why?


We all have our favourites for one reason or another, maybe your favourite player was the first black player to play for your local team, or perhaps he was a prolific goalscorer with amazing skills.  Who was your Favourite footballer and why?

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The Walter Tull Campaign – More Information about Walter Tull and News about the Campaign

Tull Family

Tull Family

Walter Tull was born at 16 Allendale Street, Folkstone in April 1888. His father was a joiner from St Thomas Parish in Barbados and came to Britain in 1876. He married a local girl from Folkestone in 1880 and together they had six children. In 1897, Walter and his siblings were orphaned when first his mother and then his father died within two years of one another.

In 1898, Walter and his brother Edward were sent to an orphanage in London. After he finished school, he served as an apprentice printer, but in 1908 due to his footballing talent, Clapton Football club (later Leyton Orient) invited him to join them. He later came to the attention of Tottenham Hotspur and made his debut for the club in 1909. He received much praise from the footballing press.

However, during a game at Bristol, Walter was targeted with a torrent of racial abuse by a section of the crowd. Thereafter Tottenham played him mainly in the reserve team.

In February 1911 Walter came to the attention of Northampton Town Football Club, when The Cobblers were beaten 7-1 by Spurs in a reserve team fixture.
The Northampton Football Echo noted that: “After 11 minutes Tull scored a pretty goal for Tottenham.” Walter went on to score a hat trick.

By October 1911 Walter had moved to Albany Road, Northampton, and was to play over 110 games for the Cobblers first team. He later lived in Queen Street, Rushden where he also played for Rushden Town Cricket Club with his friend Eric Tompkins (who played county cricket for Northamptonshire).

In December 1914, Walter became the first Cobblers player to enlist in the First World War. Military rules had initially prevented Black people joining White regiments, but Tull fought on the Western Front in the 17th (1st Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. In 1916, Walter was invalided out as a result of trench fever and was sent to Officer Cadet Training School in Scotland, even though Black people were officially excluded from exercising actual command because it was deemed to be bad for discipline.

In May 1917 he became Britain’s first Black infantry officer, a 2nd Lieutenant of the 23rd Middlesex (2nd Football). Walter was sent to Italy where he was mentioned in dispatches for his: “coolness and gallantry in battle”. By March 1918 he was back in France, where he was killed during the 2nd battle of the Somme near Favrenil in no-man’s land.

In 1997 an appeal was launched in Northampton to recognise Walter Tull’s achievements, inspired by research undertaken by Phil Vasili and an enthusiastic local fan. In July 1999 a memorial to Walter was finally unveiled at Sixfields the home ground of The Cobblers, and the approach road to the stadium renamed Walter Tull Way. More recently, the offices of Probabtion Services in the centre of Northampton have been renamed Walter Tull House.

Walter’s status as a war hero should also be considered in the context of other un-named Black soldiers who fought for Britain in both World Wars and other battles across the world over hundreds of years.

Plans are afoot:

1. To rename the school he attended in Folkstone as The Walter Tull School.
2. To erect a statue of Walter Tull at the newly planned Spurs Stadium
3. To replay the match between Spurs & Bristol City in memory of the racial abuse Walter suffered 100 years ago.
4. To include the story of Walter Tull in the National Curriculum
5. To erect a permanent memorial to Walter Tull in Folkstone
6. and of course… to posthumously award Walter the Victoria Cross that he was recommended to receive but did not.

Just let us know what you would like to do and send us your contact details
The Walter Tull Campaign

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