Soccer Led Me To Embrace Every Part Of My Multiracial Heritage

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2017-01-10 21:23Z by Steven

Soccer Led Me To Embrace Every Part Of My Multiracial Heritage

The Huffington Post
2017-01-06

Geneva Abdul, Publicist & Writer
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Born from the marrying of British and Trinidadian cultures, I defined my cultural identity through soccer when I decided to play for Trinidad and Tobago at the age of 14.

Growing up, my parents had never imposed their cultures on me — my cultural identity had always felt like a decision between Canadian, Trinidadian and British. It wasn’t until I had recently retired my soccer cleats when I’d realized I had never had to make the choice, that I could be all three.

As a woman I oscillate between essence and existence. As a woman of colour I participate in a more complex rigmarole of types. The quotidian experience of being asked “what’s your background” or being told “you’re pretty for a brown girl” and “I didn’t know brown girls were athletic” served as a set of ongoing reminders that constantly interpolated my cultural identity…

Read the entire article here.

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The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 18:24Z by Steven

The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

The Telegraph
2016-10-20

Jim White


Tony Collins became England’s first black manager at Rochdale in 1960 Credit: Jon Super for The Telegraph

When he managed Rochdale back in the early Sixties, Tony Collins earned £1,500 a year. Fifty-four years on, as he sits reminiscing in a care home in Manchester, there are two managers in the very city where he is speaking who each earn £10 million a year. But he is not remotely resentful.

“I don’t begrudge them getting good money,” he says. “Because we were exploited. Oh dear, were we exploited. When I was a player, if Stan Matthews was in town, you could guarantee the gates would be locked. The crowds flocked to see him. Or Tom Finney, or Wilfy Mannion. What players they were. Artists, entertainers. But they never got the money.”

Things might have changed financially from his day, but one thing has not: ethnic minority managers remain a scandalous rarity. In that respect, Collins was a pioneer. The assumption has long been that Keith Alexander was the first black or mixed-race manager in the Football League when he took charge of Lincoln City in 1993…

…Collins’s story, told in a new book co-authored by his daughter Sarita, is an extraordinary one. He was born in Kensington during the general strike in 1926, his 17-year-old mother refusing to identify his father on his birth certificate. One thing was immediately obvious, however: his dad was black. Mixed-race children were an unusual sight in London in the 1920s. But his mother’s parents adopted him and brought him up in the then tough environs of the Portobello Road

Read the entire article here.

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Tony Collins: Football Master Spy

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 17:54Z by Steven

Tony Collins, Football Master Spy

Book Guild Publishing Ltd
2016-10-27
270 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781910878934

Quentin Cope & Sarita Collins

The English Football League’s First Black Manager

This is the story of the English football league’s first black manager. Tony Collins was a young man, born into disadvantaged circumstances, in a time period between two world wars where nothing was certain, except the kind of reception a black man would receive when attempting to move into a slightly brutal but reserved world of top class white sportsmen. After becoming the very first Black English Football League manager in history, Tony went on to be one of the most influential ‘backroom boys’ the game has ever seen, being labelled ‘The Teacher’ and football’s ‘Master Spy’ by the National Press. The story falls naturally into three distinct parts:

  • Part I: His early life as a child in London, his schooling and army life in Italy.
  • Part II: His career as a football player and time as a manager.
  • Part III: His time as a chief scout for the top teams of the day and the England side under well-known names as Revie and Atkinson.
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Focus on world’s first black football star

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 21:21Z by Steven

Focus on world’s first black football star

The Voice
2016-10-16

Poppy Brady

Dr Tony Talburt decided that a book on Guyanese-born footballer Watson was seriously overdue, so he set about researching the background of this exceptional pioneer of the beautiful game

HE WAS the world’s first black football superstar, but the name Andrew Watson is not on every football fan’s lips – and that is why a book has been written about him to give him the spotlight he deserves.

Writer and education adviser Dr Tony Talburt decided that a book on Guyanese-born footballer Watson was seriously overdue, so he set about researching the background of this exceptional pioneer of the beautiful game.

As Dr Talburt so eruditely puts it in his book Andrew Watson – the World’s First Black Superstar, had Watson been born more than 100 years later in the 1980s, he would most certainly have been considered a sporting celebrity.

“What Watson achieved in the 1880s was probably the equivalent of contemporary legends such as Lionel Messi of Barcelona or Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, captaining both club and country” said Dr Talburt.

“In more ways than one, Andrew Watson was truly a remarkable footballer and sporting hero.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-22 19:19Z by Steven

Andrew Watson: The World’s First Black Football Superstar

Hansib Publications
2016
136 pages
216 x 138 mm

Tony Talburt

Foreword by Lord Herman Ouseley

Today, seeing Black footballers playing the game at the very highest level is considered very normal. This, certainly, was not the case one hundred and forty years ago, and this is what makes the story of Andrew Watson so remarkable.

It seems hard to imagine that a Guyanese-born Black man could head the Scottish national football team in 1881 in a game against England. Not only was he captain, but he also led them to a 6-1 victory in London – an achievement that still ranks as England’s heaviest ever defeat on home soil. If this were all that Watson had been able to accomplish, most people would agree that he should be commended for being the world’s first Black person to captain a national football team. But there was so much more. He was the world’s first Black football administrator, as well as the first Black player to win three national cup winners’ trophies.

During the 1870s and 1880s, when Watson played, he was regarded as one of the finest players in Britain. The word ‘pioneer’ is often used to describe certain players, but this would certainly be a most fitting expression to encapsulate the remarkable achievements of Andrew Watson.

This book reflects upon the legend, legacy and pioneering endeavours of a truly great Black British football superstar.

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How Soccer Helped Brazil Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2016-04-07 01:02Z by Steven

How Soccer Helped Brazil Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Zócalo Public Square
KCRW
Santa Monica, California
2016-04-06

Joshua Nadel, Associate Professor of History
North Carolina Central University

Brazil—as two recent book titles point out, and almost any kid kicking a ball anywhere in the world can tell you—is the country of soccer. While the modern sport’s actual birthplace is England, Brazil is the spiritual center of the sport. Brazil, whose beloved canarinho team is the only one to play in all World Cups and to have won five, perfected the English invention, inspiring a more poetic, fluid version of the game. And while Brazil made modern soccer, the extent to which soccer made modern Brazil is often underappreciated.

The sport landed in Brazil (and throughout Latin America) at the moment of the creation of the modern nation state, in the late 19th century. As a result it tied into the historical narratives—the stories that Brazilians crafted about themselves—that underpinned the nascent nation. Soccer helped to knit Brazil together into one country in the early 20th century and played a key role in incorporating people of African descent into the polity.

Soccer arrived in Brazil in the 1890s, brought by British workers and Anglo-Brazilian youth who were returning from school in England. At first played in elite social clubs like the São Paulo Athletic Club, the sport soon diffused downwards to the masses, and by the first decades of the 20th century was already the most popular sport in the country. Most soccer histories in Latin America suggest two separate “births”—the foreign birth marked by arrival of sport and the dominance of expatriate teams; and the national birth, when the local youth began to beat the Europeans at their game. In Brazil a third birth exists: when Afro-Brazilians enter the field in large numbers…

Read the entire article here.

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Kang Soo-il’s drugs ban ruins inspirational tale for mixed-race Koreans

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-08-13 20:49Z by Steven

Kang Soo-il’s drugs ban ruins inspirational tale for mixed-race Koreans

The Guardian
2015-07-30

John Duerden, Asian football correspondent

The striker with an American GI father was on the verge of a dream debut for South Korea after a lifetime struggle against discrimination when he tested positive for an anabolic steroid he blamed on moustache-growing cream

Claiming that you have failed a drug test because of the application of moustache-growing cream is sure to amuse and there are plenty of internet memes of Kang Soo-il with facial hair that would put Dick Dastardly to shame. But it really wasn’t that funny and ended a football dream that meant more than most. Few players had gone through such hardships to appear for their national team but just hours before it was actually, finally, going to happen for the South Korean, the negative news of the positive test result came through.

Instead of leading the line for his country at the start of qualification for the 2018 World Cup, Kang is banned for much of the season, his international career likely over before it started…

Read the entire article here.

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Arthur Wharton: The first Black Footballer

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2013-05-27 19:45Z by Steven

Arthur Wharton: The first Black Footballer

BBC Tyne
Culture
October 2003


BBC

Over 100 years before Dyer, Jenas and Ameobi, the North East had the UK’s first professional black League player. Meet the legendary Arthur Wharton.

Arthur Wharton was born on 28 October 1865 in Accra, formerly the Gold Coast, now capital of Ghana, West Africa.

His father, Henry Wharton was a famous Methodist Minister and Missionary from Grenada in the West Indies and his mother was Annie Florence Egyriba, was related to the Fante Royal Family.

Both of Arthur’s paternal grandfather’s were Scottish traders. One of his great grandmothers was an African-Grenadian slave.

Arthur’s uncle on his mothers’ side was a successful businessman and owner of the Gold Coast Times

Read the entire article here.

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Mixing Up the Game: Social and Historical Contours of Black Mixed Heritage Players in British Football

Posted in Books, Chapter, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2013-03-25 02:08Z by Steven

Mixing Up the Game: Social and Historical Contours of Black Mixed Heritage Players in British Football

Mark Christian, Professor & Chair of African & African American Studies
Lehman College, City University of New York

pages 131-144

in the volume Race, Ethnicity and Football: Persisting Debates and Emergent Issues
Routledge
2011-03-29
288 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-88205-7

Edited by:

Daniel Burdsey, Senior Lecturer of Sociology
Chelsea School of Sport
University of Brighton

INTRODUCTION

As the world comes to terms with the reality that the most powerful man on earth, President Barack Obama, is of African-American (mixed heritage) background, it is evident that multiracial heritage has become a popular subject matter. Yet much of this interest stems from the fact that history has been made in terms of a person of colour holding court in the most powerful office in the world. That stated, the social world of mixed heritage persons continues to be one of mixed fortunes. In relation to football, however, there is little doubt that the emergence of players of mixed heritage is palpable in the English Premier League and England team set-up.

This chapter primarily focuses on the socio-historical experiences of black mixed heritage’ footballers within the context of British society. What qualifies me to write on such a subject as black mixed heritage footballers in the UK context? In the world of social science, my social background and academic training would probably be deemed “organically connected” to the phenomena under scrutiny. Indeed having been raised in the city of Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s, I am acutely aware of both British football and institutional racism. Moreover, my black British heritage and intellectual interests have intersected with my love for the beautiful game and the experience of black British players in general.

Additionally, I played for over a decade in the amateur football scene in Liverpool during the 1980s in predominantly black mixed heritage teams based in Toxteth/Liverpool 8, winning league titles and cups on a regular basis. During the 1980s, both of the city’s professional clubs, Everton and Liverpool, had very successful teams, yet it was rare to see a black face on the pitch or on the terraces. Racialised relations were rather poor, and it was difficult for local blacks in the city to go beyond the boundaries of Toxteth/Liverpool 8, where the majority resided, without incurring physical threats to one’s life. Moreover, the city council also had an appalling record of discrimination in employment against its local black population (Gifford et al. 1989).

Most importantly, beyond the structures of institutional racism in Liverpool, I know what it is like to be called a “black bastard” while playing a game of football. Indeed, racism was rife in amateur football on the pitch and in the professional game on the terraces. I recall John Barnes making his England debut in 1983, and later the chants of the England supporters: “there ain’t no black in the Union Jack, Johnnie Barnes, Johnnie Barnes”—a chant that would lead the academic Paul Gilroy (1987) to coin the phrase for his bestseller There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack

…HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF BRITISH MIXED-NESS

Britain has a long history of amnesia in what could be deemed a “racialised mongrelisation” memory loss. After all, it is a state that has historically “mixed” with many cultural groups. To be sure, since the earliest times of British history, peoples with varied ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, languages and cultures have settled in Britain; from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages (5000 BC-100 BC) to the Roman Britain era (55 BC-410 AD). Briefly, the Picts, Celts, Romans, Saxons, Angles, Danes, Jutes, Vikings and Normans are key historical cultural groups that led to the “normative” white ethnic category now described homogenously as “white” and singular in authoritative government census surveys…

Read the entire chapter (by permission of the author) here.

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To tackle racism, we must tackle ignorance

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-02-21 18:26Z by Steven

To tackle racism, we must tackle ignorance

The Times of London
2012-02-14

John Barnes

It’s not about football, it’s about destroying modern myths of colour, race and superiority
 
In 1987 a black friend of mine went into a shop to buy a coat. He asked the assistant if they had it in black and she said no, they only had it in nigger brown. She was a lovely woman, but what would we say if that happened today?
 
If I were to ask players of my generation if they had made a racist comment in a football match, anyone honest would almost certainly say yes. No one batted an eyelid 20 years ago. Now when Alan Hansen says “coloured” rather than “black” (because black used to be an insult) or Luis Suárez says “negrito”, everyone jumps up and down to distance themselves from such remarks. They believe racism has been consigned to the past…

…The Football Association ticks all the right boxes with its policies and campaigns, the Government passes legislation, the Prime Minister gets involved because someone didn’t shake someone’s hand, people queue up to say ignorance is no excuse. But they are wrong. Ignorance is the excuse. To stop it, we have to start talking seriously about race.
 
The idea that race is about colour is relatively modern. When Aristotle spoke about races he was differentiating between uncivilised barbarians and civilised Greeks. But it was introduced by governments, backed by the Church, to validate slavery and colonialism, to justify treating some people as less equal than others. Just as Linnaeus classified plants, so people were classified by the colour of their skin. Academics tried to prove differences in skull formation to give scientific support to the idea that black people were morally and intellectually inferior.
 
But race is not a scientific reality. You could find a tribe in Africa who are genetically closer to Europeans than to an African tribe a hundred miles away. Some Saudis have whiter skin than Italians.
 
The notion of “whiteness” is an ideology of superiority. Nothing similar has ever existed in black culture. Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda do not see themselves as the same. When the Labour MP Diane Abbott talked on Twitter about “divide and rule” her claims depended on a sense of black identity that wasn’t correct…

Read the entire article here.

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