The Guardian – It’s a good time to celebrate England’s Black football players

It’s a good time to celebrate England’s Black football players

With England playing in the Euros on Thursday, and Windrush Day on Saturday, footballers and campaigners highlight the power of the beautiful game to unite people of all backgrounds.

The Three Lions team that we will all cheer on this week in the Euros is a symbol of England that we can all be proud of, embodying the multi-ethnic society we share today.

This Saturday marks Windrush Day, the anniversary of the 1948 ship bringing new arrivals from the Caribbean that has come to symbolise postwar migration to Britain. The legacy of the Windrush is evident in our football team as it is in our society: from Cyrille Regis, John Barnes and Rio Ferdinand to Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka today.

Football can unite us in support for our team and hope that we bring the trophy back this summer from Germany – before the UK and Ireland host the next Euros in 2028. That year also marks 50 years since Viv Anderson became England’s first Black full international player and 30 years since Hope Powell became the Lionesses’ first Black manager – as well as 80 years since the Windrush arrived in Britain.

It is a moment that we should mark in a major way, celebrating the Black contribution to English football and using the game’s unique power to bring people of all backgrounds together.
Alford Gardner Windrush passenger
Viv Anderson First Black full international England player
Paul Canoville First black player at Chelsea
Brendon Batson One of West Bromwich Albion’s legendary “Three Degrees”
Stan Horne First Black player at Manchester City and first to win a League Championship medal
Winston White First Black player at Leicester City
David Busby First Black player at Brighton and Hove Albion
Neville Chamberlain First Black player for Port Vale
Mark Chamberlain Player, England, Port Vale, Stoke and Portsmouth
Steve Johnson First Black player at Wigan
Calvin Symonds First Black player at Rochdale and former Bermuda cricket captain
Peter Foley First Black player at Chesterfield and at Scunthorpe
Tony Ford Player in a record 931 league games, including for Stoke City and Grimsby Town
Greg Foxsmith and Matt Tiller Jack Leslie Campaign
Roland Butcher First Black player to represent England at cricket and first Black footballer for Stevenage

Patrick Vernon Convener, Windrush 100 Network
Sunder Katwala Director, British Future
Ruth Hollis Chief executive, Spirit of 2012
Jon Knight Chief executive, Together Coalition
Bill Hern and David Gleave Co-authors of Football’s Black Pioneers
Delroy Corinaldi Black footballers partnership
Lucky Pemu African Caribbean Community Association North East
Adrian Murrell Windrush United FC, Preston

Originally posted on The Guardian