Here are some of FURD's milestones from our birth in 1995 onwards. For more recent milestones, and for more details, please visit our News pages.

1995: Attacks on local Asian and Somali people in the vicinity of Sheffield United’s ground, particularly on match days.  Football Unites, Racism Divides partnership set up including fans, Sheffield United and community groups.

Jan 1996: Successful bid for funding from the European Cities Anti-Racism Project.

April 1996: Project Co-ordinator appointed and Football Unites officially launched at Sheffield United FC.

May 1997: Publication of ‘Sheffield Divided or United? A Study of ‘Race’ and Football’, research report commissioned by Football Unites.

May 1997: Headstone on Arthur Wharton’s previously unmarked grave unveiled after Football Unites set up an appeal fund.

Sep 1997: European funding enables Football Unites to appoint a part-time youth worker, resources and information worker, and an admin worker.

Nov 1997: Football Unites Resources and Information Centre officially opened.

Jan 1998: Football Unites website launched.

July 1998: Football Unites takes two teams to the Anti-Racist World Cup in Italy for the first time and has taken a party regularly ever since. Football Unites’ teams the Somali Blades and Abbeydale Youth Project meet and draw in the final.

Sep 1998: Publication of the book ‘The First Black Footballer: Arthur Wharton 1865-1930’, by Phil Vasili, funded by Football Unites.

Oct 1998: ‘History of Black Footballers Exhibition’ launched at Manchester United’s Museum.

Nov 1998: Somali Blades win the Philip Lawrence Award for good citizenship.

Nov 1998: ‘Streetkick’ mobile football game unveiled at Sheffield United’s open day.

Feb 1999: FARE network (Football Against Racism in Europe) founded by supporters’ groups from 13 countries. Football Unites is a founder member and partner.

May 1999: Football Unites Educational Trustestablished.

May 1999: First Community Day held by Football Unites and Sheffield United at Bramall Lane with Somali Blades playing the Abbeydale Youth Project in a replay of the Anti-Racist World Cup final. Community Day becomes an established part of the calendar with days being held every year since.

July 1999: Football Unites begins delivering Sheffield Futures'  Millennium Volunteers scheme established by the Department for Education and Employment

Feb 2000: David Blunkett attends launch of Football Unites Millennium Volunteers project at Bramall Lane.

2000: Began working with the Shirecliffe Youth Inclusion Project, funded by the Home Office Positive Futures initiative, to provide coaching, a second Streetkickgame and a peer mentoring programme.

Aug 2000: Sharrow United, sponsored by Football Unites, become the first mainly Asian team in Sheffield local league football.

April 2001: ‘United Colours of Football’ fanzine, issue 2, launched by Football Unites and Kick It Out as part of the first European-wide anti-racist week of action in football.

April 2001: Football Unites launches website for the FARE network (Football Against Racism in Europe).

May 2001: Sharrow United win promotion in their first season in the Regional Alliance Sunday League Division 2.

Oct 2001: John Barnes is among the inspirational speakers at a Football Unites-run conference aimed at raising young people’s aspirations.

Feb 2002: 80 delegates from 14 countries attend a FARE conference organised by Football Unites and held at Sheffield United to share good practice in anti-racist work.

May 2002: Sharrow Utd win promotion again to the Regional Alliance Premier League

July 2002: Football Unites enters a women’s team in the mixed Anti-Racist World Cup for the first time and the team wins the Coppa Multiculti.

Oct 2002: National and Europe-wide Anti-Racist Action Week sees all 92 league clubs take part. The week has since become an established annual event.

Nov 2002: FARE wins the MTV Free Your Mind human rights award.

June 2003: FURD is described as a 'model project' in the report 'Unite Against Racism in European Football: UEFAGuide to Good Practice' .

Jul-Aug 2003: Unity Cup, national tournament for refugees and asylum-seekers, is held in Manchester, with Sheffield teams taking part, and a 7-a-side summer league starts for refugees and asylum-seekers in Sheffield.

Sep 2003: Football Unites backs a new Somali under-18 team, Surud United, who enter the 11-a-side Sheffield & District DB Sports Under-18 League.

Jan 2004: The national Kick It Out campaign marks its tenth anniversary at a star-studded ceremony. Football Unites receives a special award for its pioneering work as a community-based anti-racist football project.

April 2004: Sharrow Utd win the Sheffield Regional Alliance Sunday League Cup.

June 2004: Streetkick tours Portugal helping promote a friendly atmosphere among fans during Euro 2004

July 2004: A break-in, theft and fire at our office disrupts work and causes us to move to temporary premises for 6 months.

April 2005: Football Unites wins contract from the Home Office to deliver a Positive Futures programme in Sharrow and Burngreave, initially for one year until  March 2006.

May 2005: Football Unites delivers its first anti-racist training package to youth workers.

Nov 2005: Football Unites marks its tenth anniversarywith a gala evening at Bramall Lane.

June 2006: FURD’s Streetkick tours the World Cup finals in Germany

July 2006: FURD hosts the national Unity Cup tournament for refugees and asylum-seekers

Sep 06: FURD Positive Futures enters an under-16 team in the Sheffield & District Junior Sunday League

Oct 06: 6,000 cards are laid out on seats at Bramall Lane by FURD volunteers, which were held up by fans to spell the message ‘Kick It Out’ before the Sheffield United v Chelsea Premiership fixture as part of Anti-Racism Action Week in Football

Nov 06: FURD and Sheffield Futures organise a conference about Islamophobia

Dec 06: An Ofsted inspection report on Sheffield Futures, the company delivering youth services in Sheffield, praises the work of Football Unites

April 07: Sharrow United win promotion to the First Division of the Meadowhall Sheffield Sunday Football League

April 07: FURD staff and volunteers attend a civic reception at the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in recognition of FURD’s work in the community

July 07: FURD volunteers feature in Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s book ‘Britain’s Everyday Heroes’

Nov 07: Pele meets FURD staff and backs the campaign

Dec 07: FURD coach Desbon Bushiri establishes the Football Between Communities project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

March 08: FURD volunteer Abdi Hussein wins Community Champion award for voluntary work at Football Without Frontiers conference in Belfast.

March 08: FURD trainee, Liban Abdi, who is Somali, makes his debut for the Sheffield United first team, scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 friendly against Ferencvaros in Hungary.

May 08: Sharrow United win the Meadowhall Sunday League Cup.

June 08: FURD takes Streetkick to the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.

Sep 2008: FURD volunteer, Sophina Hanif, spends a month in the DR Congo as assistant coach with the Football Between Communities project.

Oct 2008: FURD wins the Score4Africa Diversity award, beating off shortlisted rivals Kick It Out and Rio Ferdinand.

Nov 2008: FURD’s Youth Against Conflict group launch their DVD ‘It’s Your Call’, dealing with knife crime and racist bullying, at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield.

Jan 2009: 18-year-old Kyle Walker, originally recommended by FURD to Sheffield United in 1997, makes his debut for Sheffield United's first team in the FA Cup 3rd round win at Leyton Orient.

Feb 2009: Kyle Walker makes his debut for England Under-19s, coming on as a substitute in a friendly against Spain.

May 2009: FURD, Sheffield United and The Hub African-Caribbean Centre host the Laurie Cunningham Memorial Dinner at Bramall Lane as part of the Laurie Cunningham Project to commemorate Cunningham's life and the development of black football in Sheffield.

May 2009: Young people from FURD's V volunteers' scheme organise Vibes and Unity, a free anti-racist festival in Sheffield city centre to encourage young people to use their vote in the European elections.

July 2009: A minibus carrying young people from FURD's Positive Futures scheme home from the Anti-Racist World Cup in Italy crashes on the M1, killing one of the team, 18-year-old Ahmed Hassan, and injuring several others.

October 2009: FURD's Soundkickers project starts, creating opportunities for young people from different parts of Sheffield to get together to make music with support from professional musicians and equipment.

April 2010: FURD begins a 3-year research project, 'Football: A shared sense of belonging?', to investigate the role football may play in helping refugees, asylum seekers and other new migrants settle into life in Britain.

May 2010: A second Vibes and Unity event is staged by FURD's volunteers to promote anti-racism and encourage people to use their vote in the forthcoming local and general elections.

May 2010: Sharrow United win promotion to the Meadowhall League Premier Division in their 10th anniversary season.

June 2010: 'Offside! - Kick Out Ignorance - Football Unites, Racism Divides', an exhibition researched by FURD about South African footballers' experiences of playing in Britain from 1899 onwards, opens at the District Six Museum, Cape Town, South Africa, at the start of the World Cup finals in South Africa.

August 2010: The Football Foundation agrees to grant £350,000 to build the synthetic pitches outside the proposed new youth & community centre and much-needed new home for FURD.

December 2010: The government agrees funding through its Myplace programme to build the U-Mix Centre, the new home for FURD and for a whole range of positive activities for young people.

January 2011: Construction work begins at Lowfield on the new purpose-built U-Mix Centre alongside building and refurbishment work to the adjacent Lowfield School.

February 2011: Kyle Walker, currently on loan to Aston Villa from Spurs, is selected for the full England squad for the first time for the friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen on 9th February.

March 2011: 15 young people involved with FURD and the Kickz project have successfully completed their FA Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football. The course was run by Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, and participants' fees were met through the Youth Opportunities Fund. The new coaches attendedfor five days during February half-term week.

March 2011: The role of Sheila Leeson from Rotherham in discovering the history of Britain’s first black professional footballer, her Ghanaian grandfather or great uncle Arthur Wharton, was recognised by the Football Association by making her a special guest at England’s friendly with Ghana at Wembley on 29th March.

July 2011: FURD receives a £5,000 'Grow the Game' grant from the Football Foundation to develop football opportunities for girls and women. The two-year grant is to set up and run an under-12s and an adult team (Sheffield Nubian Ladies).

September 2011: FURD begins its two year Heritage Lottery Funded Arthur Wharton Heritage Project, working with schools to explore the significance of Wharton's life and achievements through creative activities and the production of new educational resources including a documentary film, an exhibition and lesson plans.

November 2011: Kyle Walker makes his long-awaited England debut on Saturday November 12th, coming on as a substitute for the last five minutes of England's 1-0 victory over world champions Spain in a friendly at Wembley. Three days later, he not only plays the full match in England's 1-0 friendly win over Sweden, but is also voted Man of the Match.

March 2012: FURD referral and former Sheffield United player Aymen Tahar makes his debut for Gaz Metan in the Romanian first division. Liban Abdi is playing for Ferencvaros in the Hungarian top flight and the Europa League, and Kyle Walker plays for Tottenham and England. The three were all recommended to Sheffield United by FURD coaches after attending our sessions, and they all played together in Sheffield United's youth team of 2006-7.

June 2012: FURD workers run a series of Streetkick events for fans to play football in some of the host cities at the Euros in Ukraine and Poland at the invitation of UEFA. The events were part of the 'Respect Diversity - Football Unites' programme of activities organised to promote a safe and friendly atmosphere for fans from all countries.

July 2012: A 10-year dream is realised as FURD moves to a stunning purpose-built centre, the U-Mix Centre, after campaigning for over a decade for improved youth facilities in the Sharrow area of Sheffield.

September 2012: FURD's former director and one of its founders, Howard Holmes, is elected chairman of FARE (the Football Against Racism in Europe network) until 2015. 

October 2012: FURD produces a new exhibition to highlight the contributions of footballers coming from a refugee background. It is available in physical form for hire and also online.

October 2012: FURD organises a football film festival in Sheffield, which included the premiere of the FURD-commissioned film 'The Arthur Wharton Story'.

April 2013: The official opening of the U-Mix Centre takes place.

April 2013: FURD begins running weekly football sessions for women and girls, particularly targeted at those with little or no playing experience.

June 2013: FURD hosts a free conference to mark the conclusion of its three year Big Lottery funded research project, 'Football: A Shared Sense of Belonging?' about the role of football in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.

July 2013: Fahad Ishmail and Kler Heh begin full-time scholarships with Sheffield United. The pair attended FURD coaching schemes and impressed the coaches enough for them to  recommend the young players to the club.

November 2013: The Arthur Wharton Heritage Project concludes with an event to launch a suite of new learning resources about Wharton's life and legacy, including a film, exhibition, comic, website and booklet.

April 2014: FURD becomes a delivery partner for the new national Talent Match programme offering free, tailored support to 18-24 year olds not in employment, education or training.

June 2014: The final report from the 'Football: A Shared Sense of Belonging?' project is made available, both online and in print. The report includes case studies and interviews and discusses how football, as both a spectator sport and a participatory sport, can improve mental health, empowerment and a sense of inclusion for refugees and asylum-seekers.

October 2014: A statue of Arthur Wharton is unveiled at St George's Park National Football Centre.

April 2015: FURD holds its first women's football tournament, for 'veterans' aged 35+.

April 2015: FURD referral Kler Heh wins a one-year professional contract with Sheffield United.

May 2015: FURD launches 'Albert Johanneson, the first Black Superstar', the second comic in its 'Pioneers' series.

July 2015: Aymen Tahar, who signed for Sheffield United after being recommended by FURD coaches, joins Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest and makes his Champions League debut.

December 2015: FURD is working in partnership with a team of researchers on a new project, Football and Connected Communities, to research the role of football in the lives of young people. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Connected Communities programme.

March 2016: FURD organises a Female Football Festival with a series of sporting, educational and cultural events including talks, films, taster sessions and a tournament.

March 2016: FURD's team reaches the national final of the first female veterans tournament played as part of the national FA People's Cup.

May 2016: FURD stages a 'football circus' as part of its Football and Connected Communities research project.

August 2016: FURD begins work on the 'Football Supporting Refugees project',  a season long programme funded by the Premier League Fans Fund encouraging football fans in Sheffield to engage with refugees and asylum seekers living in the city by attending matches together on a regular basis.

October 2016: FURD begins delivery of the National Citizen Service pilot pathfinder programme, in partnership with UK Youth.

January 2017: The Big Lottery Fund awards FURD an Awards for All grant to sustain and develop its 'Belonging Together' group, delivering a series of activities including football, dance and crafts, for male and female refugees and asylum-seekers, whilst gaining advice and signposting to relevant external agencies.

February 2017: In partnership with Shipshape Health and Wellbeing, FURD establishes a weekly walking football session.

July 2017: Well over 1,000 people attend FURD and the i-Aspire Foundation's Eid/summer festival at Lowfield Park outside the U-Mix Centre.

October 2017: Ten teams take part in FURD's annual All Nations tournament, designed to promote the inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in football, at the U-Mix Centre.

June 2018: FURD volunteers stage an Eid festival at the end of Ramadan

August 2018: nine teams take part in FURD's annual All Nations tournament at the U-Mix Centre.

September 2018: FURD hosts an Eid Al-Adha festival at Lowfield Park outside the U-Mix Centre.

October 2018: 'Tull', the third comic in FURD's 'Pioneers' series, is published, telling the amazing story of Walter Tull.

February 2019: FURD in partnership with Stand up to Racism Sheffield organised the `Only One Cyrille Regis`event and tournament at the U-Mix Centre to remember and celebrate the legacy of the pioneering footballer.

May 2019: 'Step Up: Tackling Isolation & Loneliness' - FURD teamed up with Sheffield Theatres and the cast of the hit show the Barbershop Chronicles for this event at the U-Mix Centre which featured football tournaments, free haircuts, cake and theatre careers advice.

June 2019: FURD holds an Eid festival for the local community in Lowfield Park.

October 2019: A FURD-commissioned film, 'Britishness', has its first public screening at Sheffield's Off the Shelf festival.

To read about our recent activities and milestones, and for more information, follow the link below to our News archives.