Ces Podd was one of the first black players to establish himself over a long period in the English League. Born in St Kitts, West Indies in August 1952, Podd came to the UK aged 9 and lived in Leeds.
Prior to playing for his secondary school team, Podd hadn’t played football any more organised than a kick about on the streets. He went on to enrol for art college with the intention of becoming a designer and keeping football as a hobby. However after a trial, Podd began playing for Bradford City as an amateur. In 1970, he was taken on by them as a professional and went on to make a record 502 league appearances for the club between 1970 and 1984. He faced frequent racism but was a great favourite among Bradford City fans for his speed, loyalty and commitment at right-back. He has cited this popularity as a reason for staying with the club when bigger clubs showed an interest in him.
"I got on so well with the Bradford fans. They were my security".
Podd put together the ‘Black All-Stars’ team for his testimonial game against Bradford City, 30th March 1981. The team brought together Derek Richardson, George Berry, Bob Hazel, Brendan Batson, Terry Connor, Remi Moses, Vince Hilaire, Joe Cooke, Justin Fashanu, Cyrille Regis, Tony Cunningham, Luther Blissett, Trevor Quow, Trevor Lee, Ricky Hill, Colin Stein with Podd completing the line-up. The team testifies to Podd’s high reputation amongst black professional players, despite never having played outside the bottom two divisions.
He went on to play for Halifax before retirement. After retiring from professional play, Podd went on to be assistant manager at Scarborough. Later he went on to coach and counsel young people in the Chapeltown area of Leeds during the early 1990s and worked for Leeds United on their Football in the Community programme. He returned to St Kitts in 1999 to spend two and a half years managing the 'Sugar Boyz', the St Kitts and Nevis national football team. Podd has since returned to work in the Leeds area.
'Colouring Over the White Line: The History of Black Footballers in Britain' by Phil Vasili
'England, Their England: The Definitive Story of Foreign Footballers in the English Game Since 1888' by Nick Harris
Both books are available for loan from the Football Unites library.