Laurie Cunningham remembered in style

18 May 2009 / News

The life of Laurie Cunningham, the first black player to represent England in an under-21 international, was remembered at a special dinner organised by Football Unites in partnership with The Hub African-Caribbean project.

The key speaker was Kick It Out ambassador, and former Chelsea captain, Paul Elliott MBE.  Other insights were offered by Des Smith, chairman of Sheffield and District African-Caribbean Community Association and one of several Hub youth workers and young people who met Laurie on the night before his England debut in April 1977; Laurie's England captain that night, David Peach, and writer Peter Law, who is working on a biography of Laurie.

Laurie's family were represented by his brother Keith, niece Rhodene and her daughter Shannon, whilst former players included Blades legends Brian Deane, Tony Agana and Bob Booker and several of Laurie's England under-21 team-mates - Paul Garner, Paul Futcher, David Peach and Steve Hardwick.

The 200 guests at Sheffield United's Millennium Suite were treated to some fantastic footage of Laurie, including long-forgotten film of the game itself, including his winning goal, whilst former West Brom team-mate Cyrille Regis sent a special filmed message of welcome.

Achievement awards were presented to Milton Samuels on behalf of the Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club, and to the managerial team Chris Dolby and Gavin Smith of Sheffield FC, whilst Keith Cunningham was honoured with a special gift in memory of the pioneering role of his brother Laurie and his inspiration to generations of black players.