Man Utd Academy chief praises FURD Pioneers series

22 Oct 2015 / News

Manchester United Head of Academy Coaching Tony Whelan, himself a rare black professional in the late 1960s, has paid a glowing tribute to the latest comic in the FURD Pioneers series:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Albert Johanneson comic.

It is packed with information, and gives a fascinating insight as to the exact nature of the racist abuse and bigotry Albert experienced as a black player in the 1960s era. It has to be remembered that this was long before the advent of organisations such as FURD and KIO.

I think the magazine captures in a clear and emotional way the struggle that Albert had to go through, not only to carve out a career for himself in the hard-nosed world of professional footballer, but also his bravery and strength of character. In that sense it was hugely inspirational even for a person of my vintage!

That I had the privilege and pleasure to play against him all those years ago (for Manchester United at Old Trafford) was especially poignant, and reading the magazine brought back wonderful memories of that occasion.

There is no doubt that the work you are doing at FURD is making a positive impact on the attitude of young people today regarding the various issues of racism in our society and I commend you for it. The people who read this material are the ones who can change the world for the better.

I look forward to reading further issues of this truly captivating series, which makes it easy for young folk today to read, appreciate and understand why we should celebrate the life of football heroes such as Albert.

Tony Whelan

Head of Coaching, Manchester United Academy