Request for old photos and stories

07 Oct 2008 / News

FOOTBALL UNITES Racism Divides, together with colleagues at The Hub African Caribbean youth project, are appealing for photos of local amateur and professional footballers for an exhibition to celebrate black football in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com🏢smarttags" />Sheffield.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com🏢office" />

We are jointly planning a star-studded Laurie Cunningham Memorial Dinner in April next year, and in the meantime an exhibition is being put together to tell the story of football in Sheffield from a black perspective.

The exhibition, part of the Black History Month celebrations, starts with the story of Arthur Wharton, widely considered to be the first black professional player in the world and the first in the Football League.

The goalkeeper played for Sheffield United between 1894 and 1895.

We are keen to develop the exhibition to celebrate local black football at all levels - amateur as well as professional.

We're looking for photos to feature in the exhibition and are particularly keen to track down a photo of Laurie Cunningham chatting with young members of Caribbean FC and Hub youth workers when he visited the Hub project in Sharrow after his debut for England Under 21s against Scotland at Bramall Lane in April 1977.

Cunningham was the first black player to represent England at any level, and the first to represent the full England side in a competitive match. Tragically he was killed in a car crash in Madrid, in 1989, aged just 33.

Those present during Cunningham's meeting with Caribbean FC remember several people taking photos.

Hub youth worker Ishaaq Heywood recalls: "There were a number of people taking photos but so far we’ve been unable to locate one. It really is the Holy Grail as far as the exhibition goes.

"However, any photos or memories from black players locally will be most welcome."

FURD coordinator Howard Holmes added: “Long-forgotten pics do turn up, often when people are moving house. Just the other week a picture of Arthur Wharton playing for Darlington FC in 1887 suddenly surfaced, when someone was clearing out a loft.”

Anyone able to help should contact Howard on 0114 255 3156 or call Ishaaq at The Hub on 0114 255 3538.