Football legends share experiences to help kick racism out of the game

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Image captionEnglish footballer Paul Canoville of Chelsea FC, circa 1985. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Stories of pride, stories of sadness, and stories to highlight injustice: these were all shared at H&F Council's Black History Month event 'Football Firsts'.

A panel of football legends, both local and national, shared their experiences, as a packed crowd at Hammersmith Town Hall posed questions about their careers – at the fundraising event for the Paul Canoville Foundation.

Image caption: Head coach Hope Powell of England. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

"We were delighted to host the Paul Canoville Foundation's event for Back History Month, which highlighted the challenges faced by black footballers, and celebrated their achievements in the game,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council.

"H&F is proud to be home to three top football clubs, and the stories we heard from pioneers of the game both local, and national, showed both how much can be done in times of adversity, and how much we can still do to achieve true equality of opportunity for all.

"I'd like to thank Paul, and all who participated in the Football Firsts event, for an evening that was as emotionally affecting, as it was educational."

The panel featured a very strong line-up, including: Chelsea greats Paul Elliott and Pat Nevin, QPR's Chris Ramsey, former England Ladies player and manager Hope Powell, Ricky Hill, Howard Gayle and Andy Impey.

The evening was chaired by community organiser and DJ Geoff Schumann.

With sponsors including anti-racism charity Kick It Out, there was a strong message at the 13th October event about communities working together to make football a game that truly represents all.

Cllr Fennimore said: “I remember the bad old days: of standing on The Shed at Stamford Bridge, and seeing the abuse given to Paul Canoville as a pioneering black player.

“Events like this show how far we have come, but we should never be complacent. And we must continue to do all we can to kick racism and other forms of intolerance out of the game, and out of society in general.”

Image caption: Pat Nevin of Chelsea FC. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

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