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Football legends centre of attention for Black History Month

TRIO: Schumann and Canoville (right) with Newcastle and Man United legend Andrew Cole

BLACK FOOTBALL pioneers will descend on Hammersmith Town Hall on October 13.

Paul Canoville and Geoff Schumann have joined forces to compile a panel that will always have a place in football’s history books.

Among the star names in attendance on October 13 will be John Barnes, Hope Powell, Les Ferdinand, Paul Elliott and Canoville himself.

An excited Canoville, Chelsea’s first black player, told the Voice of Sport: “It’s such a strong panel.

“I’m so excited and getting more excited the closer we get to the event.”

The panel led discussion coincides with Black History Month and will recognise the contributions of the legendary names and will give attendees a deeper understanding of what the panellists have achieved through their careers. There will also be Q&A session to foster audience participation.

No doubt Canoville will share some of the difficult times and racist abuse he endured at Stamford Bridge – from his own fans.


FIRST LADY OF FOOTBALL: Powell

It would be easy to look at the current Chelsea team – which is a model of diversity – and think that things have always been that way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The first black player to don the famous recalls: “To be honest it was frightening.

“It wasn’t very nice. It was difficult to concentrate especially if you are getting that sort of abuse from your own fans

“As an individual I had to fight and impress them (the fans) and then go on the field and prove that I could play and be accepted by my team mates.

“I dreaded warmimg up and tried to ignore it but it was hard.”

Now Canoville, who is a match day hospitality host for the club, is eager to put on a first class show with other pioneers.

He is especially keen to listen to the tales of the First Lady of Football, Hope Powell, who managed the England Women’s football team with so much distinction.


PIONEER: Barnes

“When I started watching women’s football she was key and most highly regarded.

“I’m lookimg forward to hearing her views – I wish I could be in the audience!”

There will be opportunities for photos to be taken and memorabilia to be signed on what promises to be a significant night.

As Canoville says: “It is going to be a great night, trust me. We need people behind us!”

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