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Viv Anderson: Radical Hero


THE FIRST black player to play for the senior England side has spoken of his pride over the growing representation of black and minority ethnic community within football.

Viv Anderson won his first England cap in November 1978 to change the face of the British game and he is delighted to see the progress that has been made both on and off field.

Anderson, who made his name at Nottingham Forest and went on to play for Arsenal and Manchester United amongst others, said: “When I first started there weren’t many black faces in the game. I think I can remember Clyde Best being the only black face you ever saw on the television.

“It’s great now. You go up and down the country and you see black faces – more than one – in most teams you watch,” he continued.

“It’s encouraging to see that we’ve moved on and that being black and playing for England isn’t a news story any more.
But there’s still a big gap between playing and management – and the figures show there’s only a few black managers in the professional game. That’s compared to hundreds of players, so there is a step that we have to take – and I think sooner rather than later.”

NATIONAL DUTY: The defender duty

On October 15, to coincide with Black History Month, Anderson will be chatting through his life and career with the Voice’s sports editor, Rodney Hinds.

The Football Association has partnered with Manchester County FA and the People’s History Museum’s Radical Heroes programme, the inspiring men and women who feature in the story of democracy through the ages.

Anderson will share his experiences from a time when racism in football was vicious and ever-present, discuss the challenges, and players, he faced how and he overcame them to become one of the game’s true pioneers.

He said of the upcoming event: “Obviously I’ve got lots of stories to tell, and when I went to certain places I wasn’t well received. But that was part of the era I grew up in and played in.”

An Audience with Viv Anderson takes place at the Peoples History Museum, Manchester ON October 15 from 7pm – 9pm. or call 0161 838 9190

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