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Football Black List celebration a hit

GOOD TALK: Everton ace Yannick Bolassir (left) with former Manchester United star Andrew Cole (centre) being interviewed host DJ Spoony
Photo credits: Ken Passley

THE FOOTBALL BLACK LIST celebration evening was a huge success, attracting over 300 guests, including a host of top names within the sport, who came to recognise the spectrum of African and Caribbean achievement in the British game.

The evening celebrated the eighth edition of the list, set-up by Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds in 2008, and shone a light on those individuals who make a difference at all levels of the football community.

There was an array of awards on offer across six different categories designed to reflect diversity in the world of football.

Fulham forward Sone Aluko was in attendance and saw his sister, Eniola Aluko, striker for Chelsea ladies, pick up her award in the player category along with retired paralympian Alistair Patrick Heselton.

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley was recognised in the administration category with Chelsea’s technical director Michael Emenalo. Marcia Willis-Stewart, the lead solicitor for the 76 families represented at the Hillsborough inquest, picked up an award in the commercial category.

Andy Cole, Jason Roberts MBE and Tony Collins, the first black manager in the football league, scooped the prestigious Keith Alexander award. Collins took Fourth Division side Rochdale to the League Cup final in 1962.

GOOD TIMES: Black List commercial award recipient Marcia Wiliis - Stewart (right) enjoying the evening with friends. Willis-Stewart was the lawyer for the 76 families at the Hillsborough inquest

Norwich’s Sébastien Bassong and Derby County duo Nick Blackman and Bradley Johnson were among the football players presenting awards on a night that also saw Yannick Bolasie and Peter Odemwingie on stage voicing their support for The Football Black List.

Rachel Yankey OBE and sports correspondent Samantha Johnson picked up awards for their media work and the coaching category winners featured the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton and West Bromwich Albion coach Darren Moore, who is regarded as a future manager.

The evening served to celebrate the achievements of those working across the breadth of the game and highlighted a host of role models who came to show their support of The Football Black List.

Following the event, Mann spoke of his desire for the next generation of talented individuals from the black community to make a name for themselves and hopes that highlighting role models through initiatives like The Football Black List will help to enable this.

“This feels like a big moment for the black community. We had so many influencers from across the football industry and community in the room all celebrating success and discussing how we address under representation away from the pitch in areas such as coaching, management and at board level. From here we can only move forward.

QUARTET: (from left) Fulham's Sone Aluko with award winners, Brighton manager Chris Hughton, West Brom's Darren Moore and ex Nigeria international Peter Odemwingie

“Of course, this celebration wouldn’t have been possible without the Premier League’s support so I would like to thank Richard Scudamore, Bill Bush and everyone from the organisation for backing The Football Black List,” added Mann.
Fellow Football Black List co-founder and sports editor at The Voice newspaper Hinds spoke of how the evening went.
“A tremendous night. Those recognised are fully deserving and The Voice is happy to publish The Football Black List. The potential for this event is huge and a shout out must go to the Premier League for supporting the occasion.”

IN THE PICTURE: Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent (left), the first black woman to play for the England cricket team, with world Muay Thai world champion Ruqsana Begum (right)


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