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Football Black List honours top talent that's on the ball

PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS CEREMONY: Arsenal legend turned pundit Alex Scott, with co-host Jessica Creighton (right)

THE COMMUNITY’S big football night out was another roaring success this year.

The Football Black List (FBL) celebration, supported by the Premier League, took place at Village Underground in central London on November 1.

Players, administrators, managers and FBL supporters were in attendance as the list celebrated its 10th year.


Among the star names were Dion Dublin, Carlton Cole, Emile Heskey, Alex Scott, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Paul Davis and Ade Akinfenwa.

There were big name managers, too, with Chris Hughton (Brighton), Darren Moore (West Brom) and Chris Powell (Southend) all showing support.

The Football Black List has become the most respected celebration of African and Caribbean achievement in the British game.

While more than 25 per cent of professional players in the UK are black, there is a worrying lack of representation in decision-making positions across all areas away from the pitch.

To help address this, and pay tribute to those in influential positions, the Football Black List shines a light on those who are inspiring the next generation to consider other roles in the sport.

The initiative, which has been supported by The FA, Premier League, Professional Footballers Association and anti-racism group Kick It Out, also provides an opportunity to reflect on how diverse the football industry is, discuss the under-representation of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds, and, most importantly, how to address this issue.

INSPIRING: The late Ugo Ehiogu’s family on stage

Vitally, the Football Black List also pays tribute to individuals making a difference within the community and at the grassroots level of the game.

The list is published exclusively in The Voice newspaper every year to ensure it is rooted in the African and Caribbean community and has received widespread mainstream coverage across the UK.

Funke Awoderu, The FA’s senior inclusion and diversity manager, said: “I’m honoured to be recognised as a leading practitioner in the Black List awards, amongst other key figures in the game.

“This award reflects the tremendous support I’ve had from colleagues over the years. The Football Black List awards is at the forefront of connecting past and current influencers from the black Afro-Caribbean community to inspire the younger generation to excel in their ambitions.”

Fleur Robinson, FA Council member and commercial director at Burton Albion, was also recognised for her work. Others across the game championed included Hughton, Moore and Lord Herman Ouseley.

STARS: Former Chelsea player Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink being interviewed by co-host DJ Spoony

Alexander ‘Zander’ Brown, FATV’s video producer, said: “I feel truly honoured to be featured on the ‘Ones to Watch’ list amongst so many talented and passionate people. I wasn’t aware the work I was doing impacted so many people.

“The Football Black List is an inspiring initiative which I hope continues to grow, reward and influence the next generation of African and Caribbean leaders in English football.”

The prestigious players award was renamed after the late, great Cyrille Regis – while the next generation of leaders in the sport from the black community were lauded through the Ugo Ehiogu Ones to Watch.

There were special awards – named in honour of the late Keith Alexander – given to outstanding individuals for their work in the game, including footballers Lianne Sanderson and Eniola Aluko.


Homage was also paid to one of the world’s first black professional footballers, Walter Tull, marking 100 years since the pioneer died during the First World War, while serving as the first black British officer to command white troops.

CELEBRATIONS: Leon Mann (centre) with the team behind the Football Black List event

Football Black List cofounder Leon Mann reflected: “The Football Black List celebration was, once again, a huge success. This event, and movement, just keeps growing and gathering support! We are delighted to have such fantastic backing from the community and also the football industry.

“Renaming the players awards after Cyrille Regis was a big moment on the night, as were the announcements of the Ugo Ehiogu Ones to Watch and the Keith Alexander awards. The celebration exists to remember our pioneers and paying tribute to Walter Tull was also very special.

“All the awardees on the night are helping to inspire the next generation.

“We want to help spread the stories of each and every person who has ever been on the Football Black List.

“By raising greater awareness of the journeys of those on the list we will see more and more diverse people knocking at the industry doors.”

TRAILBLAZERS: Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, centre, with FBL co-founders Rodney Hinds and Leon Mann

Rodney Hinds, Voice of Sport editor and Football Black List co-founder, added: “What a great night! It is always inspiring to see the football family come together.

“Those that were recognised on the night deserve their moment. Massive respect to the Premier League for their continued support.”

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