Meet the first black man in football history, a man who could also have been the fastest in the world – 01/08/2022 – Esporte

Meet the first black man in football history, a man who could also have been the fastest in the world - 01/08/2022 - Esporte

For his work to feed schoolchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcus Rashford was knighted by Queen Elizabeth last year. The England and Manchester United striker was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

“If he lived today, the same would happen to Arthur Wharton. He was ahead of his time at many things. Taking care of less fortunate people and helping them with money was one of those things,” says former linebacker Viv Anderson. European champion with Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980.

Anderson is a sponsor of the Arthur Wharton Foundation, which was created to preserve and advance the memory of the first black player in the history of professional football. At least it can be proven.

But this will be a summary of his achievements. He also played cricket and rugby. He was going, according to the British press at the end of the 19th century, to run 100 meters in less than 11 seconds. The brand is not recognized.

The foundation was created on the initiative of businessman Sean Campbell. One of the goals was to commission a statue in honor of the goalkeeper at a location to be determined. It actually exists today and is located in St George’s Park, the England national team’s training ground.

Campbell recalls, “A few years ago, Usain Bolt was a professional soccer player and he didn’t last long. So there are only two people in history who were the fastest men on Earth who played soccer: Usain and Arthur Wharton.”

Between 2018 and 2019, Bolt played as a forward for the mid-coast Mariners (AUS) and Stromsgodset IF (NOR). In total, he played four matches. In the field, the profession of his predecessor was more relevant.

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Arthur Wharton was born in Accra, Ghana, in 1865. At the age of 17, he moved to Darlington, England. As a goalkeeper for the team of the same name, he earned a reputation as an eccentric. He used to bend to the side of the post while the ball didn’t come close to his area. It is recognized as one of the best sites in the country. In 1889, in Rotherham Town, he began working as a professional.

When that happened, he distributed a portion of his salary so that poor families in South Yorkshire, where the club is located, could eat.

Wharton played for Preston North End in 1887 and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, the oldest team tournament on the planet, and at the time the most important. The following year, he decided to take a break from his football career and focus on athletics.

He missed his chance to be part of Preston, the first team to win the League and the Cup in the same season, in 1889.

Instead, he was going to have another achievement. At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea Stadium, he would have run the 100m in under 11 seconds (some publications said 10 seconds stuck). Registration is not recognized by World Athletics. As for the entity, the first racing record is American Donald Lippincott, who scored 10.60 in 1912.

The goalkeeper played for Sheffield United in 1894 and participated in only three matches. But one of them, against Sunderland, was in the first division, which gave him another mark: the first Lions to play in an elite tournament match in world football, with a proven record.

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At the initiative of Campbell and the Foundation, a mural was painted in his honor in Darlington. When England were defeated on penalties by Italy in last year’s European Championship final, the image was marred with racist messages that were quickly erased by volunteers.

The selection lost after three missed free kicks by black players: Rashford, Sancho and Saka.

Anderson, who is also a name in history, adds, “The foundation’s work is also to promote a culture of diversity and fight racism. Arthur’s history and image inspire it.” Before him, no black player had ever worn the England shirt.

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