Colouring Over the White Line – The History of Black Footballers in Britain.
By Phil Vasili.
This book may be about football in Britain, but it gives a good insight as to how the white establishment tended to gloss over and in some cases completely failed to acknowledge the achievement of Black and Asian players in British Football. It is a brilliant insightful, well researched and balanced history. There are many players that many fans would never have heard of, but of whom they should all be proud, as each in their own way broke down barriers.
It looks at why there are so few Black players who have gone into management, since their influence on the game in the 70’s. Why are there so few East or West Asian players playing professional football in England, and the stereotypical assessments that all of the successful players have had to overcome.
This is relevant in Australia too. I remember interviewing Rugby great Mark Ella – the first indigenous man to captain Australia – and he told me how infuriating it was to hear aboriginal athlete’s talents dismissed by comments such as ‘they are all natural athletes.’ Commentators and coaches around the country being guilty of ignoring the fact that they too have work hard to be the best, and sometimes have to work a little bit harder.
An interesting and informative read in which the author remains balanced throughout.