Books: Pitch Invaders

Pitch Invaders – The Modern Black Football Revolution
by Stella Orakwue

This book explores the integration of black footballers into the game and the English psyche. As the author states things have come a long way since the likes of Clyde Best and Brendan Batson were in a very large minority as black players in English football.

The author starts by looking at how Ian Wright, when at Arsenal was accepted by all nationalities, because he was one of them, he connected to the man on the street.

But on reading this book the author again exposes the stigmas, stereotyping and racial labeling that non-white players have to endure and rise above. If and when they do react they are then criticized as again ‘they must be used to it so should know better.’

Pitch Invaders is a tough read as a white person as it exposes a great deal of inequality that is not initially apparent as a simple fan. The author occasionally does become too involved in the subject, obviously from personal experience, and sometimes that hinders the book.

Again lessons are there to be learned in Australia. How often do we celebrate our non white athletes when they are successful and shun them as their star starts to fade?

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