Every October, the UK celebrates Black History throughout the month. We reflect on those who have made history for not only the Black British community but for Nottingham and continue to inspire the next generation of sports stars to greatness.
Vivian Anderson, born and raised in Clifton, Nottingham, has become a household name to many.
The former professional footballer, once named England’s first black player first stepped foot on the pitch in the early 1970’s. Anderson played for the city’s very own Nottingham Forest Football club, located in West Bridgford. Starting as an apprentice, and performing well, the late Brian Clough soon acknowledged the player’s talents and integrated him as a regular at the club.
After breaking into the senior team, Anderson reportedly faced racial abuse from the crowds. He spoke of his unhappiness towards this and was motivated by Clough to continue.
At the time, racial tensions were common within England’s football scene.
Now 67 years old, he has been open about his background behind sports. Anderson spoke his parents, Audley and Myrtle, arriving in England from Jamaica in the 1950’s. They were a part of the Windrush generation, best remembered as the arrival of Caribbean people to England, between the 1940s to the 1970s.
Once the arrivals settled, and began working on creating a new life, they were often greeted with hostility. Despite this, Anderson reached unimaginable achievements, lifting both 1979 and 1980 European Cups with Forest before joining teams such as Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as earning 30 caps for England.
Anderson’s achievements continue, as in 1999, he received an MBE award for his contribution towards Football and was inducted into the English football hall of fame in 2004. He has since become a global ambassador as well as becoming employed by the FA as a judicial panellist.
Patrick Gada, former Nottingham cricketer is changing the game for the youth of today.
The Zimbabwean born cricketer, has become Nottingham’s development officer for the ACE programme. Gada spoke about his love for cricket in Zimbabwe after he began playing cricket at eight years old and continued throughout the years. Settling in 2008, his passion for cricket heightened after being scouted by a chairman of the West Indian Cavaliers cricket club, located in Lenton, Nottingham.
The ACE programme was launched by the Surrey County Cricket Club in January 2020 due to the decline of Black players in the sport.
Patrick said: “The programme launched in Nottingham, in January of this year. My day-to-day work is to increase participation amongst African and Caribbean community, but it is open to anybody, all ages and background “.
The development officer manages and coaches at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. He has travelled all throughout Nottingham, into Primary and Secondary schools to coach youngsters about the game.
He added: “It is important for young people to see other people who look like themselves. It’s hard to be what you cannot see.
“Young people need to see people who look like them at all levels. They can learn not only cricket but life skills as well.”
Patrick also runs another programme that is aimed at state schools called the MCC foundation, based in London.
Promising basketballer, Amari Williams is reaching great heights.
The Nottingham born star plays for Drexel University’s Drexel dragons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Williams said his aspirations came from his older Brother, who began playing the same sport in secondary school.
Amari said: “If it wasn’t for him and the team he was on growing up, I don’t think I’d be playing this sport.”
He added: “In a few years I want to be playing professionally whether that’s in America or somewhere in Europe. I also want to represent my country on national stage. That is something that a lot of us strive for. “
The Drexel Dragon player once played for Nottingham’s own Mansfield Giants. The Mansfield giants, formed in 1990, pride themselves as a developmental basketball club in Nottinghamshire.
He said: “Advice I would give to youngsters growing up is to have fun playing the sport. You can get a scholarship to go to university in England and you can play in other countries.
“Many people don’t understand the outlets that basketball has, and they also don’t think it’s possible for them when it really is.”