Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers
Emy Onuora and Peter Hooton in Conversation
Edge Hill University’s Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P) welcomes Emy Onuora to discuss his new book, ‘Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers’ with Peter Hooton, writer and vocalist of Liverpool-based group The Farm.
Biteback Publishing: When Paul Canoville took to the pitch for Chelsea in 1982, he was prepared for abuse. When the monkey chanting and the banana throwing started, he wasn’t surprised. He wasn’t prepared, however, for the abuse to be coming from his own side.
Canoville was the only member of the team whose name was booed instead of cheered, the only player whose kit wasn’t sponsored. He received razor blades in the post. He took to waiting two or three hours to leave the ground after a match, fearing for his safety. So minimal was the presence of black players in the game, the few who managed to break through were subjected to the most graphic abuse from all sides.
Today, 30 per cent of English professional footballers are black, and amongst their number are some of the biggest heroes of the beautiful game. But just how far have we come?
With unprecedented access to current and former players ranging from Viv Anderson to Cyrille Regis to John Barnes, Emy Onuora charts the revolutionary changes that have taken place both on and off the pitch, and argues that the battleground has shifted from the stands to the board room.
In this fascinating new book, Onuora critically scrutinises the attitudes of FIFA, the FA and the media over the last half-century, and asks what is being done to combat the subtler forms of racism that undeniably persist even today. Featuring startling revelations from all levels of the footballing fraternity, Pitch Black takes a frank and controversial look at the history of the world’s most popular sport – and its future.
As part of the Edge Hill Festival of Ideas I4P is delighted to be hosting a discussion of the social and sporting issues raised in Pitch Black.
Date: Wednesday 10th February 2016
5.30pm Registration and Refreshments
6.00pm Lecture and Q&A
7.00pm Reception and Networking
Treat your significant other this valentines: Emy will be signing his book in the foyer of FoHSC, and a limited number of the books will be available for purchase at a reduced rate of £10 each.
Emy has an MA in Ethnic Studies and Race Relations from the University of Liverpool and has lectured extensively on issues of Race and Sport within higher education. He was co-editor of the Merseyside based football fanzine What’s the Score and is the brother of former footballer, coach and Ethiopia national team manager, Iffy Onuora. He lives in Liverpool.
As a writer on music, football and popular culture Peter Hooton has appeared in publications including The Guardian, the NME and Four Four Two, as well as researching and producing a book about Liverpool FC, When Football Was Football, the best-selling sports book of its period. Peter Hooton was made an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy at Edge Hill University in 2015 for his sustained commitment to social justice.
This date is part of a wider programme of events taking place at Edge Hill over the next couple of months as part of the Festival of Ideas 2016, a diverse range of events exploring culture, health and society. The main theme is Imagining Better – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality. Read more about the Festival of Ideas.