"Colouring Over the White Line" details the social history of players of colour in British football. It discusses their careers in the context of the world in which they lived: the Black Diaspora as it relates to football. It records and celebrates the careers of players, some of whom achieved great things while others were little more than journeyman footballers. What unites them is the consistent response of prejudice to the colour of their skin which forced them apart from their colleagues. This book reintroduces players such as Arthur Wharton, the fastest man in the world - put in goal by the "best team in the world"; the Anglo-Asian brothers who were Victorian soccer's uncomprising hardmen; the short, beautiful and brutal life of Britain's first black soldier to be commissioned a combat officer; the first black international who played for Wales in 1931; the Anglo-Chinese Liverpudlian who was the first man of colour to play for England; and a South African who, after a distinguished professional career and a professorship at a North American University, spent 12 years in prison paying his dues to a "democracy" that puts more African-Americans in cells than in college classrooms.
Phil Vasili was born in London but grew up in Cambridge. He now lives back in Kentish Town, London very close to where he was born. As a boy he dreamed of becoming a professional footballer. His mum wanted him to be a dentist (like her father) while his father wanted him to work alongside in an electronics factory. Though he played at representative and semi-professional level he never achieved his ambition of becoming a full-time pro. He now coaches at youth level and scouts in London for a northern premiership club.
Writing, like football, is a passion he has had since childhood. He wrote his first book length manuscript in his late teens. 'A load of pretentious tosh' it is browning at the edges in a cupboard in his study! However, it was, he admits, good practice. Unable to separate his obsessions he writes mainly about footballers, having had published two biographies and a social history.
He has also written a novel 'Felt and Batten' and drama scripts. He was executive producer of 'Antonio's Breakfast' which won the 2006 short film (drama) BAFTA.
Phil has four children, Andrea, Fionnulla, Alex and Louisa and a granddaughter, Coco Brooks, daughter of Fionnulla and Darren.
Writing is a punishing self-indulgence that hardens you: 'you're constantly broke, eat crap food and have a cabbie's knowledge of local charity shops and poundsaver locations but what else are you going to do?' And, sitting on your backside for hours on end makes the attraction of marching against capitalism and for socialism even more exciting.