on 27 May 2010
This is a real eye-opening book. We know there has been vicious racism for centuries, and in the 'beautiful game' too, but the (almost) first black pro footballer was a victim of this in 1910 and then of the German guns, after he had got past the Army's rules and racism to become an officer. An amazing story - and a few things in there about my grandfather too!
on 28 August 2015
In this compelling book, Phil Vasili tells the remarkable tale of Walter Tull, one of England’s first black footballers, who was also among the first black British Army officers to serve in the First World War.
Despite a successful footballing career, in which he played for Tottenham Hotspur, and distinguishing himself in combat, Walter’s story remained little-known for the greater part of a century.
Vasili writes with insight and authority about the social conditions of early 20th Century Britain where Walter prospered, despite racially motivated abuse – on the football field and battle field.
Recommended for a Military Cross he never received, Walter was killed in action in the Second Battle of the Somme in 1918. Since then, Walter remained a scandalously unsung hero and it is fitting that Vasili has crafted a song that finally does justice to this courageous and self-effacing man.