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The First Black Footballer: Arthur Wharton, 1865-1930 - An Absence of Memory (Sport in the Global Society) Paperback – 30 Sep 1998
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About the Author
Formerly at the University of Strathclyde, UK La Trobe University, Australia --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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I do not have any problem with Vasili's overall analysis of the imperial/colonial society that produced the prevalent attitudes of the time which eventually led to a `loss of memory' so that his name became less and less mentioned, absent even from some histories of goalkeeping. But I do think his concern to berate racism in sport rather loses sight of Wharton's life so that it becomes lost in a more general argument. Certainly I, for one, found it difficult to follow the sequence of events in his career. Vasili ranges far and wide with examples of black sportsmen, chiefly from the US, who have faced up to the challenge of operating in a racist society - all well and good but a closer digging around the personal experience of Wharton in his social context would have been more helpful I think. So this perhaps is a polemic more than a biography but interesting for all that, worth a read. I noticed one bad factual error: Malcolm X was never leader of the Black Panthers who were actually founded after his assassination.
Note that the book is actually by Phil Vasili not by Irvine Welsh, as advertised, who merely provides a 3-page foreword.
Read his life story and all his sporting triumphs in this very thorough account and you will know him and admire him.
Andrew Watson is the world's first black association footballer to play at international level. Was capped 3 times for Scotland. Watson's career predates Wharton's by over a decade.
Shame for a book to fall at the first hurdle, ie having a totally misleading title...