The Black XI

There were black footballers in the seventies. More than I remembered in fact, as I discovered when looking for information for this post.
But they were still such a minority as to be considered a novelty.
West Bromwich Albion were thought noteworthy in that they had 3 black regulars in the first team, and manager Ron Atkinson (enmired in a racial slur controversy some 25 years later), was, according to Brendon Baston, very supportive of the 'coloured players', which didn't prevent him from labelling them The Three Degrees.

In November 1978, Viv Anderson became the first black player to represent England in a full international . Since Anderson's début 62 black players have played for England, 1 in 4 of England débutantes has been black and in the 367 internationals played by England since there have been only 41 matches that have not featured any black players whatsoever.The last time no black player featured in an England game was in the quarter-final of Euro '96.
When England defeated U.S.A. in May 2005 there were 7 black players in the starting 11; against Japan in May 2010 10 black players were involved for England.

But this picture comes from another age- the age of monkey noises on the terraces and bananas thrown onto the pitch.It's May 1979, and West Bromwich Albion's Len Cantello has a testimonial at The Hawthorns. Len Cantello's XI take on what is now referred to as a Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham XI, although at the time it was billed as a Black XI.

I've struggled to identify the line up, and would welcome any contributions to correct my errors and omissions.
Back Row: ? Justin Fashanu (Norwich City), ? Chris Hughton (Tottenham Hotspur) Brendan Baston (West Bromwich Albion), ?,?, George Berry (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bob Hazel (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Garth Crooks (Stoke City)

Front Row: Winston White (Leicester City), Cyrille Regis (West Bromwich Albion), Laurie Cunningham (West Bromwich Albion) ,?Remi Moses (West Bromwich Albion) , ?.



  1. I think the goalkeeper is Derek Richardson. I think he played for a number of clubs, but I remember him from his time with Sheffield United.

  2. I just found a QPR team photo with Richardson in it and he's our man- so thanks Anonymous!
    I think that the guy to the keeper's left is Barry Silkman?

  3. Next to Richardson is Rachid Harkouk ex QPR and C Palace and also Algeria.

  4. Brilliant! Isn't the memory a funny thing. Once I saw his name I thought, fuck me! Great spot anonymous.

  5. Great spot? My arse. It is most definitely NOT Rachid Harkouk. It's actually Stewart Phillips of Hereford United who subsequently joined Albion. Here's the link to a picture which will confirm it: http://www.hayandbrecon.info/hufc/progs/prog112000.htm


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