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Chelsea’s first black player speaks out about his experience

WRITE STUFF: Paul Canoville has penned an autobiography

CHELSEA’S FIRST black player is hosting an evening of readings and signings to promote his award-winning autobiography.

Paul Canoville, an accomplished sports writer, will be at Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus on October 26, to promote the book Black and Blue: How Racism, Drugs and Cancer Almost Destroyed Me.

The 54-year-old’s autobiography, published by Headline in 2008, won Best Autobiography in the National Sporting Club’s 2009 Book Awards and Best Autobiography in the 2009 British Sports Book Awards. 

Describing what fans will enjoy at Waterstones, Canoville said: “This event will reveal how I became a footballer and why I wrote the book. But it’s not just about soccer. I will disclose other stages I went through in my life, including my troubles, all of which youths and parents can learn from. With the prevalence of postcode violence and other potential pitfalls facing youths, it’s important for families to communicate between themselves, so youths can avoid the troubles I experienced and set the right priorities, especially in education.”

The promotion will coincide with the first anniversary of The Paul Canoville Foundation, a charity launched to motivate disadvantaged youths to engage in of education.

The former soccer player, who experienced severe prejudice after starting at Chelsea Football Club in 1982, has travelled to America, Finland, Ukraine, India, Austria and Germany with his foundation.

IN ACTION: The former Blues player in action

The long-standing pioneer against racism in soccer launched his foundation after being persuaded that skills he had acquired as a footballer and in overcoming drug addiction, depression and cancer could be used to help youths. Describing his efforts to promote his book, Canoville said: “I’ve been intensely promoting my autobiography for two years and look forward to meeting fans and engaging through the Q&A part of the evening.

“The evening will be like football matches I played in the past; where I was nervous before the start of a game, but settled quickly. I expect to be nervous on the evening until I start speaking. I hope everyone present will enjoy the occasion and it will be the first of many.”

Black and Blue: How Racism, Drugs and Cancer Almost Destroyed Me has attracted positive reviews. It was described as “unputdownable” by the Observer and “a compelling read, skilfully put together” by the Daily Mirror.

In March 2015, Sky Sports 1 aired a documentary Black & Blue: The Paul Canoville Story. It was considered by media commentators to be one of the most popular sports documentaries screened on the channel.

£5 tickets (redeemable against a signed copy of the book on the night) are available in store, by
telephone 020 7851 2400 or by emailing

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