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The Football Black List Celebration gets major coverage

ONES TO WATCH: (from left) Jeanette Kwaye, Kadeem Simmonds, Hayley Bennett, Christina Oshodi, Mimi Fawaz, ex-Chelsea star Michael Duberry, Leon McKenzie and Ugo Ehiogu

THE FOOTBALL Black List celebration evening was a huge success, attracting over 300 guests, including a host of top names within the sport, who came to recognise the spectrum of African and Caribbean achievement in the British game.

The evening celebrated the eighth edition of the list, set-up by Voice journalists Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds (Sports Editor) in 2008 and shone a light on those individuals who make a difference at all levels of the football community.

TRIO: The Voice’s arts and entertainment editor Joel Campbell with Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent (left), the first black woman to play for the England cricket team and world Muay Thai world champion Ruqsana Begum

There were an array of awards on offer across six different categories designed to reflect diversity in the world of football.

Fulham forward Sone Aluko was in attendance and saw his sister, Chelsea Ladies striker Eniola Aluko, collect her award in the player category along with retired Paralympian Alistair Patrick Heselton.

CO-FOUNDERS: Black List founders Leon Mann (Voice, journalist), left and Rodney Hinds, The Voice’s sports editor

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley was recognised in the administration category with Chelsea’s technical director Michael Emenalo.

Marcia Willis-Stewart, the lead solicitor for the 76 families represented at the Hillsborough inquest, picked-up an award in the commercial category.

Andrew Cole, Jason Roberts and Tony Collins, the first black manager in the football league, scooped the prestigious Keith Alexander award. Collins took Fourth Division side Rochdale to the League Cup final in 1962.

Watch Football Black List co-founders and members of The Voice editorial team Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds speak about this initiative:

Norwich’s Sébastien Bassong and Derby County duo Nick Blackman and Bradley Johnson were among the football players presenting awards on a night that also saw Yannick Bolasie and Peter Odemwingie on stage voicing their support for The Football Black List.

Rachel Yankey and sports correspondent Samantha Johnson were recognised for their media work and the coaching category winners featured the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton and West Bromwich Albion coach Darren Moore; who is regarded as a future manager.

The evening served to celebrate the achievements of those working across the breadth of the game and highlighted a host of role models who came to show their support of The Football Black List.

ALL SMILES: Former Arsenal and England star Rachel Yankey with Michael Emanalo, Chelsea’s technical director

Football Black List co-founder and sports editor at The Voice newspaper, Hinds spoke of how the evening went.

“A tremendous night. Those recognised are fully deserving and The Voice is happy to publish The Football Black List.

“The potential for this event is huge and a shout out must go to the Premier League for supporting the occasion.”


THE FOOTBALL Black List celebration, supported by the Premier League, made a big noise last month - while helping unearth a pioneer and celebrate another who had been forgotten. I couldn’t be prouder to be co-founder alongside the Voice of Sport (The Voice's sports section) editor, Rodney Hinds.

CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER: Brighton boss Chris Hughton (right) with The Voice’s sports editor, Rodney Hinds

What was once ‘just’ a list is now a progressive movement - and the honest truth is this was always part of the vision, but nine years ago it felt like an aspiration that would take decades to achieve. But on 28 March at Village Underground in central London we hit the heights of our initial ambitions.

Some 300 guests, international media coverage, Premier League players in attendance, a high profile celebration of the greatest black footballers in the UK and championing our leaders in roles off the pitch. Wonderful, just wonderful.

JOURNEY: Leon Mann, Football Black List co-founder, left, with Tony Collins, the very-first black manager in British football

And the journey to delivering this incredible event brought me together with Tony Collins, the very first black manager in British football, who has received very little recognition to date.

Now 91, but still bright and sharp, Collins watches games regularly - but says football these days is no comparison to when he was playing and in the dug out managing.

Disagree? Well, Collins knows his stuff and can back his chat - taking Fourth Division Rochdale to a League Cup Final in 1962.

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