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Football tournament in Barbados to celebrate Walter Tull

PICTURED: Walter Tull

DERBY COUNTY striker Nick Blackman will host the inaugural Nick Blackman Friendship Tournament for the Walter Tull Memorial Cup, in partnership with Pinelands Youth Academy on Saturday (June 16).

The tournament will see teams from across Barbados playing against each other, while paying their respects to Walter Tull, the first black outfield footballer in the world game in the centenary year of his death.

The tournament honours the achievements of Tull, whose father was born in Barbados. He was the first black outfield player in the United Kingdom, playing for clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town. In addition to his footballing career, Walter signed up to fight in the First World War and was the first black officer in the British Army. He was sadly killed in action in 1918.

Blackman, said: “This tournament is important as it allows me to honour one of Barbados’ unknown heroes – Walter Tull, whose father, much like mine, was born on the island. When I heard his story, I felt totally inspired and I feel honoured to be able to help increase knowledge of his story. Walter was a pioneer not only on the football field but also away from sport in the armed services. Everyone should know about this incredible man and how he opened doors for so many.

Blackman wants to honour Tull, as he helped open the door to players such as Eusebio, Pele, Neymar and Paul Pogba – and Blackman himself.

Blackman visited Barbados last year as part of his #NicksKitCollection initiative and has continued his commitment to contribute to the island, by creating and running this football tournament, which seeks to empower and inspire the young people of Barbados.

The island is a particularly special place for Blackman as his father is a Barbadian and he has been helping and assisting communities in the country for a number of years.

The Pinelands Youth Academy sits at the centre of one of the poorest communities in Barbados where football has played a key role in addressing violence between rival gangs.

“The area around Pinelands has had some problems so it’s great to be able to show support and use football as a way of uniting young people. As a person who has roots on the island I’m proud to do my best to give back to the country. I will also be looking out for the next stars to come out of Barbados,” Blackman said.

He added: "I would like to thank the Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy for helping to deliver the tournament. They are doing so much work with the next generation that is making an impact on a daily basis."

Nicole Smith of Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy added: “We are really looking forward to having Nick at Pinelands again this year. His donation last year from the #NicksKitCollection really made a huge impact on the kids. It’s great that he has expanded his impact to include a football tournament this year."

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