Arthur Wharton Foundation Presentation
Otis Roberts, CEO of the Foundation, was invited to the House of Commons earlier this month for a presentation to recognise the FA’s donation to the commissioning of an Arthur Wharton statue, which is to be unveiled in Darlington later this year.
The Event saw the Chairman of the FA, David Bernstein, formally receive a solid bronze Maquette (Model Statue) and a Commemorative Plaque of Arthur Wharton, in return for their generous donation and support to the Arthur Wharton Foundation (AWF).
Shaun Campbell, Director of the Arthur Wharton Foundation said, “In determining who should formally make the presentations, we felt that it was important to recognise Arthur’s heritage. Arthur’s story began on the beautiful island of Grenada in the Caribbean, where his father was born and left to go to Ghana, where his son, Arthur Wharton, was born and raised.
The AWF were honoured to have representation from Grenada in the form of Otis Roberts, of the Jason Roberts Foundation.
Jason Roberts is a current premiership footballer from Grenada and an appropriate role model of Granadian heritage, hence, the past and present link between Arthur and Jason and the acknowledgement of the role that Grenada has played in the pioneering and trailblazing of what we call today, the beautiful game that is football”.
Otis Roberts, Uncle of Jason Roberts, and CEO of the Jason Roberts Foundation, presented FA Chairman David Bernstein with the Arthur Wharton Commemorative Plaque.
The AWF also had representation from Ghana, in the form of Deputy High Commissioner Ms Elizabeth Nicol, who presented the bronze Maquette to FA Chairman David Bernstein.
The event was organised by Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who has long championed the cause to see Arthur Wharton recognised appropriately.
Sir George Young MP (Leader of the House)also made an appearance at the event, along with Sculptor Vivien Mallock who has done a fantastic job in creating the Arthur Wharton Statue.
Arthur Wharton (28 October 1865 – 13 December 1930) is widely considered to be the first black Professional Association football player in the world. Wharton was an all-round sportsman – in 1886 he set a then world record of 10 seconds for a 100 yard sprint. He was also a keen cyclist and cricketer, playing for local teams in Yorkshire and Lancashire. However, he is best remembered for his exploits as a footballer.
He started as an amateur playing as a goalkeeper for Darlington where he was spotted by Preston North End and helped the team to reach the FA Cup semi-finals in 1886-87. Though part of “The Invincibles” he wasn’t part of the team that subsequently won the Double in 1888-89, as he left Preston in 1888 to concentrate on his running.
He returned to football signing as a professional for Rotherham Town in 1889 and went on to play for Sheffield United (1894), Stalybridge Rovers (1895), Ashton North End (1897) and Stockport County (1901-02).
As well as playing in goal, he would also occasionally feature outfield as a winger. In 2003 Wharton was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of the impact he made on the game.
For more information visit: http://www.arthurwharton.com