27th January 2023
In January former QPR star Richard Langley and Norman Mullings, the Chairman of Learie Constantine Centre got together to share stories with the audience and look at how the culture of football helped to define individuals and communities.
The evening, which was an event linked to JRF’s Inspire to Achieve Heritage project, gave insight into Richards inspirational father Mike Langley who, with his brother Alfred Langley and friends Murray Armoury and Paul Kidson, founded Learie Constantine FC in 1976, to give opportunities for black players to play football. The club was named after famous Trinidadian-British cricketeer and activist Baron Learie Constantine, Britain’s first black peer, who died in 1971.
Norman Mullings, a well-respected community figure, was at the forefront of that initiative as he and his business partner Phil Cellie gave permission for the club to train at the Learie Constantine Community centre they had established in Willesden, north-west London – a safe space where local black residents would congregate.
The Intergenerational Memory Café was part of the Foundation’s Inspire to Achieve project, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, and the audience had lots of questions especially from the aspiring footballers in the room who wanted to tap into Richards knowledge and experience, firstly as a footballer and more recently as an agent looking after some of the next generation of talent in the game.
Radio presenter, DJ and comedian Geoff Schumann was on hand to lead on the interviews and also in attendance was Watford FC legend Luther Blissett’s sister Dinah, who spoke fondly of her memories of the social club that is having a new community centre built with occupancy expected in late 2023.
Learie Constantine FC grew from one team to three due to the demand and eventually closed in 2015.
The Intergeneration Memory Café highlighted to the audience how former semi-professional and professional footballers as well as community figures, paved the way in the borough of Brent, and the challenges they faced and overcame, to inspire futures generations.
A Huffington Post Article ‘These All-Black Football Clubs Fought Against Racism. What Happened To Them?’ gives more insight into the history behind the Learie Constantine Football Club